Currently, education for sustainability tends to focus on (assessing and addressing) the external world of ecosystems, wider socio-economic structures, technology and governance dynamics. A major shortcoming of such approaches is the neglect of individual and collective inner dimensions and capacities, which constrains education for sustainability as an end. In addition, current approaches generally do not facilitate reﬂection on the cognitive and socio-emotional processes underpinning people’s learning, their everyday life choices and decision-taking, which constrains education for sustainability as a means. More integral approaches and pedagogies are urgently needed.
The book chapter by LUCSUS Professor Christine Wamsler and LUMES alumni Iris Maria Hertog and Lucia Di Paola, address this gap. It is a reflexive case study of the Master’s course on “Sustainability and Inner Transformation,” which is part of the LUMES Master’s program on “Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science” at LUCSUS.
In the book chapter, the authors show that inner dimensions and inner transformation can be an important vehicle for critical, improved education for sustainability and how this can be achieved in practice. Students’ accounts illustrate the transformative experiences and mindset shifts they experienced and that profoundly changed their way of seeing themselves, others and the world. The chapter concludes by offering some critical reflections on the lessons learnt and ways forward for future work in education for sustainable development.
– I am very grateful for the opportunity that LUCSUS and the LUMES program provides me to support young people, helping them to critically reflect about their relationships to self, others and nature, nourish their inner capacities and tap into their potential to care, commit to, and effect change for a better, more equitable and sustainable life. It is such a meaningful and joyful work, says Professor Christine Wamsler.