Enabling sustainability in communities at home and abroad

With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, taking place in Glasgow, The Guild’s universities are stressing the critical contributions universities can and must make to accelerate action towards the Paris Agreement goals. The Guild shares highlights from its member universities on how the institutions, researchers and students are leading the change towards environmental sustainability, connecting the institutional, social, economic, technological and scientific responses needed to respond to the climate crisis.

Europe’s universities are driving the change towards environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change, by providing interdisciplinary world-leading research and teaching that advance the scientific and public understanding on environmental change.

The University of Glasgow’s Centre for Sustainable Solutions is focused on empowering individuals and building partnerships to help keep the rising global temperatures from breaching the level of 1.5°C. The Centre welcomes further opportunities to work with research and teaching colleagues across the globe.

Planetary Wellbeing’ is an ambitious international programme established by Pompeu Fabra University to examine the interrelationship between the health of the planet and the health of humanity. Via the programme, the university generates and transmits new knowledge, developed across disciplines, departments and units, to provide solutions to governments, companies and institutions around the world on planetary wellbeing.

These and other ground-breaking cross institutional research initiatives are distinguished through their innovative, interdisciplinary approaches. Through bringing together different approaches and methodologies, new questions can be asked. For a challenge that reaches across all domains human welfare, universities offer this unique and crucial possibility of addressing these in their interrelationship.

The problem-oriented research of our researchers thus helps support and transform communities. The University of Göttingen’s research project ‘Diversity Turn in Land Use Science’ is a prime example of sustainability research. Land use research requires a balanced attention on complex ecological, economic and social factors that shape rural land use. The project aims to advance a diversity-sensitive perspective for land use research, and to establish this perspective as a core component in academic teaching and research including the education of junior scientists.

Working similarly with communities, the University of Bologna’s GREAT project aims to strengthen the resilience of rural communities in the Dry Zone of Myanmar against climate change. It enables the inhabitants to improve their nutrition and income through differentiation: extending food production across a whole year and improving the inhabitants’ skills in managing natural resources.

Thus, our universities achieve transformative impact not just through the interdisciplinarity of their research – but through working with, listening, and responding to the needs of communities.


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Published Nov. 1, 2021 1:28 PM - Last modified Nov. 9, 2021 9:39 AM