Forum Series "Environmental and Sustainability Education Research"

17. Nov

Online research discussion forum about sustainability education with Prof. Dr. Matthias Barth and Pascal Frank from Leuphana University

This research discussion forum aims to connect researchers in the field of sustainability education research and is organized by the convenor group. We are pleased to announce two very interesting pieces of work and that we have Prof. Matthias Barth, Leuphana University Lüneburg as discussant with us!

When? 17.11.2020, 12:30 - 14:00 CET
Registration here:

Personal approaches toward environmental and sustainability education

12.30 -1.10 pm (ECT) Pascal Frank (Leuphana University, Lüneburg)

In recent years, environmental and sustainability education (ESE) has been criticized by scholars for its overemphasis of external phenomena and collective social structures and a neglect of people‘s inner worlds. In essence, it is argued that transformations on the personal level, including mindsets, worldviews, beliefs, values and emotions constitute the deepest leverage point to promote a societal sustainability transformation. However, it is precisely this personal level which has been almost entirely neglected in ESE. Responding to this shortcoming, I suggest a personal approaches paradigm toward ESE. It describes an educational approach centering around the inner states and processes individuals experience in regard to the vision of sustainability. I distinguish four (intersecting) dimensions of personal approaches in which this exploration can take place, namely (i) the subjective experience of current unsustainability, (ii) people`s inner worlds as cause of unsustainability, (iii) inner sustainability, and (iv) the individual as change agent for sustainability.

Discussant: Prof. Matthias Barth, Leuphana University Lüneburg

Social and Educational Practices and Responses to Environmental Change: A Political Ecological Framework

1.15 – 2.00 pm (ECT) Susanne Ress (Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg)

The research examines if and how public schooling in diverse political, economic, socio-ecological, and geographical contexts across Africa supports youth in learning about their needs, rights, and responsibilities vis-à-vis the environment; and in gaining the skills needed to understand and respond to the very rapid environmental changes that are reshaping life across SSA. In 2017/18 we designed a qualitative study examining daily in- and out-of-school youth practices in two sets of paired communities (one fishing and one agricultural) in Ghana and Malawi—both ranked among the top 10 countries most affected by climate change. We identified Political Ecology (PE) as analytical framework to shift away from a common ESD’s focus on individual skills and economic priorities towards a more holistic view of human-non-human-non-living relations. For the NW 30 Forum, I would like to share findings from a curriculum analysis as part of the research and to explore the potential of PE approaches to open new opportunities for comparative and international education scholars to imagine educational transformation that supports ecologically wise earthviews and repair and survival efforts.


  •  Susanne Ress (PhD, University of Bamberg)
  •  Nancy Kendall (Prof., University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  •  Sophia Friedson-Ridenour (Analyst, World Bank)
  •  Yaa Oparebea Ampofo (PhD cand., University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  •  Discussant: Prof. Matthias Barth, Leuphana University Lüneburg