A vast amount of experimentation and learning has been generated as communities and countries globally embark on efforts to find new ways of being that will facilitate human wellbeing that is compatible with keeping global temperature between 2°-1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, this learning is not always collected, shared or tracked in ways that can facilitate further experimentation and deeper learning. Learning by Doing is at the heart of this project, recognizing that learning is not a purely technical or transmissive act. Learning by Doing recognizes the centrality of the heart, hearts and hands in the scale and speed of transitions required in the climate context. Accordingly, this project is centred around multiple opportunities to facilitate, identify, and share creative and integrated bottom up learning that can align short- and long-term policies, actions and the requires skills that this transition will require. In addition, a reflexive process of identifying, reflecting on, and re-integrating learning is used to ensure that learning in this project is systemically supported and documented to benefit both the participants, and others who are not participating but may be facing similar challenges elsewhere.
BOTTOM UP APPROACH
The project structure is built to develop and foster learning in a series of ways. It follows a bottom up approach, focusing on the role of the civil society, academia, and the private sector within feasible visions of 2 – 1.5 futures. It seeks to build networks of people that collaborate and share ideas around a vision of 2 – 1.5 futures in specific places both within and across countries. The networked design allows each country team to embed solutions in specific contexts, while allowing for diversity of thought, multiple approaches and for a greater number of minds to work together on the same questions. A bottom up approach also allows to take into account the role of culture. Culture (and place) provides meaning and character to practices, and allows persons and groups to speak about how these practices can be excellent and good – or bad, unfit for purpose or lacking somehow- in different communities. Moreover, it also provides a decentralized approach to increase the range of policies and practices that are identified and pursued.
CAPACITIES TO ENVISION, CHOOSE, AND EXECUTE
Capacity is a crucial factor in planning and achieving long term objectives for climate sustainability. Self-reliance is not just the capacity to choose, but also the capacity to envision and to execute. Organizations, companies and persons must choose to act in certain ways but they must also have the capacity to do so. A simple example is the piano: you can choose to play it but you must also have the capacity to do so. In the same way, living in low carbon societies requires the capacity (be that formation of skills, knowledge, or institutions within society) as well as a desire to do so. Being able to envision, design, and pursue alternatives will require engagement not only with the technical aspects of climate action, but also the central capacity to imagine and design societies capable to nurturing a good life – a life that people actually want to lead – compatible with 2-1.5 C futures. A key element of efforts intended to support this broader notion of capacity is engagement with bottom-up visions of futures that are both feasible and desirable. The reflexive design of this project is intended to facilitate the capacity of country teams to envision, pursue and implement pathways towards these desirable and feasible futures by punctuating active learning by doing periods with moments of reflection.
LONG TERM AND SHORT-TERM INTERACTION
The efforts that are required to achieve a global equilibrium between sources and sinks by the middle of the century will require efforts that need to be maintained through long periods of time. While the growth rate of mitigation levels in many places around the world are decreasing, countries are still emitting GHG, while impacts are likely to continue increasing. To adapt to this, short- and medium-term policy must be continuously adapted to long term objectives. The project development of long-term visions, coupled to the backcasting of the trajectories from them towards the present, buttressed by policies and projects, seeks to enable pathways that enable efforts that align short and long term needs.
THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES, ACADEMIA AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR
In recognition of the potential contributions in multiple sectors, the project operates in cooperation with a wide network of universities, educational institutions and research organizations in their host countries and regions. This association seeks to both facilitate learning and also to translate the capacity, learning, skills and knowledge generated by the project to academia, the private sector, and society at large in the places where it develops. For example, the project will be supporting the creation and enhancement of courses, seminars, university chairs and other similar activities as it is deployed. Likewise, it is also interacting with these universities to further associated knowledge and skills as required for the long-term transitions towards 2 – 1.5 compatible societies. Investing effort in the development of sustained mutual relationships between the academic sector and the project allows the project to progressively translate its findings into educational and learning opportunities which can have long-lasting implications, and to benefit from the knowledge and resources currently being pursued in these institutions.