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Combining learning and acting for sustainability - Podcast #10

Sustainability is a central theme to Una Europa and a topic that many of our researchers, staff and students are deeply passionate about. While our universities are highly skilled when it comes to sustainability research and knowledge production, there can be a gap between this research and translating it into practice. How might universities across Europe - and the world - address that gap and what is the university’s role and strength in a fast-paced world where we need solutions for sustainability not in 5 years, but now?

While universities might not be the most readily adaptable to change, they have a unique position at the intersection of research, education, and societal impact. This gives universities the opportunity to push for change, by educating and engaging students to become leaders for a more sustainable future and by taking our valuable research and applying it concretely to society. We need new educational formats, such as the Una Europa micro-qualification on sustainability and the Climate University, to implement new pedagogies and learning methodologies. We need to not only think of transferring knowledge but also allowing students to put that knowledge into practice right away. Finally, we need to remain lifelong learners and understand that we all have a role to play, right now.

In this tenth episode of the Una Europa podcast we meet Jaakko Kurhila, Chief Digital Officer at the University of Helsinki; Laura Riuttanen, University Lecturer in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Helsinki and coordinator of the Climate University and the Una Europa Micro-qualification in sustainability; and Wilhelm Blomberg, an environmental activist and student of educational sciences at the University of Helsinki. Our three guests discuss key issues in climate education, sustainability and learning, and provide their best advice for how universities can lead efforts for a more sustainable future.

  • Wilhelm Blomberg

  • Jaakko Kurhila

    © Linda Tammisto

  • Laura Riuttanen

" It’s not enough that we educate the young students who… will become Masters & then get employed… we really need the expertise now to solve these huge issues of climate change & the sustainability crisis, & that’s why we need Lifelong Learning "

Laura Riuttanen on the urgent need for climate education

" We are building on top of these Climate University Courses & re-using some parts of it and re-modelling some parts of it & adding all that together so that it becomes a joint project that enhances the whole experience for everyone included "

Jaakko Kurhila on horizontal thinking

About Our Speakers

Wilhelm Blomberg is an environmental activist and a student of educational sciences with a focus on climate education. He is active both in Extinction Rebellion and Climate Move. Currently he is interested in what causes “climate awakenings” and how to educate for agency in societal issues.

Dr. Laura Riuttanen is a University Lecturer in Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Helsinki Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research. She leads Climate University, a network of 18 higher education institutions in Finland developing and fostering climate and sustainability education in higher education. In Una Europa collaboration she leads work on joint Micro-credentials in Sustainability.

Dr. Jaakko Kurhila works as the Chief Digital Officer at the University of Helsinki. He graduated from the University of Helsinki with MSc in Computer Science in 1997, PhLic in 2000, and PhD in 2003. He is an eager proponent of excellence in education and has extensive international experience in building ICT education for development in international settings.

" Everything is essentially about following your curiosity & everybody is creative and imaginative in this way that everybody can envision the futures that they want. And then trace back on what could be the steps that empower this or make it possible "

Wilhelm Blomberg on the University of the Future

The podcast is part of the 1Europe project and co-financed by Erasmus+.