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Drawing on and responding to the articles in this special collection, this provocation makes the case that realising justice in education requires a focus on the processes and politics of justice-oriented reform in postcolonial, low- and middle-income counties (LMICs). In implementing reform, it is argued that it is crucial to take account of similarities and differences in context between LMICs. At the heart of reform must be a holistic, coherent and systemic approach at the level of the education system of the institution. Key priorities include reforming the curriculum, investing in educators as agents of change and developing endogenous system leadership that can drive justice-oriented reform. Here, however, it is necessary to engage with the politics of justice-oriented reform, including challenging global, neoliberal agendas, democratising the governance of education and engaging with popular struggles for social, epistemic, transitional and environmental justice.

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In 2017, the Swedish parliament committed to making the country fossil-free by 2045, prompting an exploration of experiences and perceptions of transition in three cities hosting carbon-intensive industries – steel, cement and petrochemicals, which currently top the list of Sweden’s industrial emitters. From 2019 to 2024, a Swedish–UK research team employed conventional qualitative methods to gather insights from various stakeholders, including industry, municipal actors, and residents, supplemented by arts-based research methods for co-creating data on affective-emotional life in transition towns. This article argues that arts-based research serves as a valuable tool for accounting for and understanding affective-emotional life in frontline transition towns. The arts-based research (ABR) challenges prevailing technocratic and rational frameworks, aligning with ecofeminist Val Plumwood’s call to address the ‘ecological crisis of reason’ that serves to inhibit achieving sustainable futures. The primary value of this article lies in its contribution to the development and refinement of ABR within the context of just transition studies that I argue can help add citizen perspectives and consideration of affective-emotional life to the just transition discourse.

Open access

This article shares the author’s reflections on what decolonial cracks for recreating UK universities as sustainable pluriversities emerge from encounters and engagement in three arts–research co-productions relating to sustainability and justice: a training process led by a professional storyteller on converting political-ecology research into short, spoken ten-minute stories, the co-production of visual summaries and a role-playing game on sustainable value chains, and the collaboration producing an immersive audiovisual exhibition on ‘Can we fly-less?’.

This article makes an empirically based case that engaging in co-production on arts–research knowledge translation can help identify decolonial cracks to sow the seeds of pluriversity, that is, epistemically diverse institutions for public good that recognise present patterns of colonially rooted injustices and unsustainability, in UK academia. Drawing on relational, deep-listening conversations with six collaborators on the projects, three artists and three researchers, the article highlights benefits arising from the creative collaborations, such as social, transformative learning and critical introspection, and research acquiring a life beyond the page and becoming accessible to a broader audience. However, they also emphasised institutional barriers such as perverse incentives in current academic conventions, such as little or no recognition for knowledge translation, unequal starting points among permanent/precarious or salaried/non-salaried staff, and uncooperative monitoring and application systems, which render identifying these decolonial cracks and seeds necessary. With a methodology rooted in its conceptual, relational approach, the article highlights decolonial cracks in current academia, and transformative seeds to reimagine it in a more decolonial and sustainable image befitting of a pluriversity.

Open access

This article offers a critical approach towards adopting new technologies as a mitigation strategy. It provides a comprehensive analysis that helps illuminate the adoption process and the sociocultural factors intersecting and informing it. Using a capability approach lens and qualitative and participatory data collection methods, this study presents and analyses the testimonies of smallholders living on Colombia’s Pacific coast, currently exposed to a series of interventions that promote changes in production decisions to contribute to reducing national greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, improved forages, silvopastoral systems and new practices, such as the implementation of rotational pasturing, have been promoted as relevant new approaches. The results show that access to new technologies generates new capabilities, for instance the ability to plan for the challenges imposed by climate change or to develop new strategies to allow the soil to recover naturally. However, these new possibilities are unevenly distributed, creating disadvantages for groups that generally experience conditions of vulnerability, such as young farmers and women. The testimonies also show that many of the promoted initiatives emphasise the need for adaptation and change on the part of smallholders without considering the limitations of technology, the gender issues that affect the inclusion of women and the dynamics that set barriers to young smallholders due to economic restrictions or power issues. Therefore, the study contends that, when understanding technology adoption, it is not only a question of what farmers do or do not do but of what they can be and do in increasingly demanding contexts.

