What is a sustainable society: GLOBUS & Outreach
What is sustainability? How do we achieve it? What are the traps, the threats – the opportunities? How does it fit with contemporary society? How can we expand or exploit knowledge to achieve it? What institutions or organisations are critical to understanding how to implement it? What about the historical context – how do traditions, cultures and beliefs fit in? How might politics or political power influence its establishment?
All of these are questions that we, here at GLOBUS, seek to explore. To consider just a few of our more recent pieces:
- Why might contemporary education fail? How can it be improved?
- How does inertia factor in to the need for action on environmental issues?
- How does fragmentation of knowledge and teaching lead to an imperfect understanding of the world around us?
To paraphrase a number of clichés, however: knowledge is best only when shared. GLOBUS, while at its core an online platform for comment and knowledge creation, has a second, but just as important mission: to engage with the communities that it is part of to share our thoughts, and to foster and inspire debate and engagement with our key themes. This year, alongside a revitalisation of our content creation processes, and a fundamental expansion of our team to facilitate that, outreach activities and events, both within and outside of the University of Warwick, will be a key plank of our mission – a mission that we hope to be able to share with you, explicitly, in the coming weeks, through a new Mission Statement produced by our Editorial Board.
To that end, therefore, I would like to share with you all some of GLOBUS’ plans for new outreach events in the coming year – some of them more concrete than others, but nevertheless what we hope to be able to achieve.
Firstly, and most actively, GLOBUS will be – and, indeed, is – closely involved in outreach work by the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, our parent institution within the University, conducted in concert with Warwick Outreach under the umbrella of the Sutton Scholars programme. In the coming months, a cohort of students from secondary schools in the local area and beyond will be working in groups, with – hopefully – new friends, on a project to explore issues surrounding the theme of food sustainability, a key module explored in the second year of the Global Sustainable Development degree programme. The project will culminate in an exciting residential visit to the University, in which the groups will be presenting the findings of their research project to a panel: we hope to be able to feature some of the best here on our website.
Along similar lines, GLOBUS hopes to be able to conduct its own outreach work with schools. A draft programme run by myself is currently in the works for a series of outreach events in the South West of England, to explore our relationship with the environment – more specifically, the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, and its potential solutions. It is my hope that this programme will form the basis of a larger scale project next academic year, in which we hope to be able to engage with local secondary schools to host an outreach conference here at the University itself.
A little closer to home in both time and distance, GLOBUS also hopes to provide a platform for Warwick students and staff to engage more collaboratively with work that surrounds our central themes. We are exploring the possibility of hosting undergraduate (or even postgraduate!) work on our website, and organising ‘Research and Policy’ events, comprising presentations, debates and discussions of recent research, and its implications for economic, social and environmental policy – in both bottom-up and top-down forms.
Similarly, we will be looking to engage with other societies here at the University, to explore how we can raise the profile of sustainability in contemporary society in existing disciplines.
Through all of this, and more, we hope to be able to engage to a far greater degree with the wider community: to raise the profile of GLOBUS and its key themes, and to stimulate discussion and consideration of their implications and consequences in today’s context.
To that end, the Relaunch Series – of which this article forms a part – will be exploring a number of different themes. ‘A Sustainable Serenissima’, by Dr. Bryan Brazeau of the Liberal Arts Department at Warwick, discusses an upcoming addition to the module offerings of the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, considering “the ways in which contemporary Venice confronts sustainability challenges and develops resilience.” A piece by the Global Sustainable Development Department’s resident sociologist, Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins, will explore the transcendent view of the 1st Year Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development module, while guest writer Olivia-Savannah Roach explores the role of females in literature – the beginning of what we hope to be a fruitful, long-lasting venture into the social, Liberal Arts-related themes of our publication.
I hope, therefore, that you enjoy perusing the other pieces released in the Relaunch Series later today – and look forward to engaging with you all in our outreach work over the coming year. If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, or even a desire to join our team, feel free to get in touch with me at the address below.