At last weekend's three-day symposium "Retooling Knowledge: Sustainable Development Goals from the Perspective of the Environmental Humanities", President Greg Warden formally launched the new Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainable Futures, CJSF, at Franklin University Switzerland. The CJSF has three clear focuses, Justice, Sustainability, and Futures, and its mission is to educate on the future implications on sustainability and other environmental challenges, while promoting relevant research and collaborations between disciplines, and exchanges among various stakeholders, inside and outside the university.
The inaugural symposium held last Friday, September 10, through Sunday, September 12, assembled artists, researchers, and practitioners in various disciplines from across Switzerland and beyond. Participants discussed a collaborative approach to pressing and interrelated challenges faced by our society, such as mounting inequity, climate change, and the degradation of ecosystems.
In its title, "Retooling Knowledge", the symposium signaled the need for new research and teaching approaches that ignore the traditional division of academia into natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Social sciences and humanities can help understand why societal responses to the threats facing humanity are so slow to lead to change, and what is needed to achieve a transition towards a more just and sustainable future by engaging with complementary areas of knowledge, a variety of stakeholders, and, in particular, different regions of the world. The quest for such new research modes is at the heart of the rapidly growing international movement of the Environmental Humanities. The new CJSF at Franklin is well connected with other similarly oriented centers around the world. It offers an intellectual space for Environmental Humanities as well as for more generally integrative research aimed at achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Switzerland and the Ticino.