Humanity is facing increasingly complex environmental and sustainability challenges. Current coordination mechanisms, problem-solving strategies, and modes of scientific inquiry, teaching and learning appear insufficient to address these challenges. A critical review shows that the vast majority of sustainability practice, scholarship, and education has, so far, focused on the external world of ecosystems, wider socioeconomic structures, technology, and governance dynamics. At the same time, a critical second aspect has been neglected: the inner dimensions of individuals. As a result, individual inner dimensions and transformation (embodied in notions such as consciousness and compassion) are emerging as a potential new area of exploration. The Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program was set up to explore this new area and create space and opportunities for learning, knowledge development and networking on these issues.
Professor & Program Director
Christine Wamsler is Professor of Sustainability Science at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) and former co-director of the Societal Resilience Centre. She is an internationally-renowned expert in sustainable development and associated (material and cognitive) transformation processes, with more than 20 years of experience, both in theory and practice. Her work has shaped international debates and knowledge on individual, social, institutional and policy transformations in a context of climate change. She has led many international projects and published over 150 academic papers, book chapters, and books on these issues, which are highly cited and used for both theory and policy development (e.g. in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC). Her workplace, LUCSUS, is a pioneer in transdisciplinary research and collaboration that combines critical perspectives with solutions-based approaches to address climate change and other sustainability-related issues.
Heidi Hendersson, program assistant, is an environmental journalist with a Master's in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science (LUMES). She supports the Program together with various LUCSUS staff: director Emily Boyd (general Program Support), LUCUS' PhD director of studies Kim Nicholas (support regarding PhD supervision), and LUCSUS' director of postgraduate studies Karin Steen, the LUMES coordinator Amanda Elgh, Assistant Professor Mine Islar, post-doc Diego Galafassi and PhD candidate Sanna Stålhammar (with support regarding the Program's educational activities).
Oscar Kjell has a background in psychology. His work focuses on cognitive wellbeing and its linkages to sustainability. In this context, he is also developing and validating ways to measure psychological constructs using psychometrics and artificial intelligence (AI) such as natural language processing and machine learning. At LUCSUS, Oscar is working as a post-doc for the two research projects TransVision and Mind4Change (see also under Research).
Jessica Böhme writes her PhD under the supervision of Professor Christine Wamsler, LUCSUS, and within the project ‘A Mindset for the Anthropocene’ at IASS in Potsdam, a cooperating partner of the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program (see also under Networking). The purpose of her PhD is to generate new insights in, and possibilities for, the transformation of personal inner dimensions in the Anthropocene. Recent PhD article in Ambio: Online.
”I believe that we put way too little focus on the interiority of human beings (not saying that this is the most important one, I am still a structuralist, but if we want change, we have to challenge those structures in whichever way, and inner transformation is one way to contribute to this challenge.”
LUMES student, Canada