Hear from Carlos Alvarez Pereira, a senior professional combining more than 30 years of experience in research and innovation, entrepreneurship, and business management, with a passion for complexity thinking and transdisciplinarity. He is keen on exploring the cultural transformation required to cross the threshold towards equitable human wellbeing within a healthy biosphere.
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Why is it important to create a Learning for Sustainability circle today?
Multiple and simultaneous crises are disrupting the everyday life of billions of people who can feel helpless and incapable of shaping their own future. Fear, apathy and denial can be natural reactions to a state of global emergency when one feels unable to understand what is going on and much less to act. It is urgent to say and show that everybody is able to learn and create new responses to the challenges we face.
By engaging into new learning processes everybody can foster the blossoming of desirable futures. These will come in many different flavors of equitable human wellbeing within a healthy biosphere. And it will not be done in a top-down and rigid manner, it will happen by building on community contexts, ancient wisdom, modern science and the infinite capacity of all people to engage and create, provided we allow ourselves to do so. Yes, we can :-)
What should be the priorities of this circle, in your view?
We have a lot to do, but let´s start by paying attention to people who are already trying, often in unconventional ways, without any support, and daring to address big challenges in their own communities. They are at the "frontline", where we can find youth, women, people from Most of the World, vulnerable communities, social activists, innovators in pedagogy and learning processes. Identifying and supporting existing initiatives of that kind is our first goal.
By listening to them and creating a safe space for open dialogues, we will be able to identify better questions and put the current model of knowledge creation upside down. All sources of knowledge might be useful, but the key element is to shed light on our blind spots. Wellbeing comes from taking care of our relationships with others, with all living beings and with time. That doesn´t require the exploitative and destructive lifestyles currently presented as the legitimate (and frustrating) aspiration for everybody. Our second priority is to look for localized and practical cases where the footprints of desirable futures can be revealed in their infinite richness.
Thirdly and not least important, the Circle will also push for the transformation of existing educational institutions. Their contribution to a future of sustainable wellbeing is of course critical, but reframing learning processes is urgent and the pace of reform is often too slow. How could we accelerate change in questions, framing, worldview, and processes? Shifting our mindsets towards wellbeing in the biosphere also requires changing the core of education.
What are some ideal outcomes of the circle?
Short-term the Circle of Learning for Sustainability can create quick wins by connecting individuals and organizations and making explicit many latent synergies. Innovators in need of support and supporters in need of projects bolder than usual: let´s make them meet in the Circle.
Mid-term, we aim to catalyze relevant projects to develop new methods and tools to support learning processes of a different kind: it is more than time to bet on mutual learning, radical engagement and design, and the (self-)liberation of the potential of everybody to learn and act.
Long-term, the ambition is no less than helping to incubate the conditions for a genuine revolution in education, to make it the most powerful instrument for the emergence of an infinite variety of processes of equitable human wellbeing within a healthy biosphere.