The Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program

Project: Research

Project Details


Humanity is facing increasingly complex societal challenges. Current coordination mechanisms, problem-solving strategies, and modes of scientific inquiry, teaching and learning that focus on external dimensions of sustainability appear insufficient to address these challenges. As a result, inner spheres of transformation (also embodied in notions such as inner development goals) are emerging as a potential new area of exploration. The “Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program” was set up to explore this new area and create space and opportunities for learning, networking and knowledge development on related topics. In this context, special attention is given to the issues of sustainable urban development, climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation.

Building blocks & network
The "Contemplative Sustainable Futures Program" consists of different building blocks, including teaching, networking and research activities. They involve, among other things: i) a Master's level course on "Sustainability and Inner Transformation", ii) an open course on "Psychology and Climate Change", iii) a knowledge database and network* (community of practice), and iv) a total of eight different research projects.

Program leader
Christine Wamsler, Professor at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). *Please send an email to if you would like to become part of the network (and related mailing lists) or would like to share relevant research, practice or teaching approaches for the knowledge database.

Cooperating partner organisations
External cooperating partner organisations include, among others, the UNDP Conscious Food Systems Alliance, The Inner Development Goals Initiative, the Global Compassion Coalition, The Inner Green Deal, Forward Malmö, and the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS, previously IASS Potsdam).

Supporting funding organisation
The Program and the associated projects have received financial support through The Swedish Research Council Formas, Vinnova, The Emergence Foundation, The Templeton Foundation, and Movetia.

Personal sustainability, inner transformation, inner transition, inner dimensions, interiority, inner development goals, worldviews, paradigms, values, emotions, consciousness, religion, spirituality, contemplative practices, other ways of knowing, mindfulness, compassion, animism, ecopsychology, well-being, climate anxiety.

Related links

Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE); Mind and Life Institute; Centre for Healthy Minds; Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education; Social Neuroscience at Max Planck Institute; Oxford Mindfulness Centre; Mindful Futures Network; Mindfulness and Social Change Network; A Mindset for the Anthropocene (AMA) at IASS; Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC); Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA); The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT.
Effective start/end date2016/01/01 → …

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
  • Karolinska Institutet: The Centre for Social Sustainability (Project partner)
  • Karolinska Institutet (Project partner)
  • Aberystwyth University Behavioural Insights Research Centre (Project partner)
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison: Center for Healthy Minds (Project partner)
  • Bath Spa University: Research Centre for Environmental Humanities (Project partner)
  • University of Oslo (Project partner)
  • Stanford University: Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (Project partner)
  • Institute For Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. (Project partner)
  • United Nations Development Programme (Project partner)
  • Inner Development Goals Initiative (Project partner)
  • Inner Green Deal (Project partner)
  • Research Institute for Sustainability—Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS)

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • values
  • mindfulness
  • well-being
  • inner transition
  • sustainability
  • beliefs
  • worldviews
  • paradigms
  • emotions
  • cognition
  • transformation