When good intentions are not enough: How sustainable development goals at universities can perpetuate the issues they’re aimed to address – University Affairs

When good intentions are not enough: How sustainable development goals at universities can perpetuate the issues they’re aimed to address – University Affairs

by ahnationtalk on May 3, 202111 Views

Just because a technology or policy is ‘green’ does not make it immune from reproducing harmful colonial and capitalist relations.

MAY 03 2021

Sustainability is a buzzword on many Canadian university campuses these days, and for good reason: we are facing unprecedented ecological challenges on a global scale. Specific institutional commitments vary, but as recently reported in this publication, several universities have committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This has been done by integrating the SDGs into events, research funding, coursework, fellowships and strategic plans.

Universities’ embrace of the SDGs can be understood partly as an effort to ensure that they are fulfilling their role as producers of socially relevant knowledge, and preparing graduates to address the challenges of our time. However, universities are also charged with protecting spaces for social critique, and our graduates need to be prepared to engage with diverse and dissenting viewpoints. Thus, while the overall direction toward allocating more attention and resources to addressing climate change and related challenges is a positive one, there is also a need for ongoing reflexive and rigorous engagements with multiple perspectives about the SDGs and related initiatives. This includes making space for perspectives from students, staff, faculty and community partners that are critical of the SDGs and of how universities seek to achieve them; and/or that propose alternative visions of sustainability, development, prosperity, education, and global citizenship. It is also important to hear Indigenous voices in particular in their efforts to reframe laws and policies, including the SDGs, by centering the rights of nature.

Read More: https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/when-good-intentions-are-not-enough-how-sustainable-development-goals-at-universities-can-perpetuate-the-issues-theyre-aimed-to-address/

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