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Southern African Journal of Environmental Education

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Think Piece: Change Agents and Collective Experience-Making as Part of Sustainable Transitions in the Face of Climate Change

Jeppe Læssøe

Abstract


While theories of transformative social learning, applied in environmental and sustainability education, tend to operate with relatively short-term learning horizons, this paper aims at exploring the potential of longer-term social learning. It begins by interpreting the 17-year-long process of transforming the island of Samsø to be solely dependent on renewable energy. The focus is on the key change agent and his way of drawing on, storying and creating collective experiences. This leads to reflection on the concepts of collectivity, experience and collective experience-making. Inspired by the works of German and Danish critical theorists, who may be unfamiliar to an international audience, emphasis is placed on linking people’s everyday sensuous–emotional experiences to collective spaces, enabling collective reflection, exemplary learning about the socio-cultural context they are part of, as well as social fantasy, concrete utopian projects and collective experience-making. Based on this perspective and the Danish context, it is briefly outlined how change agents can enable and facilitate collective learning about climate change, as well as the challenges they face.






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