Transitions to Low Carbon Living

Category: Universities (Page 1 of 2)

The Ekoln Letter: A conversation about universities in the era of climate change

In May 2020 the plan had been to bring together at Lake Ekoln in Sweden, a group of people who are all, in their own way, interested in the question of how we might rethink universities in the era of climate change. Some were professors working in universities, some were leading activists, some were doctoral students exploring the frontiers of new thinking, some were artists and facilitators of public conversations; some see themselves as educators others as climate researchers and others resist definition. We had hoped to go deep into the questions of what a university is, could be, can’t be and should be in a world of profound ecological harm and inequality. 

And then we know what happened next. The pandemic hit, borders were closed, and we were left, like the rest of the world, to work out what to do instead. In place of a three day conversation that had been intended to be as slow, as embodied and as reflective as possible to allow us to really learn from each other, we met online to speak in the strange flat world of the video conference. For none of us was this enough, and so the project you have in your hands (or on the screen) was born: a letter exchange, where each of us would write to one other in response to an initial prompt, attempting to speak honestly about our sense of where ‘the university’ might go in this era of profound change. The letter exchange lasted four months, a week at a time or more for each person, through the long summer of 2020 when all were navigating a new reality. The pieces were not written for publication, they are not polished, none have been edited, they were intended only for the recipient. On completion, however, we wondered if there was enough here potentially to be of interest to others exploring the same questions. 

So we share these letters with you, as an echo of a conversation that could have happened and as perhaps the beginning of different conversations, negotiations, collective experimentation with how universities might be otherwise. 

Feel free to write back and to join in, or to carry on and take this further.

New report calls for the radical restructuring of universities in era of climate change

What is required of universities in face of climate change? Read the new HEPI report by Keri Facer to find out!

Zennström Professor Keri Facer has called for the radical restructuring of Higher education and universities in response to climate change. You can read more on the website of the Higher Education Policy Institute. Or download the report here:


For more explorations and discussions regarding the role of the university in a changing climate, explore our work here.

Education, Universities and Climate Change

This is a set of quick links to some of our work on Universities, Schools, Education in general and Climate Change

Universities and Climate Change

Zennström Professor Keri Facer’s Inaugural Lecture on ‘Learning to live with a lively planet: renewing the mission of the research university’

A report from the Initiative on Internationalisation and Sustainability – is it possible to square these two agendas?

A keynote from Keri Facer on Universities and the SDGs to the Transforming Higher Education for the Future (IAU) Conference in Puebla, Mexico, November 2019

A public debate on cities and climate change, with Richard Florida, at KTH Stockholm. Keri joined the panel to reflect on the climate implications of Florida’s proposals.

A public debate on universities and climate change – at Almedalen, with Professor Keri Facer, the Minister for Higher Education Matilda Ernkrans, Uppsala University Vice Chancellor Professor Eva Åkesson and the lead for Sweden’s Environment agenda, Dr Emma Nohrén.

A public debate on the role of science, industry and government in addressing climate change.

In Swedish – Universitetens roll för en hållbar värld – a public debate at Almedalen with Uppsala universitet, SLU, Karolinska institutet, Stockholms universitet, Handelshögskolan i Stockholm, KTH

What are the links beteween climate change and civic university agendas? A short post for the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute

University Innovation Agendas – AIM Days and climate change – a report from Laila Mendy.

What sort of knowledge do we need to think about long term futures? Science and Futures in Government. A talk by Dr Claire Craig.

Are universities making the world worse? Education and research in an age of climate change . A panel discussion from Almedalen 2017 with Kevin Anderson, Josefin Wangel Weithz, and Johanna van Schaik Dernfalk.

General Education and Climate Change

A report from the Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures programme, led by Professor Keri Facer, which makes recommendations on Education and Climate Change

Four-part interview with Keri Facer, on the role of the future, the richness of the meanwhile, and desirable futures at the Constructing Social Futures Conference 2019 for Futuuri magazine. June 2019.

Education, Sustainable Development and the Challenges of Climate Change . CEMUS Spring Semester Introduction lecture 2016 with Professor Doreen Stabinsky.

Popular and Public Education

A report on the important role of transformative public education – public, dialogic, collaborative, transgressive – in addressing Covid-19, with implications also for climate change.

A report on a Legacy 17 workshop – a popular education strategy for addressing questions of sustainability.

Leading activity within Uppsala University

We have been working over the last year with the 2050 plan for the University Campus, supporting long term thinking about the link between climate change and university campuses. This includes events and consultation workshops.

Sustainability Talk on Campus Gotland, Uppsala University by Keri Facer. Building a University for the Common Good. March 2019.

2018 – 2020: What have we been up to?

In this report we summarise the activities of professor Keri Facer, the third Zennström professor of Climate Change Leadership at Uppsala University. This report is written in English.

I denna rapport sammanfattar vi aktiviteterna under perioden 2018 – 2020 med professor Keri Facer, den tredje Zennström professorn i klimatledarskap vid Uppsala universitet. Denna rapport är skriven på engelska.


Transforming Public Education in a time of COVID-19

Follow this new network ‘Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures’ with which Zennström Professor Keri Facer is involved! Keep an eye out for postings soon about transformative public education in context of CV-19. 

Here is the first briefing paper on The Case for Transformative Public Education with leading contribution from Professor Facer. This paper focuses on responding to COVID-19 now while addressing long-term underlying inequalities.

Keri Facer: Reconnecting the civic university with the climate agenda

Blog post by Zennström Professor Keri Facer on the Higher Education Policy Institute addressing the UPP Foundation Civic University Commission’s recent report on how universities can successfully serve in the 21st century. Climate change was a glaring omission in this report, as Keri writes.

Read post here: https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2020/03/04/reconnecting-the-civic-university-with-the-climate-agenda-thinking-globally-acting-locally/

Legacy 17: Learning For Change

A month ago, I had the opportunity to join in a two day workshop in Kollaboratoriet, Uppsala on Learning For Change. A small group of passionate individuals joined me in an emotional and challenging exploration to understand how we work as individuals and in the collective, towards our goals of sustainability. You can read more about Legacy 17 here.

I went with the conservative expectation of a workshop on how to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals in to one’s work. It was a pleasant surprise to be met with emotional and personalised approaches to understanding how we engage with sustainability, particularly in terms of structuring meetings, of deep listening, of celebrating achievements and humility, of mentoring speakers, and of reflecting as groups. In short, an emotionally reflective workshop on processes for working with sustainability. The culmination of which was a group largely made up of strangers, volunteering highly personal information and feeling confident enough in each other to share vulnerabilities.

The conclusions of this workshop are still ongoing, with the participants divided in to small groups to catch up over fika or through skype/ zoom periodically; we continue to work on using the Learning For Change process to strengthen our capacities in work with sustainability.

You can read more about these processes in the Learning For Change Handbook.

Do you want to influence the sustainable development of UU’s physical milieu?

Welcome to an open workshop organised by CEFO!

On the 18th of Feb at 10.00 sharp, staff and students of UU are very welcome to a workshop about the UU development plan 2050. In this workshop we will work together in order to give input to the sustainability aspects of Uppsala University’s development plan. The output from the workshop will be treated as a submission for comment (sv: remiss-svar) by the development plan’s project team. For more information see attached flyer and the sustainability part of the ‘remiss-version’ of the plan (or you can find the entire plan here).

When:              18th February 2020

Where:             CEMUS Library, (Villavägen 16, Earth Sciences Dept.)

Time:               10.00 (sharp) – 12.00

Registration:    https://forms.gle/5Y2xd6sooXreS3qD9

Arranged by:    Cemus research forum

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