Even though the sustainability awareness is increasing , the knowledge on the practical meaning of the concept is still low

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.

He began his speech by defining sustainability as “the set of actions that contribute to the development of a social and economic system in harmony with nature”, developing, among others, some of the questions of interest to the public and that, in any case, referring to the institutional response to the challenge of sustainability, with behaviors that citizens are willing to change in relation to sustainability, participation in paths of low carbon, limits and constraints they face and the role in this context, play institutions and public and private organizations.

Also, in relation to the values and standards in establishing paths towards sustainability, he said that people spend a large part of their lives at work, this being a place where values coexist with the norms and everyday practices, where identities appear and where sustainable behavior is promoted or restricted, thus explaining why the creation of sophisticated methods, both qualitative and quantitative modeling is getting more attention; in order to better understand the relationships between people and their environment.


In this scenario, Garcia referred to the project LOCAW (low carbon at work), which aims to provide an analysis of the common practices in the workplace, factors that promote or characterize the transition to sustainable patterns of production and consumption identification and identification of barriers and enhance sustainable behavior in the workplace.

Among the provisional conclusions of this project, it referred to the importance of promoting standards that determine ways of change personal habits to others more respectful with the environment, fostering environmental awareness among workers, and the great distance between Environmental policies run by the organization and the perception of employees, a fact that can be explained, among other factors, because of a poor communication.

GLAMURS was the second project mentioned, which explores the complex interactions between economic, social, cultural, political determinants and technological influence on transitions to sustainable livelihoods, and that includes the participation of political experts, economists, ecologists industrial, social psychologists and modeling agents.

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