The aim of the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program is to create space and opportunities for learning, networking and knowledge development on the role of inner dimensions and transformation for sustainability.
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. It consists of three building blocks: research, education and networking.
Read more about our mission and vision.
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 increased knowledge on personal, collective, institutional and policy transformations in a context of climate change. She has led many international projects, and published around 200 academic papers, book chapters, and books on these issues. Her publications are regularly cited and used in theory and policy development, including by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Christine’s workplace, LUCSUS, is a pioneer in transdisciplinary research and collaboration that combines critical perspectives with solutions-based approaches to address sustainability challenges. .... MORE
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 Maja Essebo, the LUMES coordinator Amanda Elgh, Associate Professor Mine Islar, post-doc Diego Galafassi and PhD 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 part-time as a post-doc for the two research projects TransVision and Mind4Change (see also under Research).
Ute Thiermann is a social scientist with a Master’s in Environmental Technology and a PhD in Environmental Research from the Imperial College London, UK. Her PhD focused on how mindfulness practices can support pro-environmental behaviour change. Her broader research is dedicated to finding innovative strategies for sustainable transformations. At LUCSUS, Ute supports the research projects of the Contemplative Sustainable Future Program.
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. See recent PhD articles in Ambio (Online) and the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (Online).
Research & Teaching Assistant
Gustav Osberg works as a research and teaching assistant for the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program. He supports the research projects TransVision, Mind4Change and ActivateChange, as well as the Sustainability and Inner Transformation course. At the same time he is enrolled in the Lund University Master’s Program in Global Studies, looking into how globalization shapes lives, environments, and possibilities for action and imagination. He is particularly interested in the political economy of sustainability and sustainability transitions.
Research Projects & Education
The research institutions that cooperate with us in the context of our Mind4Change, TransVision and ActivateChange projects include, amongst others: The Centre for Social Sustainability and Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Sweden; the Aberystwyth Behavioural Insights Research Centre, Aberystwyth University, UK; the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA; the Research Centre for Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, UK; the University of Oslo, Norway; the Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, USA; and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam, Germany. For more information about our academic and practice partners, please see under research and networking. In the context of our Phd and Master's level education, we also cooperate with a range of institutions. For more information, please see under education.
”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