Sustainability and Society
Human society faces unprecedented sustainability challenges. These include familiar issues of ecological sustainability – such as climate change, resource depletion, pollution, loss of wildlife, etc. – as well as issues of social sustainability – including aging societies, unemployment, the corrosion of meaning, marginalisation, and widening inequalities. These challenges are not merely technical in nature – they are intrinsically social. It is not only that the origin of our sustainability crises must be located within the matrix of human activity, but also that these crises are lived and interpreted at the level of human activity, in dialogue with human needs and aspirations. Moreover, transitions to more sustainable societies are to be found in the innovations of people, acting at individual and collective levels. The sustainability challenge requires the reconstitution of knowledge, behaviours, and institutions. The Sustainability and Society Research Group is a multi-disciplinary team within Tokyo College, which interrogates and explores these social aspects of sustainability challenges, in dialogue between the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
At present, our core activity is our regular writing group in which members share draft papers and other works with the group for feedback and workshopping. This provides a lively forum for cross-disciplinary dialogue on the concept of sustainability and different theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding sustainability-society connections.
In future, we hope to explore these themes through other means, such as:
- Hosting joint workshops, seminars, conferences, and other events.
- Undertaking collaborative, cross-disciplinary research projects on sustainability issues.
- Composing joint publications, drawing on our diverse expertise to articulate new perspectives on sustainability.
- Engaging the general public in dialogue on challenges that pertain to sustainability and society – including through film screenings and immersive learning experiences, and by encouraging frontline sustainability advocates to participate in academic events and vice versa – hosting academic events in more applied settings.