The Sustainability Science Days is an international, two-day conference organised jointly by Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and Aalto University on 18th-19th of May 2022. The conference will be held on-site at Aalto campus in Undergraduate Centre (Otakaari 1, 02150 Espoo), and online. This year the conference will focus on the theme of systemic transformations to sustainable futures in a globally connected world and highlight the urgency to act now.
The urgency for systemic sustainability transformations has been here for a long time. Transformations in multiple systems have been ongoing for a while; however, pace of change has been much slower than previously foreseen. We need more understanding of the interlinkages between sectors, actors, geographies, markets, practices and lifestyles as these have significant relevance for the impact and pace of change.
The pandemic has further highlighted that we live in a globally connected world; our overreliance on economic growth and increasing levels of consumption has made us extremely vulnerable to and unprepared for different kinds of systemic shocks. Living in this era has underlined once more the urgency of accelerating transformative change towards sustainable and just futures worldwide by envisioning solutions that would cater to societal needs within the planet’s biophysical boundaries.
Furthermore, the growth of social and spatial polarization in both urban and rural areas is a rising challenge. Although new technologies offer hope, growing urban socio-spatial segregation and the decline of rural peripheries, pose major challenges for simultaneously addressing both climate change mitigation and adaptation and embedded social inequalities. Globally inclusive and just sustainability transformations are urgently needed - but how do we get there? Transformations also mean phasing out from the current non-sustainable practices while simultaneously nurturing and accelerating adoption of more sustainable ones, through active experimentation, piloting and accelerated diffusion of new promising solutions. This also requires responding to the new knowledge needs, and better taking into account different forms of knowledge, including indigenous and local knowledge.