Universities as Drivers for Sustainability
In the lead-up to the Rio+20 conference in 2012, the UN reported that “despite [...] progress on sustainable development, negative trends continue to prevail. Economic growth since the Rio Summit has been fed by unprecedented resource and material consumption and related environmental impacts.” The lesson is clear. All institutions, whether public or private, local, or global, must redouble efforts to reorient values, decision-making processes, economic tools and approaches to finance & management. We must grow the movement working to do what scientists tell us is necessary and what current technology has demonstrated is possible. We must strive for quality of life, equity and justice in a manner that reduces, rather than increases, our consumption of natural resources.
Universities around the world, with their concentrated pool of experts and mandates to educate and conduct socially relevant research, have a special opportunity – or perhaps even a responsibility – to be leaders in the transition to sustainability. This lecture will investigate the ways university operations, academics, engagement, and governance can be living laboratories for sustainability and drive real change. Through case studies and an interactive exercise, participants will develop road maps for the roles they can play in this important work.
- Campus sustainability
- Human dimensions of sustainability
- Climate Change
- Change Management
 Sustainable Development: From Bruntland to Rio+20: Background paper prepared for consideration by the High Level Panel on Global Sustainability, Published by the United Nations, September, 2010, p. 15
Course prerequisites: Basic physics, desire to explore and discover.
Ms. Alana Lajoie-O'Malley,
Director, Campus Sustainability Office, The University of Winnipeg.