Societies are currently confronted with serious challenges regarding global environmental sustainability (e.g., biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution). To move towards an environmentally sustainable society, it is argued that transformations on a systemic level are required. However, what can be our roles as researchers in these transformations? How can we contribute? Should we position ourselves as change agents, triggering transformation, as facilitators, or should we stay in a more detached perspective?
Societies need to transform and adapt to the impacts of climate change (e.g., drought, heat stress, landslide, flooding). However, not every response to climate change is a good one. Climate change is deeply related to issues of injustice (see box 1). Adaptation actions can even increase existing injustices (Anguelovski et al. 2016; Byskov and Hyams, 2022). How can we achieve just, fair and inclusive climate adaptation that ‘leaves no one behind’?
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most urgent sustainability challenges societies are currently facing. But what does it actually mean to keep climate change in line with the target of 1.5 – 2 degrees of temperature increase as agreed in Paris in 2015?
The times of scientists in their ivory tower should be long over. Scientists should co-create and conduct research projects together with stakeholders to generate research that is societal relevant and useful. At least that’s the ambition. In practice, co-creation turns out to be much trickier and more time-consuming.