Arkiv for ‘Higher Education & Environmental Sustainability’ Kategorien

UiO: From 20 shades of Grey to 35 Degrees of Green

In the recent assessment on implementation of Environmental Sustainability (ES) at the University of Oslo, we scored 35 out of 50 criteria. It is a quite significant improvement compared with our ES status 2 years ago. In the original report, which I submitted in 2010, UiO scored 20 out of 50. Thereby we placed ourselves among the less Green universities in comparison with 20 other higher education institutions all over the world.

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Lessons from California Higher Education Sustainability Conference, UC Davis

As I mentioned on the previous post, I’ve been visiting some American universities’ sustainability unit and also attended a conference. So After Portland State University, it was time to see what is going on in California where I started my adventure by attending a conference.
UC Davis hosted the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference on 18-22 June. While other Norwegian delegates on this tour decided to attend the ISCN conference, I packed and went to Davis where the temperature was almost 40° C. I met the rest of Nordic Sustainable Campus Network Delegates from Sweden at the conference and we had some exciting days together.

UC Davis is highly profiled as a sustainable university in California. They have received 4 sustainability awards last year, reduced their waste up to 60%, designated a gold-level ‘Bicycle Friendly University‘, awarded Platinum LEED and a lot more recognition and activities that make visiting their website and the university truly worthy.

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Visiting Portland State University Sustainability Unit

At PSU Bike-shop runs by students

I have been visiting some American universities sustainability office including Portland State University, Stanford University and UC Davis as well as attending the annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference lately. It is part of the Nordic Sustainable Campus Network (NSCN) collaborative activities which UiO through Green UiO is part of it.

Portland also known as City of Rose has been marked as one of the most environmentally friendly, or “Green”, cities in the world. So we are here to start our visit from couple of American universities’ sustainability office and apparently we are in the right city.

Portland State University (PSU)   is our host which is a public state urban university located in downtown Portland , recently steps up its research capacity. It is founded in 1946 and has around 2,590 academic staff,  1,630 admin staff 29,700 under/postgraduate students. In this respect UiO is similar to PSU.  Les resten av dette innlegget →

Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability

In November 2010, I attended the 5th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education that take place at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. It focused on Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability. Global University Network of Innovation GUNI joined the work on the contribution of higher education to sustainability.
There were many insightful and inspiring panels and presentations in a very dynamic atmosphere by presence of well-known scholars, junior researchers, young activists, communities and NGOs as well as policy makers which work on Education for Sustainable Development. Les resten av dette innlegget →

Transformative Learning and Change for Sustainability at Plymouth University; Podcast

Listen without the Flashplayer

 The 2nd UNICA Green Academic Footprint (UGAF) Workshop, took place at Université de Lausanne, 16-17 February 2012.
Prof Stephen Sterling , Head of Education for Sustainable Development at Plymouth University was one of the  speakers at the workshop.  He elaborated on how Plymouth University has implemented sustainability and what the motives and barriers were at their university. The presentation slides are available here.
Sterling has published number of books and articles. If you are interested to learn more about Education and Learning in Change, his book: Sustainable Education Re-visioning Learning and Change  is highly recommended.


  The COPERNICUS Alliance Annual Meeting 2011 offers the possibility for members of the network to meet and exchange and for interested persons to learn more about the European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development. The event will take place on November 24 & 25 2011 in Kerkrade, The Netherlands.

The conference fee is 30 € for COPERNICUS Alliance members and 60 € for Non-COPERNICUS Alliance members.  Registration is possible until November 11th 2011.  You can check the program here.

It is also important to mention that the annual meeting will be right after Global RCE conference on effecting learning for sustainable development, entrepreneurship and world citizenship in the same place. Les resten av dette innlegget →

“Universities and Environmental Sustainability” Podcast

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Presentation slides (pdf)

The University of Oslo through Green UiO  hosted the first workshop on UNICA Green Academic FootprintUniversities Committed and Connected towards EnvironmentalSustainability on 3rd and 4th of May 2011.

The workshop’s main objectives have been:

 To review our understanding  of environmental challenges and its urgency

 To discuss the relevancy of environmental issues to the universities

 To deploy Unica network as a Green Academic platform

 To establish a working group, road map and mandate to work on environmental

sustainability within network

 To provide a best practice example of Green Academic Footprint for other universities Les resten av dette innlegget →

Was the Climate Festival Climate Neutral?

on 21st of May 2011, UiO hold Idea Festival of Climate Change, the first of four festivals for celebrating the 200th anniversary of the University of Oslo. I was coordinating the project and in addition to other tasks, have tried to monitor how climate neutral it can be. So here is the question: Was the climate festival climate neutral?

My quick answer is: NO! Unfortunately we have not been climate neutral for this festival nor in our daily practice at UiO.

The good news is that we have tried to reduce our environmental footprint and increase our green handprint in some ways for the Idea Festival and we managed to be greener than normal days at UiO. With the close collaboration with Greent UiO project, we have followed the guidelines on how to hold a Green Event. The organizing team were aware of the concept and set up the criteria for the festival.  Les resten av dette innlegget →

Change the Climate of Education!

If you are in Oslo on 2oth and 21st of May 2011, do not miss the lectures by Dr Richard Kahn about Education and Environmental Challenges. He will join us at UiO Sophus Bugges hus on 20th at 12-13 and 21st of May at the Idea Festival of Climate Change at Helga Engs hus at 15.15-16.

His firs talk will be “How Should Global Climate Change Change the Climate of Our Conversation in Education? ”  He will emphasize that life on earth increasingly unfolds as a form of planetary ecocrisis — specifically through complex, but interrelated, threats such as global warming, species mass extinction, and nuclear terror.

In response, education has developed three primary strategies: 1) A technological ecomodernist and lifestyle consumerist problem-solving strategy consonant with a privatized, capitalist economy and Education for Sustainable Development; 2) A critical and emancipatory strategy of problem-posing popular education that seeks to challenge the current economic hegemony, especially in its form of neoliberal ideology at work in both corporate and state discourse, as an unsustainable social force that both generates and aggravates ecocrisis such as global warming; and 3) A commons-oriented strategy, such as represented by transition towns and ecovillages, in which the macro-problems of the private and public spheres are in effect abandoned in order to manifest an alternative formof human-scaled, place-based, subsistence-styled community. While it is likely the case that all three strategies are now necessary, there are dangerous reasons to fear that the growing global privatization and militarization of higher education increasingly blocks forms of education that might seriously challenge dominant forms of social power. Les resten av dette innlegget →

Interview with Professor Arjen Wals

Professor Arjen Wals discussing environmental education in schools:

Arjen Wals is a Professor of Social Learning and Sustainable Development. He also is a UNESCO Chair in the same field. Wals has worked at Wageningen University since 1992 in various departments. His research focuses on learning processes that contribute to a more sustainable world. Wals obtained his PhD in 1991 with a Fulbright fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His dissertation tackled the interface of environmental psychology and environmental education. A central question in his work is how to create conditions that support new forms of learning that take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remains largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect. Wals has (co)published and (co) edited over 150 articles, chapters and books on topics like: action research & community problem-solving, whole school approaches to sustainability, biodiversity education, multi-stakeholder social learning, and sustainability in higher education.

Popular books include: ‘Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability (Kluwer Academic, 2004) and Social Learning towards a Sustainable World (Wageningen Academic, 2007). In 2008 he was the recipient of the research award of the North American Association for Environmental Education. Recently he completed the midterm review of UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). He is a past-president of the Special Interest Group on Ecological & Environmental Education of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Wals also is a co-founder and past-president of the NGO Caretakers of the Environment International.