Can we meet the sustainability challenges? The role of education and lifelong learning


A new paper that I was fortunate to co-author with Aaron Benavot – former Director of the UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) -addresses the role of lifelong learning and education in meeting the sustainability challenges. The article provides a general overview of key possibilities and limitations of education in light of realizing the SDGs. It is based on the 2016 GEM report which was titled ‘Education for People and Planet: creating sustainable futures for all’. Both Aaron and I contributed to the report which was prepared by a large team of researchers commissioned by UNESCO. You can find a link to the article’s pdf here: Wals & Benavot Paper 

The proper reference is: Wals AEJ, Benavot A. (2017) Can we meet the sustainability challenges? The role of education and lifelong learning. European Journal of Education, p. 1–10.

ACT Sustainable Day – Interview about Smartphones, SDGs and Science for Societal Impact rather than for Impact Factors…


Gothenburg University’s students held their annual Act Sustainable Day last Tuesday, one week before ‘Sustainable Tuesday’  (Duurzame Dinsdag) in The Netherlands when Dutch students will do the same, also at my Alma Mater: Wageningen University. I conducted a workshop titled ‘How smart is your smartphone? Really?’ illustrating that the whole sustainability puzzle is in your smartphone both in terms of problems and solutions.

Afterwards Caroline Petersson of the Gothenburg/Chalmers Environmental and Sustainability Centre (GMV) interviewed me for about 5 minutes about the essence of my contribution.

Here you find a link to the interview: How smart is your smart phone, really?


International Masters in Education for Sustainable Development approved in Sweden

Last month the Faculty of Education of Gothenburg University approved an On-line/Blended Learning-based Intl. Masters on ESD. It is one of the the first of its kind in the world. During my guest-professorship at Gothenburg University that started in 2014 and will continue for another year, a was part of a team of staff from the Education Faculty, Natural Science Faculty, Business Faculty and the Humanities Faculty, as well as representatives from Chalmers University that co-designed the Masters.

The Master’s  centers on the question of how education can be a positive force for transformation and change towards a more sustainable future. Throughout the programme, students  will critically analyse the relationship between humans and other species. 

I anticipate I will continue to support the Masters in the years to come by setting up a collaboration with the Education and Learning Sciences Group of my main employer, Wageningen University.

The program will start in September 2018 and is tuition-free for qualifying European Citizens within the EU. Here’s a link to the Masters: Gothenburg ESD Masters Web-page


You can also contact the program coordinator Helena Pedersen at: