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Green Office Lecture: Learning our way out of extinction

When:Tu 04-06-2019 13:30 - 15:00
Where:5412.0020 (Duisenberg Building Zernike, Blauwe Zaal)

Rethinking education in light of systemic global dysfunction

In this key note Arjen Wals will zoom in what is education for and education as sustainability. Such education is characterized by the creation of so-called ecologies of learning that invite diversity and dissonance, advance systems thinking and boundary crossing, develop agency and empowerment for transgression and transformation, and, lastly, but perhaps most importantly, engage learners in discussions about the values, ethics and morality needed to create a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect. He will also introduce the kinds of competencies and qualities that seem essential contributing to such a world. Finally, he will touch upon some examples of practices involving higher education will be provided – some operating at the edges, often led by students and activist groups, some more institutionalized, operating from the core of the university.

About Arjan Wals

Arjen Wals is Professor of Learning for Sustainability at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, furthermore a UNESCO Chair in the same field. His work focusses on designing learning processes and learning spaces that enable people to contribute meaningfully sustainability on the edge of science and society. A central question in his work is, how to create conditions that support (new) forms of learning which take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remain largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect. He maintains a blog at

Wals is the lead-author of paper in Science on the role of citizen science in bridging science education, environmental education and sustainability. He is (co)editor of a number of popular books including: ‘Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability’ (Kluwer Academic, 2004), ‘Social Learning towards a Sustainable World’ (Wageningen Academic, 2007), ‘Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change’ (2012), Routledge’s International Handbook on Environmental Education Research (2013) and Envisioning Futures for Environmental and Sustainability Education (Wageningen Academic, 2017).