Our research on the role of inner dimensions and spheres of inner-outer transformation in sustainability includes theoretical and empirical studies on: mindsets, social values, beliefs, worldviews and associated cognitive/ emotional capacities and virtues, such as awareness, consciousness, compassion, empathy and mindfulness, for improving sustainable governance. It thus explores the linkages between adult development, personal transformation, norms, policy, and systems change.

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Current Projects

Two new projects have recently been accepted by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS, as part of Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program: TransVision and Mind4Change. The projects will provide new knowledge and critical analyses on the potential interlinkages between personal, practical and political spheres of transformation to support sustainability outcomes (at individual, collective/ organisational, and systems level). As part of the projects, we are currently investigating the role of mindsets for creating a better culture for negotiating and activating climate action. It is conducted in the context of the IASS Co-Creative Reflection & Dialogue Space, which was implemented at the COP (Conference of the Parties, a decision-making body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). For more information on TransVision and Mind4Change, please see separate project pages.

Another project, titled 'Activating transformation: Meeting the climate change crisis inside-out' (ActivateChange), was recently accepted by the Emergence Foundation, UK. It aims to analyse how trainable cognitive, emotional and relational capacities relate to responsiveness and resilience to the climate crisis. It is conducted in cooperation with the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group in the UK. For more information about ActivateChange, see separate project page.

During 2019-2021, our work also focuses on applying the conscious full-spectrum model to different Program activities, and particularly to our research on mainstreaming climate change mitigation and adaptation to achieve radical transformational change. In this context, we cooperate with Monica Sharma (Transformational Leadership Workshops) to identify how our innate, universal values and capabilities can create new patterns that effectively address climate change and associated inequality. More information about this activity here.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

How can we unlock cognitive/emotional capacities to support sustainability at different scales and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs)? What is the potential of emotional intelligence  and mindfulness as educational innovations in the context of the SDGs? How can cognitive/emotional capacities influence policy decisions and political discourse towards sustainability? These are some of the questions we explore in our research and education activities.

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Piles of Books
Piles of Books

The research conducted under the Program has so far led to the following publications:

  • Woiwode, C., Schäpke, N., Bina, O., Veciana, S., Kunze, I., Parodi, O., Schweizer-Ries, P., Wamsler, C. (2021) Inner transformation to sustainability as deep leverage points: Fostering new avenues through dialogue and reflection, Sustainability Science. Online.

  • Wamsler, C. (2020) Education for sustainability: Fostering a more conscious society and transformation towards sustainability, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. Online.

  • Walsh, Z., Böhme, J., Wamsler, C. (2020) Towards a relational paradigm in sustainability research, practice and education, Ambio. Online.

  • Wamsler, C., Schäpke, N., Fraude, C., Stasiak, D., Bruhn, T., Lawrence, M., Schroeder, H., Mundaca, L. (2020) Enabling mindsets and transformative skills for negotiating and activating climate action: Lessons from UNFCCC Conferences of the Parties, Environmental Science and Policy. Online.

  • Leal Filho, W. et al. (2020), Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, chapter by Wamsler, C., Restoy, F., 'Emotional Intelligence and the Sustainable Development Goals: Supporting peaceful, just and inclusive societies',  Springer. Online.

  • Burayidi, M., Allen, A., Twigg, J., Wamsler, C. (2020) Handbook of Urban Resilience, chapter by Wamsler, C., Reeder, L., Crosweller, M., 'The being of urban resilience', Routledge. Available here.

  • Walsh, Z., Böhme, J., Lavelle, B., Wamsler, C. (2020) Transformative education: Towards a relational, justice-oriented approach to sustainability, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (Online).

  • Rimanoczy, I. et al (2020/21) How do you shift a mindset? Tools and transformative stories from students around the world, chapter by Wamsler, C., Hertog, I.M., Di Paola, 'Education for sustainability: Sourcing inner qualities and capacities for transformation', Routledge.

  • Leal Filho, W. et al. (2020), Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, chapter by Frank P., Fischer D., Wamsler C., 'Mindfulness, Education, and the Sustainable Development Goals', Springer. Available here.

  • Von Arnold, C (2020) Sustainable climate action requires new mindsets, LUCSUS news. Online.

  • Egan, N (2020) Inner dimensions and transformation can support people to live more sustainably and drive change, LUCSUS news. Online.

  • Hendersson, H., Wamsler, C. (2019) New stories for a more conscious, sustainable society: Claiming authorship of the climate story, Climatic Change. Online.

  • Brink, E., Wamsler, C (2019) Citizen engagement in climate adaptation surveyed: The role of values, worldviews, gender and place, Cleaner Production 209:1342–1353. Online.

  • Egan, N. (2019) Undersöker hur inre förändring får människor att leva mer hållbart (Analysing the role of inner change for sustainability), Lund University Research Magazine LUM. Online.

  • Brossmann, J. Islar, M. (2019) Living degrowth? Investigating degrowth practices through performative methods, Sustainability Science. Online.

  • Leal, W., Consorte McCrea, A. (2018) Handbook of Sustainability and Humanities, chapter by Wamsler, C. (2018) 'The role of individual inner dimensions and transformation in sustainability research and education', World Sustainability Series of Springer. Available here.

  • Wamsler, C. (2018) Mind the gap: The role of mindfulness in adapting to increasing risk and climate change. Sustainability Science 13(4):1121–1135. Online.

  • Wamsler, C., Raggers, S. (2018) Principles for supporting city–citizen commoning for climate adaptation: From adaptation governance to sustainable transformation, Environmental Science and Policy 85:81–89. Online.

  • Wamsler, C., Brink, E. (2018) Mindsets for sustainability: Exploring the link between mindfulness and sustainable climate adaptation, Ecological Economics 151:55–61. Online.

  • Wamsler, C., Brossmann, J., Hendersson, H., Kristjansdottir, R., McDonald, C., Scarampi, P. (2017) Mindfulness in sustainability science, practice and teaching, Sustainability Science 13(1):143–162. Online.

  • Wamsler, C. (2017) How mindfulness can help the shift towards a more sustainable society, The Conversation. Online.

  • Wamsler, C. (2017) Disaster risk reduction - Voices Blog by United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), republished Conversation article (see above). Online.

  • Egan, N. (2017) What is the link between sustainability and mindfulness?, Lund University Research Magazine LUM. Online.

  • Further articles, highlighting the need to support cognitive/emotional and relational capacities to support transformative climate adaptation and sustainability in: Climatic Change and Journal of Cleaner Production.

  • Recent articles featuring the research of the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program in: Open Democracy, Medium,, YogaFörDig, LUCSUS news.