Adaptation, Mitigation, Education: Responding to Climate and Ecological Crises

A one-week introductory course for prospective postgraduate students

  • Mon 9 - Fri 13 May 22


  • Online

    Book your place

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Interdisciplinary Studies Centre

This free online course comprises of daily sessions, specifically designed to introduce you to some of the most dynamic and cutting-edge topics within Interdisciplinary Studies today.

How do we learn to live in this complex present and also prepare for the future? What actions are needed to prepare our societies to adapt to urgent challenges but also commit to long-term changes –in lifestyle, economic models and mindset- that will mitigate against the worsening of the climate and ecological crises? This mini-course weaves together perspectives from philosophy, education, the arts and archaeology to present strategies for adapting to and mitigating the impacts of the urgent environmental challenges posed by life on earth. Throughout the course, you’ll gain insights into how diverse communities are working collaboratively and creatively to deal with present conflicts, such as global heating, environmental disasters and the emotional and sociocultural upheavals they entail.

Each session will be delivered by our expert academics, giving you the chance to meet the tutors, ask questions and discover what studying at postgraduate level is really like.

You can pick and choose which sessions to attend, you will be eligible to receive a certificate of attendance if you attend four or more sessions.

Monday 9 May: Climate Justice and the Ethics of Adaptation, 12pm-1pm BST

With Dr Ellisif Wasmuth, this talk will explore theories within the emerging field of adaptation ethics, looking at ways of dealing with and preparing ourselves for change in ways that reduce conflict, moral harm and trauma. The climate and ecological emergency presents us with moral challenges and dilemmas on a scale that might well be unprecedented in human history. We are facing a world where densely populated parts of the Earth are becoming uninhabitable, where water scarcity -which already affects half of the world's population -becomes more prevalent and where extreme weather, soil depletion, pollution and ecological destruction threaten our food supplies. How do we respond to these global threats that are both so urgent and so overwhelming in a way that preserves our humanity and morality? 

Tuesday 10 May: Rethinking Education in the Context of the Climate and Ecological Crisis, 11am-12pm BST

With Dr Jane Hindley, this talk provides an introduction to education for sustainable development and education for sustainability. It considers the types of skills and competences these promote and evaluate their strengths and limitations. In the context of the climate and ecological crisis, it is clear that education systems need to change. Reforming education systems is now an urgent task if we are to ensure that children and young people are well prepared with the knowledge, understanding and skills to deal with the challenges of adaptation and mitigation. The UN has been promoting education for sustainable development (ESD) since the early 2000s, and there are numerous small-scale experiments with the alternative education for sustainability (EfS) approach. But governments around the world have been slow to implement reforms and neoliberal education systems are deeply entrenched. 

Wednesday 11 May: Cultivating Response-ability: Why the Arts are Crucial to our Ecological Futures, 2pm-3pm BST

With Dr Lisa Blackmore, this talk focuses on recent art projects from Latin America that are engaged in generating environmental “response-ability” the concept that feminist scholar Donna Haraway proposes as the capacity to recognise, empathise with, and act in solidarity with the multiple forms of life (not just human!) affected by climate change and ecological degradation. We’ll focus on issues of environmental “artivism”, how disasters are represented in the mass media, and community art projects that confront socioenvironmental injustices. How do we tell earth stories at a time of crisis? What imaginaries will help us adapt to the shifting grounds on which we live? How can we un-learn the dominance of turbo-capitalism to imagine other ways of being together and mitigate impacts of climate change? These are questions that occupy artists and cultural producers creating environmental aesthetics to respond to current emergencies and envisage possible futures.

Thursday 12 May: Rebuilding a Sense of Place: Community Resilience and Adaptation to Recurrent Natural Disasters, 2pm-3pm BST

With Dr Paola Di Giuseppantonio di Franco, this talk will draw on an ethnographic study that focuses on earthquakes in Italy to explore the role of heritage and sense of place in fostering community resilience. At the heart of this exploration is an understanding of the values and significance associated with both tangible (buildings, monuments) and intangible (relationships to monuments, public/private spaces) aspects of the lost place and how these intersect with the capacity of a community to respond to, recover from, mitigate the effects and adapt to natural disasters. Natural disasters are causing the destruction of landscapes and built environments more frequently than ever before. These events have a profound impact on communities. When they lose their physical home, communities also risk losing their identity, making them particularly vulnerable. What happens to the sense of place of a community when the materiality of the place partially disappears following a disaster? What elements can help communities to rebuild their sense of place and reclaim ownership of their local heritage after disasters?

Friday 13 May: Round table and Q+A with the Speakers, 11.30am-12.30pm BST

Join our speakers from the course for a discussion about the common threads woven through the sessions and how interdisciplinary research contributes to shaping debates around the climate and ecological crises.

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