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Christine Wamsler

Christine Wamsler

Professor

Christine Wamsler

Mindfulness in sustainability science, practice, and teaching

Author

  • Christine Wamsler
  • Johannes Brossmann
  • Heidi Hendersson
  • Rakel Kristjansdottir
  • Colin McDonald
  • Phil Scarampi

Summary, in English

This paper explores the current role of mindfulness in sustainability science, practice, and teaching. Based on a qualitative literature review that is complemented by an experimental learning lab, we sketch the patterns and core conceptual trajectories of the mindfulness–sustainability relationship. In addition, we assess this relationship within the field of climate change adaptation and risk reduction. The results highlight that notions such as ‘sustainability from within’, ‘ecological mindfulness’, ‘organizational mindfulness’, and ‘contemplative practices’ have been neglected in sustainability science and teaching. Whilst little sustainability research addresses mindfulness, there is scientific support for its positive influence on: (1) subjective well-being; (2) the activation of (intrinsic/ non-materialistic) core values; (3) consumption and sustainable behavior; (4) the human–nature connection; (5) equity issues; (6) social activism; and (7) deliberate, flexible, and adaptive responses to climate change. Most research relates to post-disaster risk reduction, although it is limited to the analysis of mindfulness-related interventions on psychological resilience. Broader analyses and foci are missing. In contrast, mindfulness is gaining widespread recognition in practice (e.g., by the United Nations, governmental and non-governmental organizations). It is concluded that mindfulness can contribute to understanding and facilitating sustainability, not only at the individual level, but sustainability at all scales, and should, thus, become a core concept in sustainability science, practice, and teaching. More research that acknowledges positive emotional connections, spirituality, and mindfulness in particular is called for, acknowledging that (1) the micro and macro are mirrored and interrelated, and (2) non-material causation is part of sustainability. This paper provides the first comprehensive framework for contemplative scientific inquiry, practice, and education in sustainability.

Department/s

  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Publishing year

2018-01

Language

English

Pages

143-162

Publication/Series

Sustainability Science

Volume

13

Issue

1

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Springer

Topic

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Compassion
  • Contemplative teaching
  • Ecological mindfulness
  • Emotion
  • Inner transition
  • Organizational mindfulness
  • Other ways of knowing
  • Planning
  • Political mindfulness
  • Risk reduction
  • Spiritual ecology
  • Sustainability
  • Transformation
  • Well-being

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1862-4057