There are many reasons why the great challenges of the environmental crisis and the building of sustainable societies require multidisciplinary cooperation. Global change is linked both to natural systems and to all human activity, and it requires the expertise of different fields of research on various subjects, as well as interdisciplinary research which combines the methods and knowledge of different fields of research. At the same time, we should also ask in what ways we know different aspects of the environmental crisis. Statistical information is different than experiential knowledge, and natural scientific knowledge is different than humanist knowledge. Therefore, we need different perspectives, different methods of conducting scientific research and knowing in order to gain sufficient understanding of complicated problems which can then be acted on. This section covers many different aspects of understanding the environmental crisis and seeks to provide an extensive picture of what can be considered knowledge. We will cover civilisation, literacy, language, emotions, imagining, and values. If the ongoing environmental change is, as author Margaret Atwood has said, “everything change”, knowledge regarding it will permeate all parts of our life.
As Paul Shrivastava and his research colleagues state in their contribution on the transformation of sustainability sciences, the sustainability transformation challenges scientists in multidisciplinary projects to rapidly adopt new ways of thinking that differ from the thinking models of their own disciplines. Such development of multidisciplinary cooperation and knowledge has traditionally been slow. A central challenge for multidisciplinary sustainability research is indeed how to answer the challenges posed by the sustainability crisis quickly enough while maintaining sufficient expertise. Another challenge is that scientists rarely know how to discuss their research with different interest groups comprised of laypersons. Shrivastava and his colleagues suggest the following solution: both education and research funding should emphasise the skills that are needed in multidisciplinary cooperation and societal research, such as being open to new perspectives, recognising different methods of knowing, scientific communication, and active citizenship. In this course, we also want to promote such skills.
The section has been divided into five chapters which can each be found in its own separate tab.
At the end of the section, there is a mandatory exercise which covers the contents of the entire section. Study chapters 3.1–3.5 and test your knowledge afterwards.
Finally, after studying this third section you can test your competence with the exam. The exam is below.
Take the exam in order to pass the third section of the course. The statements in the exam are either true or false. Which one is the right answer?
Just answer the questions, and after you have finished your exam and completed it you will get your test result. You need 8 out of 12 questions to be right to pass the exam. You will get the results and feedback right after finishing the exam.
You will be able to try again until you pass the exam.