Open access

Drawing on a methodological approach that involved visual ethnography and combined content and narrative analysis, my research aims to analyse the role that emotions play in the territorial–ontological conflict between British Columbia provincial government, Coastal GasLink and the Wet’suwet’en. Using high-quality online audiovisual material produced by the Wet’suwet’en – allowing a critical perspective throughout the article on the politics of self-representation – I was able to get into the conflict with a phenomenological approach, employing my senses to analyse body movements, tone of voice and language. Theoretically, I articulate a framework made up of Ingold’s phenomenology, Blaser’s ontological conflicts and Escobar’s studies of culture. Then, I build on the spiderweb, a metaphor developed by Ingold, to expand the scope of González-Hidalgo’s emotional political ecologies. The results show that Coastal GasLink, taking culture ‘as a symbolic structure’, proposes as a central mitigation strategy, through their environmental impact assessment, what I call ‘an ontological interruption’ of the Yintakh. Besides, I demonstrate that the processes of political inter-subjectivation sought at the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre help understand the worry, frustration and stress of the Wet’suwet’en facing the world-creating practices of Coastal GasLink. On the other hand, the Healing Centre also reveals how the affections for the other-than-human and their spiderweb (Yintakh or relational world) inform Wet’suwet’en resistance. Lastly, I unveil how Coastal GasLink and the Ministry of Aboriginal Rights, through practices of inclusion and gender equality, seek to blur radical cultural differences, delegitimise the Wet’suwet’en precolonial governance system, and create affections for the Western-modern world.

Open access

This article presents the results of research conducted between 2021 and 2023 by the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) with 240 partners including teachers, learners and parents in six Rwandan schools. A relational knowledge co-creation methodology was used to gain a shared understanding of education and climate change challenges in the schools and co-create solutions using the Eco-Schools problem-based learning pedagogy. The knowledge co-creation processes revealed a negative relationship at the intersection between climate change and quality education which is interrupting successful implementation of both the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC), and the School Feeding Programme policies of the Government of Rwanda, affecting national progress towards SDG 4 and SDG 13. However, by integrating climate action projects in the CBC, with practical skills and knowledge from parents and wider community members, education barriers caused by poor school conditions, and poor nutrition, health and comfort of learners are being removed, while the quality and relevance of teaching and learning in schools is being improved. The article therefore proposes the Eco-Schools programme as a potential means of simultaneously addressing the UN’s ‘triple crisis’ of inclusion, quality and relevance. Ultimately, by showing that it is possible to transform education in even the most challenged schools, at a relatively low cost, within a very short space of time (one school year) and without large-scale curriculum reform or infrastructure, the findings of this research promote wider, faster and more optimistic progression toward the UNESCO’s ‘Reimagining Education’ vision and the Greening Education Partnership targets.

Open access

The notion of the Anthropocene has become a popular (and contested) term to describe the times we live in; among other things, it alerts us to the damage mainstream Western-centred anthropocentrism has wreaked on nature: in so doing, the Anthropocene signals that for life as we know it to continue, a more sustainable relationship with nature must be urgently implemented.

The article will discuss a project that emerged as part of a teacher education programme in the UK where selected insights elaborated by Donna Haraway have been used to inform a Bee Hotel project. The resulting ‘Harawayan’ Bee Hotel (HBH) was used as a catalyst to help trainee teachers to both blend climate education into the standard curriculum to be delivered during their placements and, importantly, to introduce them to a new conceptualisation of nature. Specifically, trainee teachers were presented with, and encouraged to integrate into their teaching practices, a vision of nature that recognises and respects its uniqueness, agency and worth, and that accepts that some level of ecological instrumentalisation and destruction is necessary for human life.

The article will argue that the HBH acts as a microcosm where it is possible to forge and practice, for both present and future generations, an ethics that encourages the establishment of a respectful relationship with nature, facilitating the meeting of SDGs and offering the thinking tools to go beyond them.

Open access

While education is expected to play a significant role in responding to global social challenges, sustainable development discourses often fail to attend to issues of pedagogy, purpose and process. In this paper, we argue that one way to focus arguments on educational practice is through considerations of the relationship between education as justice and education for justice. We do this through discussing one form of justice in education – epistemic justice – and developing our conceptualisation of an epistemic core. Drawing on Elmore’s instructional core, this includes openness to students’ experiences and the place where they live, rich pedagogies and a broad range of epistemic resources. We argue that this is one way that secondary education’s contribution to sustainable and just futures could be made more concretely possible.

Open access

Understanding how today’s children will act in the future is essential to education supporting sustainable development. This study investigated how students in three contexts in Nepal, Peru and Uganda understand environmental, epistemic and transitional justice. It used a tablet-based app to present students with scenarios that illustrates different attitudes, experiences and intended actions with respect to these three forms of justice and analysed responses to focus on factors related to intended actions. The analysis suggests that both attitudes and experiences are important in shaping intended actions in the future. Thus, education systems should not only develop attitudes to support sustainable development, but also exemplify and embody socially justice practices, providing students with experience of social contexts that support sustainable development.

Open access