“We need a far-reaching change in values in society, and here universities and colleges need to rethink their position and take active social responsibility to a higher extent,” says Stehpen Barthel, environmental researcher at the University of Gävle.
Stephan Barthel says that people and animal depend on nature’s ecosystem in many different ways. Trees and plants produce the oxygen that we breathe, and pollinated insects indirectly give us our food, and so on. This perspective can be summarised in the concept of ecosystem services.
“We need a high degree of biodiversity, because it makes our society stronger and more resilient when facing climate change,” Stehpen Barthel says.
Researchers Stephan Barthel and Johan Colding underline that higher education institutions, because of their mandate and power in society regarding advanced learning, should take a special responsibility for new thinking for a more sustainable world.
“Campuses should become used in new ways and in this manner, they could become positive examples and powerful engines of change for a sustainable society,” Stephan says.
The researchers give us a few practical examples:
“The transition to a sustainable society must be supported by norms and behaviours which promote the global ecological system with all its living creatures. We want to show how higher education institutions can contribute by reconnecting people to the biosphere through this kind of thinking,” Stephan Barthel says.
For more information, please contact:
Stephan Barthel, reader in geospatial information science, University of Gävle.
Phone: 076-360 57 05
Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Foto: Barthel, S., Colding, J., Ernstson, H., Erixon, H., Grahn, S., Kärsten, C., Marcus, L., Torsvall, J. (2013). Principles of Social-Ecological Urbanism - Case Study: Albano Campus, Stockholm. TRITA-ARK Forskningspublikationer 2013:3, Stockholm.