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Publications 

 

Working Paper Series

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No. 7

Technical Note: The design and implementation of the Climate-U survey ‘Climate Change – Practices, Experiences and Attitudes’

 

By Amanda Lange Salvia, Caine Rolleston, Charlotte Nussey, Filipe Veisa, Rachel Okinyi, Rosario Mananze and Tristan McCowan

This technical note outlines the design and implementation of the survey ‘Climate Change – Practices, Experiences and Attitudes’, part of the Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate (Climate-U) research project. The survey was designed to assess students’ experiences, their engagement in climate change action and their attitudes towards environmental issues. Data was collected in twelve universities in Brazil, Fiji, Kenya and Mozambique. In addition to the survey structure, this note also presents the survey pilot and the process of survey implementation, including national sampling strategies and the final achieved sample. This document records the methodological procedures behind the survey and is a reference for those interested in conducting a related investigation, as well as providing a methodological resource for related Climate-U publications.

Suggested citation 

Salvia, A.L., Rolleston, C., Nussey, C., Veisa, F., Okinyi, R., Mananze, R., McCowan, T. (2022) Technical Note: The design and implementation of the Climate-U survey ‘Climate Change - Practices, Experiences and Attitudes’, Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 7

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 6

Climate change in higher education: a curriculum topography approach

 

By Tristan McCowan 

Abstract 

Learning about climate change is widely recognised as an important outcome for higher education students. However, there is uncertainty as to the best way to incorporate issues of climate into the curriculum, whether as a stand-alone module, through infusion across courses, through interdisciplinary provision, or informal activities. Furthermore, there is resistance in some quarters to introduction of this content, on account of the contested values involved, the overcrowding of the syllabus, and lack of specialist experience. This paper addresses the arguments for including climate change in the higher education curriculum, assessing the different forms of learning needed by citizens and professionals, the role of the university as institution, and the different potential forms of integration. The paper puts forward a proposal for a topography approach, one that sees the role of the university not as teaching climate change, but as curating a diverse environment of learning experiences. The proposed framework sees learning as being distributed across three spaces (classroom, campus and community) and characterised by features of access (availability, voluntariness and continuity), ownership (agency, malleability and certification) and connection (embeddedness, application, disciplinarity, transmodality, collaboration and experientiality). While universities will display diverse topographies depending on their contextual characteristics, there are important normative considerations which must be taken into account, namely: building on students’ existing knowledge, criticality, non-coercion and epistemic pluralism.

Suggested citation 

McCowan, Tristan (2021) Climate Change in Higher Education: a curriculum topography approach, Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 6

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 5

Higher Education Institutions Facing Climate Change:
The Brazilian scenario

 

By Luciana Londero Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Janaína Mazutti, Giovana Reginatto

Abstract 

Climate change is a topic of global concern and demands efforts from all sectors. Higher education institutions have an important role in acting towards sustainability and climate action, not only through their main domain – teaching and learning – but also in opportunities related to research, outreach and campus operations. This working paper focuses on the Brazilian context and presents how climate change has been dealt with in each of the main university dimensions: curricula, research, outreach and operations. It reflects on the main challenges for further action in these dimensions, and suggests future research needs in terms of climate change in universities. This national assessment is useful for a better understanding of the main factors that guide or hinder higher education efforts towards climate action and highlights the importance of climate change research projects to overcome challenges, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Although the Brazilian higher education system can be considered well developed and complex, climate action efforts are diffuse, do not have support from specific and national guidelines, and depend on availability of resources. This working paper proposes a set of recommendations that could apply to other similar contexts that would improve the impact of universities in addressing climate change.

Suggested citation 

Brandli, L.; Salvia, A.L.; Mazutti, J.; Reginatto, G. (2021) Higher Education institutions facing climate change: the Brazilian scenario, Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 5

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 4

Kenya's climate change policy actions and the response of
higher education 

 

By Jackline Nyerere, Winniejoy Gatwiri, and Rachel Okinyi

Abstract 

Kenya’s climate pattern is increasingly less reliable, with multiple and overlapping social, health and economic effects. Drawing on national and international policy documents, peer-reviewed journal articles and national climate change reports published between 1999 and 2020, this working paper contributes to our understanding of the policy environment guiding university education in Kenya response to climate change issues. While the working paper discusses some policies in Kenya relating to sustainable development and climate change, many of them drawing on the international goals and agreements, it exposes a gap in guiding universities to respond to the impacts of climate change. There is little research and content on climate change in the Kenyan universities’ curricula, campus activities, institutional governance, and community engagement work. This is partly due to a weak link between national policies, institutional policies, and universities’ activities. Information on climate change responses by universities in Kenya is scanty. Through literature review, the working paper points out some material on sustainable development initiatives in universities and their impact on the society, environment, and economy. The working paper recommends an adjustment of Kenya government policies to better guide higher learning institutions in their role in addressing climate change issues at both campus and community levels.

