The People Environment Research Gorup from the University of A Coruña, organizes, in the framework of the European project TRANSIT (http://www.transitsocialinnovation.eu) – the international seminar “Motivations, relations and transformations: the role of social learning in individual and collective agency for social innovation “.

 The seminar will be held at the Faculty of Educational Sciences (Graduate Hall, 1st floor) of the University of A Coruña (Campus of Elviña),  between the 8th and 9th June 2016 and will involve thirty researchers and activists, all experts in processes of transformative social innovation.

Download the programme here:TRANSIT_3IW_ACoruna2016_V7 (1)

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Since last May 16 the People Environment Research Group is pleased to host Monica Maldonado, a Mexican Psychologist who will be at the University of Coruña in a research visit for 1 month and a half under the auspices of the National Commission on Science and Technology (CONACYT ) from the Mexican Government and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

During her presentation, Monica Maldonado briefly introduced her research interests and some work done in the area of Social and Environmental Psychology. Her research efforts are now focused on designing interventions aimed at early childhood education in Mexico to help reducing and preventing obesity. Mexico is the second country worldwide with higher rates of overweight. Among the possible reasons for this, Monica Maldonado pointed to the high presence of carbohydrates in traditional Mexican diet, the extent of sedentary habits among the population and the high cost of fresh food in her home country. Recent studies by the World Health Organization show that the adoption of habits begins between the ages of 3 and 5 years. In this line, the Studies Program in which the work of Monica Maldonado is developed consists of the design and implementation of interventions such as school gardens, and it takes place entirely in kindergartens in the area of Mexico City, looking to generate sustainable habits from preschool ages.

Supporting sustainable lifestyles in Galicia.

How can we extend lifestyles and initiatives that help to reduce the carbon footprint of our territory? How do we achieve examples of local sustainability can be upscaled to a regional and even supra-regional level? These are among the questions which the research project GLAMURS (acronym for Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability) tries to answer during its lifetime, between 2014 and 2017. The FP7 Project is coordinated by the People-Environment Research Group at the University of Coruña and other 10 European research centers and universities are involved, all under the strategy of the European Commission against Climate Change and towards Green Economy.

A participative workshop welcomed by a number of Regional institutions.

In this context last weekend the People- Environment Research Group together with the Provincial Government of Corunna, organized at the Mariñan Palace, in Bergondo (Corunna), the Second Back-casting Workshop. The event was opened by the Rector of the University of A Coruña, Mr. Julio Abalde Alonso, the Provincial Deputy D.Juan Penabad Muras, the Environment Councillor of A Coruña, Ms. María García Gómez, the Deputy and Spokesman of the Commission against the Climate Change in the Parliament of Spain, Mr. Ricardo García Mira and the Glamurs Project Coordinator, Ms. Adina Dumitru.

The workshop was attended by about thirty experts from all over Galicia linked to environmental organizations as ADEGA (Lugo) or Fragas do Mandeo (Betanzos), Responsible Consumption Groups as Zocamiñoca (A Coruña) or Carabuñas (Allariz), Environment and Rural Development Technicians, Centres and Schools of Environmental Education as Granxa Barreiros (Sarria), Collectives for Free Culture as Galiza Imaxinaria (Nigrán), researchers from the three Galician universities, staff at the Regional Government Institute for the study of the territory (Santiago de Compostela) and the Environment Delegation of Regional Government (Xunta de Galicia) in Ourense or Vespera de Nada, an association for the regional degrowth, among others.

Making an inventory of problems and regional solutions to achieve a sustainable region in the future.

The purpose of this second workshop was to deepen the future visions that began to emerge in December last year, this time looking to get to make an inventory of problems and solutions at the regional level and proposals to implement that could allow the desired future scenarios to become real in Galicia within 25 years.

Three different strategies towards sustainability: Eco efficiency, sufficiency and socially embedded growth.

Three were identified as the main strategies for Galicia to be sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint substantially in 2040: eco-efficiency, sufficiency and socially embedded growth. According to the first, Galicia would be more sustainable in 2040 through the greening of technologies and consumption (renewable sectors and km0 consumption), increased recycling and reuse of goods and materials. In the vision of sufficiency, our region would reduce its carbon footprint mainly by a decrease in the levels of aggregate consumption and demand. In the socially embedded growth, there would also be a reduction in the carbon footprint as a result of lower levels of demand and aggregate consumption also, but the quality of life of the population would depend on their small communities in which life would be organized daily and within which the resources will be distributed.

