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Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2349; doi:10.3390/su9122349

The Role of University Campuses in Reconnecting Humans to the Biosphere

The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 50005, Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, Gävle 802 67, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 28 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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In this paper, we explore the potential for integrating university campuses in a global sustainability agenda for a closer reconnection of urban residents to the biosphere. This calls for a socio-cultural transition that allows universities and colleges to reconnect to the biosphere and become active stewards of the Earth System. Recognizing their pivotal role of fostering coming generations of humans, university campuses represent a unique socio-cultural setting to promote sustainable development in practice. Among others, this involves the nurturing of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Antropocene era, which is characterized by ongoing climate change and massive loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. We explore the traditional campus setting, its role as a community for rejuvenating town planning and its role as a governance authority that may promote or retard sustainable development with an ecological focus. We explore the “sustainable” university and describe the campus as an ecosystem and how a resilient campus can be designed to meet the novel and critical challenges of the Anthropocene. We conclude by providing some policy recommendations for higher educational institutes to speed up their ambitions in the area of sustainable biosphere management. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainability; transition; universities; colleges; biosphere; urban; biodiversity; ecosystem services; management sustainability; transition; universities; colleges; biosphere; urban; biodiversity; ecosystem services; management

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Colding, J.; Barthel, S. The Role of University Campuses in Reconnecting Humans to the Biosphere. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2349.

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