Suggested citation 

Nyerere, J., Gatwiri, W. and R. Okinyi (2021) Kenya’s climate change policy actions and the response of higher education. Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 4

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 3

A protocol for Participatory Action Research into Universities' Role in Climate Justice: Principles and tools

 

By Alexandre Apsan Frediani & Charlotte Nussey

Abstract 

This protocol aims to explore five parallel sets of principles and tools for developing Participatory Action Research (PAR) with a climate justice lens. It sets out how identifying sites of impact for PAR should be strategic and iterative, building towards a theory of change. In the second step, it explores setting up PAR groups, grounded in ongoing relationships and recognising marginalisation, through different tools for stakeholder analyses. The third part of the protocol describes convening PAR groups, and the process of collective immersion with questions of climate justice, giving an example of a case from Fiji of an ethos for community engagement. In the fourth part of the protocol, action planning is considered, shaped by the principles of recognition of diversity and knowledge co-production. Finally, the centrality of learning in PAR processes is considered, and a framework for monitoring, evaluating and learning is offered. Together, these five steps offer a route for researchers interested in PAR to follow, offering both practical steps and theoretically grounded principles.

Suggested citation 

Climate-U (2021) A Protocol for Participatory Action Research into Climate Justice: Principles
and Tools
Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate Working Paper Series, No. 3.

ISSN 2754-0308

 
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No. 3 - em português

Protocolo para Pesquisa-Ação Participativa sobre o Papel das Universidades para a Justiça Climática: Princípios e Ferramentas

 

De Alexandre Apsan Frediani & Charlotte Nussey

Resumo 

Este protocolo visa explorar cinco conjuntos paralelos de princípios e ferramentas para desenvolver a Pesquisa-Ação Participativa (PAP) pela perspectiva da justiça climática. O documento estabelece como a identificação dos locais de impacto para a PAP deve ser estratégica e interativa, construindo uma teoria da mudança.  Na segunda etapa, o protocolo explora a criação de grupos PAP, fundamentados em relações já existentes e reconhecendo a marginalização, através de diferentes ferramentas de análise de stakeholders. A terceira parte do protocolo descreve a convocação dos grupos PAP e o processo de imersão coletiva com questões de justiça climática, apresentando um exemplo de processo de envolvimento comunitário nas Ilhas Fiji.  Na quarta parte do protocolo é considerado o planejamento de ações, moldado pelos princípios do reconhecimento da diversidade e da co-produção de conhecimento. Finalmente, é considerada a centralidade da aprendizagem nos processos PAP, e uma estrutura de monitoramento, avaliação e aprendizagem é oferecida. Em conjunto, estas cinco etapas oferecem um caminho a ser seguido pelos pesquisadores interessados em PAP, oferecendo tanto etapas práticas como princípios teoricamente fundamentados.

Sugestão de citação

Climate-U (2021) Protocolo para Pesquisa-Ação Participativa sobre o Papel das Universidades na Justiça Climática: Princípios e Ferramentas. Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate Working Paper Series, No. 3.

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 1

The impact of universities on climate change:
a theoretical framework

By Tristan McCowan

Abstract 

Universities have a crucial role to play in addressing climate change, but the complex and multifaceted nature of the issue presents challenges for the traditional functioning of the institution. While there is a growing body of work on campus sustainability and climate issues in the curriculum, there is a need to understand more holistically the forms of influence that universities have on society and the environment. This paper puts forward a framework for understanding the impact of universities on climate change, involving four stages: the modalities of university action (education, knowledge production, public engagement, service delivery and campus operations); direct engagement with bridging actors; the broader influence on societal understandings and practices; and finally impact on the ecosphere. Specific pathways of impact are identified, involving either mitigation of or adaptation to climate change. This framework serves as an analytical tool to identify the trajectories of impact already in evidence, but also presents normative implications for the role of higher education institutions in addressing the current climate crisis.

Suggested citation 

McCowan, Tristan (2020) The impact of universities on climate change: a theoretical framework. Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 1

ISSN 2754-0308

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No. 2

Connecting disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development

By Kaori Kitagawa

Abstract 

Many authors have critiqued the disconnectedness between disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development. This paper summarises existing arguments as to why and how they should be connected. The paper’s contribution is to develop a comprehensive understanding of disconnectedness and connectedness of these three areas and to reinforce the advantages of connecting them. There are acknowledgements in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that they share common goals. The agreements stress mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation and adaptation in achieving the SDGs through inclusive approaches, capacity building and multi-stakeholder collaborations. However, the achievement so far has been limited due to the challenges of synthesising underlying paradigms as well as efforts of diverse institutions involved. Separation can result in one practice in one field undermining a longer-term aim in another. The key finding of the paper is the deep-seated nature of politics that inhibits the enhancement of the connectedness despite the great benefits of linking the three fields.

Suggested citation 

Kitagawa, Kaori (2021) Connecting disaster risk reduction, climate change and sustainable development, Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate, Working Paper Series No. 2

ISSN 2754-0308