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. It thus explores the linkages between adult development, personal transformation, norms, policy, and systems change.

Painted Heart
Current Projects

Two major research projects under the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program are funded by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS: TransVision and Mind4Change. The projects aim to provide new knowledge and critical analyses on the potential interlinkages between personal and political spheres of transformation to support sustainability outcomes (at individual, collective/ organisational, and system levels). In this context, we have for instance been conducting studies on the role of mindsets and paradigms for creating a better culture for negotiating and activating climate action. They involve cooperation with the IASS and its Co-Creative Reflection & Dialogue Space at the COPs (Conferences of the Parties, a decision-making body responsible for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC). For more information on TransVision and Mind4Change, please see separate project pages.

Another research project, titled ActivateChange (funded by the Emergence Foundation), aims to analyse how trainable cognitive, emotional and relational capacities relate to responsiveness and resilience to the climate crisis. In 2022, we also initiated six new research projects and/or collaborations that look into cultural change and capacity development for integrative transformation from different perspectives, including: SCIKOM (funded by Karolinska Institutet), BeChange-Together (funded by Vinnova), Skills4Future (funded by Start Clim), #TransformingSustainabilityEducation (funded by Movetia), the  IDG -Inner Green Deal program (funded by the Templeton) & Flourish Youth Climate Circles (OneResilientEarth, funded by the Emergence Foundation).

​Since 2019, our work also focuses on applying a conscious full-spectrum approach to different Program activities. In this context, we work with frameworks and tools developed by Monica Sharma (Transformational Leadership) and others to identify how our innate, universal values and capabilities can create new patterns that effectively address climate change and associated inequality. For more information about this activity see here.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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

Book Stack
Smiling Girl with Book
Reading Bible
Vintage Bookstore
Piles of Books
Piles of Books
Piles of Books
Recent Publications

The research conducted under the Program has led to important publications in the field (see below). For a full list of recent publications, podcasts and presentatons see here.

  • Wamsler, C., Osberg, G., Osika, W., Hendersson, H., Mundaca, L. (2021) Linking internal and external transformation for sustainability and climate action: Towards a new research and policy agenda, Global Environmental Change. Online. Related news can be accessed here.

  • 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., 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. (2021/22) 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. (2020) 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. (2018) 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.

  • Other recent news articles featuring the research of the Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program in: (in Swedish), Open Democracy (in English), Medium (in English), (in Swedish), YogaFörDig (in Swedish), LUCSUS news (in English), Sydsvenskan (in Swedish), Landetsfria (in Swedish), and Dagblad (in Swedish).