Although technological solutions for transitioning to a fossil-free society exist, and Sweden can afford the transition, effective action is still lacking. What is needed is a different way to address the issue that inspires and attracts the widest possible group of society. The aim of the project is to investigate how citizens in Sweden perceive their future and welfare in a changing climate, and the implications for their sense of agency, responsibility and political engagement in the handling of energy and climate issues. This involves exploring their social values, beliefs, and paradigms, and how associated cultural change can be reflected in political support and a healthy development of a sense of responsibility, motivation and positive involvement. Based on i) a literature review, ii) a national survey, iii) an experiment, iv) four case studies, and v) comparative analyses, the project will draw attention to new forms of citizen involvement in a changing climate and new approaches to support the transition to a fossil-free society that can bridge personal, practical and political spheres of transformation. By linking the fields of energy, climate and sustainability sciences, behavioural economics, psychology and social neuroscience, the approach and outcomes of this project break new ground to fulfill the climate and sustainable development goals that have been set internationally, nationally and in local contexts in Sweden.
The project aims to provide new knowledge and critical analyses on the potential interlinkages between personal, practical and political spheres of transformation to support sustainability outcomes (individual, collective/organisational, and systems level). Within that context, TransVision deals with the following two questions: i) What mindsets (values, beliefs, paradigms and associated cognitive/ emotional and relational capacities) are needed to support welfare and sustainable climate action?; and ii) What is needed to enable such mindsets (learning processes, enabling factors, methods) for, ultimately, transitioning to a fossil-free society? Focus is on the role of citizens, here seen as key agents of change for sustainability and climate action.
In a recent interview, Professor Christine Wamsler, project leader, explains: "Our project will provide new knowledge on the interlinkages between personal, collective and systems change to support sustainable climate action and well-being. This involves exploring people’s mindsets, and how associated cultural change can be reflected in political support and a healthy development of people’s sense of responsibility, motivation and positive involvement. Our results will thus help to develop new approaches and learning processes towards sustainability.”