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BACKCASTING SCENARIOS DEVELOPMENT: UNIVERSITY OF A CORUÑA (2)

The European Commission’s Environment Directorate-General (DG Environment) commissioned CEP to lead a team of partners in researching and reporting on the public perceptions of environmental risks in Europe. CEP worked with partners at the University of A Coruña (Spain), the University of LatviaOikos (Slovenia), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy) and the West University of Timisoara(Romania).

This ambitious, Europe-wide project aimed to understand the differences between public perception and scientific assessment of environmental risks and the main factors influencing the evolution of public perceptions in Europe. The project used a mixed methodology research approach, including a survey of experts and focus groups with members of the public who were asked to assess and rank a selection of 14 environmental risks included in the Eurobarometer survey. [1]

The project ran from 2014 to 2015 and engaged with more than 100 experts across 28 EU Member States and over 100 members of the public in 12 focus group discussions that took place in six member states. The comparison of the assessment and ranking of environmental risks by type of respondent provides interesting insights for further research.

Overall, the environmental risks seen as being of highest concern by members of the public were similar to the top risks identified by experts. However, consumption habits and waste yielded very different responses between experts and the public.

Factors that were found to influence lay perceptions of risk included individual identity and background, collective cultural, institutional and socio-political systems, social values and degree of trust in authorities. A number of qualitative characteristics of environmental risks, such as scale, severity, proximity and personal control, were also found to influence lay assessments of environmental risks. Discussions in the focus groups showed that many people were using multiple sources of information to develop their understanding of what are often complex environmental issues.

The full report can be downloaded here.

[1] Special Eurobarometer 416: Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment (European Union, 2014)

 

If someone would ask you to imagine how Galicia will be in 2040, where would you start? Would it be easy for you to answer? If you think about it for a moment you may take into account some of the future projections with greater diffusion made by the INE (National Statistics Institute) or the IGE (Galician Statistics Institute) and some ideas like population loss, rural abandonment, aging or concentration in the Atlantic Axis (as you know this imaginary line which links the main cities in Galicia and that nowadays concentrates more than the 50% of the total Galician population) may come to your mind easily. Data show that the demographic crises is one of the biggest problems we will have to face to  as a society before we wake up in 2040 let the next generation take the wheel.

The  question that would be logical to wonder about next would be: and how we deal with this catastrophe foretold that is coming down the line? What are the available means we have to deal with this and who should be responsible to find solutions? Is it the Spanish central government, the regional government, civil society, the European Union?

Based on this rationale of prospective exploration the first  back-casting workshop took place on Saturday, 12th of December at the Luis Seoane Foundation in Coruna as part of the European GLAMURS European Project, which addresses sustainable lifestyles escalation and how green economy models could be fostered across the European Union. The project involves 11 European research centers, under the coordination of the People-Environment Research Group from the University of Coruna.

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In this brief, we describe the transformative aims of 12 social innovation networks we have studied this far, including their models of change and the interactions with their context. Many of the networks have explicit transformative ambitions and aim to make a positive societal impact, for example through environmental sustainability, social equity and fairness, and economic resilience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governance: Co-production challenges in Transformative Social Innovation. 
This TRANSIT brief addresses the governance and politics of transformative social innovation. Social innovation means new social relations, involving new ways of doing, organizing, knowing and framing. Social innovation is ‘transformative’, when it moves beyond a single local innovation towards significantly challenging the social context. In our research project, we study 20 social innovation networks and 40 related local initiatives, most of which have such explicit transformative ambitions.

We only have this post available in Galician.

With this statement began his speech Ricardo García Mira, Professor of Social and Environmental Psychology at the University of A Coruña and President of IAPS (International Association for People-Environment Studies), at the round table on the role of environmental education in the management of urban waste and that was part of the course promoted by the UIMP(Menéndez Pelayo International University) developed in Ourense. So, last July 3, Ricardo García Mira, contributed with his knowledge and experience in the field. In his speech, he placed special emphasis on environmental education as key to promoting responsible ecological behavior, improvement and development of skills to train citizens capable of critical and of analyzing problems.

He also made special mention of two European projects of relevance: LOCAW, which aims to identify barriers and improving sustainable behavior in the workplace; and GLAMURS, which explores the conditions that influence the transition to lifestyles and sustainable transformation to a green economy.

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TRANSIT (TRANsformative Social Innovation Theory) is developing a theory of transformative social innovation: a process through which social innovation contributes to transformative change. After the first phase of in-depth empirical work has now come to its end, TRANSIT shares its first materials. Over the past year, TRANSIT researchers have interacted with and studied 12 transnational networks – for each network they focused on the network level as well as on 2-3 local manifestations.

Photo by Pedro Larios Garcia (IHS)

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