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Climate lessons from the cold edge: rethinking the university as an ethical ecology

Simon Boxley (Department of Education and Childhood Studies, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 26 April 2024




This largely conceptual study aims to draw from the author’s experience of conversations with Svalbard’s educators, lessons for international higher education institutions’ engagement with climate change education and thinking for non-specialists.


In situ discussions with Svalbard’s educators informed the theoretical work of the author towards the development of conceptual conclusions. The theoretical frame used – “Red Biocentrism” – draws on both radical left and green thought to posit an emplaced, materialist understanding of author’s, participants’ and place’s intra-related contributions.


That, insofar as universities represent nodes in an ethical ecology, they have a capacity to realise that which is obvious in Svalbard – their role as embassies for their learning places, generative of spokespeople or ambassadors.


There is sparse published research into the work of Svalbard’s climate educators, as a pedagogical project undertaken under such extreme and rapidly changing environmental conditions. This study represents the first to reflect on what can be learnt from the educators of Svalbard by Universities elsewhere.



Boxley, S. (2024), "Climate lessons from the cold edge: rethinking the university as an ethical ecology", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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