ChangeS Webinar Series 2011-2012

Dec 14th , 2011
Learning, adapting and governing global change. From knowledge to wisdom.
Dr. Joan David Tabara, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Global Climate Forum


In this talk I want to share some personal insights gained from two decades of interdisciplinary research focused on the study of social-ecological interactions and sustainability. A major concern during this time has been to try to understand the role played by culture and social learning and the conditions affecting these in the face of global environmental change. A starting point of my speech is that the complexities of potential sustainability transitions and of human adaptation to climate change can best be grasped if understood as processes of social learning. In this respect, one role of sustainability research can be thought as that of developing, jointly with interested parties, new integrative concepts, methods and tools which can contribute to enhancing social reflectivity and transformation. Among those, I will discuss the notion of "sustainability learning", the dialogic tool of the "climate learning ladder" and the concept of "Integrated Climate Governance". I will also problematize the idea of the need to "fill knowledge gaps" with "more knowledge" and argue that having "more knowledge" (of the same kind...) is not enough to deal with the current challenges of global change: multiple ways of learning and a certain degree of collective wisdom - linking knowledge, ethics and meaning - are also necessary.

Speaker: Dr. J. David Tabara is an associate senior researcher, professor qualified, at the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) where he lectures Environmental Sociology, Integrated Assessment methods and public participation in Sustainability Science. He is a member of the Global Climate forum of the European Sustainability Science Group (, and of the Quality Research Group on Water, Land use and Sustainability of the UAB. He is also a founding member and now member of the Board of the Research Committee on Environment and Society of the International Sociological Association (ISA -RC-24). He has published extensively on socioenvironmental theory and integrative environmental methods, with particular attention to questions of public perception, social learning, communication and public participation for sustainability. In 2009 he received a best paper award at the EU Conference on Sustainable Development Research and also the award for Research Excellence at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Latest pubblication: Reframing the Problem of Climate Change. From Zero Sum Game to Win-Win Solutions By Klaus Hasselmann, Carlo Jaeger, Gerd Leipold, Diana Mangalagiu, Joan David Tàbara Published by Routledge

Time: Dec, 14th 2011 10:00 am (Rome CET)
Duration: 2 hours + 15 minutes Q&A

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References and related material:

- Integrated Climate Governance and Sustainable Development

- The Climate Learning Ladder. A pragmatic procedure to support climate adaptation

- Integrated climate governance in regions? Assessing Catalonia's performance using the "climate learning ladder"


- Presentation slides (.pdf)

- Abstract (.doc)