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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Through a project undertaken under a programme funded by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) called Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures (TESF), alternative learning approaches associated with the introduction of a form of vertical farming called ‘tower gardens’ at primary schools were explored. Methods that were new to the local education context were used to support the learning process, for example role-playing sketches that allowed learners to share their own knowledge about gardening activities with their peers, teachers and staff from the non-governmental organisation that facilitated the process. This collective sharing and recall were key elements of the social learning process, building into individual and group knowledge. Corroborated memory recall contributed to group learning and also built into the collective storage of knowledge. Learning was firmly embedded in social interaction, in collective symbolism and arts – music specifically. These forms of learning and storing of knowledge resonated with the learners as it was a continuation of life as they know it in their community. It became clear from the project that educators saw the value of introducing concepts from classroom subjects when constructing and managing the tower gardens and were pleasantly surprised by the responses of the learners to this new way of learning, suggesting that creating scope within the curriculum and schoolwork plan is necessary in tandem with building the required capacity to replicate this without external support.

Open access

This paper offers a novel analysis of how Nepal is delivering its commitment to secondary education provision that is advancing environmental sustainability, tracing a trajectory that begins with national policies relating to environmental sustainability and incorporating the national curriculum framework, textbooks, pedagogies used in classrooms, and learner experiences and anticipated actions. We consider Nepal’s education about and for environmental sustainability in the context of theories of environmental justice, and question if and how secondary provision might promote the behavioural change that Nepal recognises is vital for environmental sustainability. Qualitative data were generated through policy analysis, critical content analysis of secondary-level curriculum and textbooks, classroom observations, semi-structured interviews with 15 teachers and 4 headteachers, and a range of in-person activities with 24 students in purposively selected four community secondary schools in the three diverse locations across Nepal. The results illuminate pronounced disconnections across modalities that indicate incoherence and unresolved debates in the underlying narrative of what environmental sustainability is and the role of education in addressing it. Our findings suggest that learners’ ideas, opinions, thinking and experiences should be encouraged and celebrated in the classroom to aid learners in translating conceptual learning into practical, sustainable behaviours, as well as to contribute to environmental justice. The findings appeal to the concerned stakeholders for their consideration of future policy and programme development that promotes environmental justice through education and establishes a connection between classroom learning and students’ lived experiences through a participatory approach, collaboration, and critical and creative thinking.

Open access

Education is often posed as the harbinger of progress in discourses related to the development of marginalised Indigenous communities. However, since they entered the mainstream schools in the 1960s, the four Indigenous communities of Gudalur, India have experienced various forms of injustice in seeking formal education. This article draws from the work of the Vishwa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust, a community-driven organisation that has been working on matters related to the education of these four communities since 1996, and two research initiatives that captures the community’s voices on their experiences and aspirations related to education, to put forth recommendations for practice that is geared towards greater equality and justice for the children of Indigenous communities. Rooted in the belief that the active participation of the community is crucial to devising solutions that truly address in a sustainable manner the historical injustices faced by them, the article outlines various interventions at different sites of learning that builds community ownership and nurtures a meaningful continuum between the home and school environment of the children.

Open access

This paper explores how Ugandan secondary school learners experience schooling in English-medium schools where the use of English only is strictly enforced. We conceptualise the ways that the learners sit at the intersection of direct, systemic and cultural violence that in turn impacts their educational experiences. We particularly focus on instances of direct violence through corporal punishment, and the ways that such violence, and associated fear, are part of many learners’ everyday schooling experiences. We demonstrate this through presentation of findings from thematic analysis of individual and focus group interviews with 64 learners at two public and two private secondary schools in the Amuru and Kitgum districts of Northern Uganda. Our conclusions advocate for greater attention to be paid to the ways that changes to enforced English-only policies could support more positive well-being and educational outcomes.

Open access