Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

Lunch seminar

Transforming how people relate to and interact with the environment: A philosophical paradigm shift

CET is happy to announce the upcoming seminar with Dr. Petra Buergelt from Charles Darwin University.

"Transforming how people relate to and interact with the environment: A philosophical paradigm shift"

Humans and nature are intimately and interdependently intertwined. They interact reciprocally over time and are continuously changing. A failure to recognize this dialectical interaction has resulted in most humans living separated from the rest of nature and in disharmonious relationships with nature, themselves and others. These increasingly disharmonious relationships are contributing to extreme natural events occurring, and being more serious and enduring. To stem this tide, humanity needs to urgently (re)establish harmonious relationships with nature and (re)learn to live in harmony with nature. Living in harmony with nature facilitates the development of individual and collective adaptive capabilities, and contributes to preventing extreme natural events and to reducing the risk of extreme natural events turning into disasters. Harmonious human-nature relationships are a persuasive disaster risk reduction strategy as they contribute to people’s health, well-being and quality of life in the present and can be integrated into everyday living. However, (re)establishing people and societies living in harmony with nature requires shifts in the fundamental beliefs people and societies hold about the origins and nature of the universe, and the nature of reality and knowledge. Promising transformative pathways for creating these shifts in consciousness include transformative education, art, ancient healing systems and Indigenous people. Living in harmony with nature has been the fundamental aim of Indigenous societies and they still have the required knowledges, sensitivities and practices. Hence, an effective way to achieve living in harmony with nature is to (re)learn from Indigenous people how to live in harmony with nature (and each other). Doing so may hold the key to human survival by providing insights not only into how such outcomes can be secured but also how they contribute to attaining enduring social, ecological and economic benefits for people and societies.

Petra Buergelt is a social scientist who lectures and researches at Charles Darwin University, School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Group of Energy Efficient Researchers (GEER, Australia), a research fellow at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (Massey University, NZ), and an international associate at the Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research (Victoria University, NZ).

Her research interest is human adaptation and transformation. She is specialising employing qualitative research to gain a holistic and in-depth understanding of the individual and contextual/environmental (historical, natural/build, interpersonal, social, cultural, spiritual, economic, political) factors and processes that empower humans and communities effectively managing and even thriving in the face of change, uncertainty, risk and adversity. To this end, she is passionately working in projects that create living in harmony with nature/environment and each other by exploring.


The seminar is open to all interested!

Lunch will be served, so please let us know if you are coming by sending a e-mail to Karin.lillevold@uib.no