Project Update, MESCAS: Resilient society for the 21st century – Mainstreaming Eco-Sustainability through CAS Activities

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What are the key sustainability issues and problems in CAS, its departments and institutes? What are some of the good sustainability practices? What solutions are in the power of individual CAS institutes and departments alongside with other academic institutions in the Czech Republic? And what are the areas and options for central CAS support to improve sustainability in institutions?

These are the main areas of interest that the project “Resilient society for the 21st century: Mainstreaming Eco-Sustainability through CAS Activities” is exploring. Our project aims to gather data within the area of academic sustainability in the Czech Republic via four participatory workshops, discover key sustainability areas and identify opportunities, obstacles and promising practices. You can read more about our project here.

Workshops are organised in cooperation with the participating institutes and departments. The first one took place in early April 2022.

We invited our participants to a face-to-face discussion over key sustainability issues associated with the functioning of academic institutions in the Czech Republic. Each participant presented their academic institution and its sustainability initiatives and actions. The participants discussed barriers to academic sustainability that they face in their professional lives, and they also presented some examples of good practice together with potential and opportunities that these initiatives carry.

We also paid attention to motivations that brought us together to explore the topic of academic sustainability. It was very important for our participants to find out what academic sustainability initiatives are currently taking place in the Czech Republic. This way they were able to share their experience and create new connections and networks as a means of mutual support for their professional sustainability actions. Our participants came from a wide range of academic institutions and initiatives in the Czech Republic: Czech universities, some of the CAS institutes and CAS scientific councils alongside with people who had started some influential student sustainability movements in the Czech Republic. For all of these people, it was very important to see that they work for socially and environmentally responsible institutions, and that there are a lot of actions they can take. Finally, the participants shared with us their ideas on how to broaden our initiative and invite even more people to take a part.

Our next step will be an upcoming June webinar, where we will focus on the challenges (and solutions!) to mainstreaming sustainability across academic research. We are planning to present our findings from the first workshop, and we will want to hear some more ideas from the participants on how they work towards sustainability in their home institutes and departments. We will also explore what support would be useful for them.

The webinar will take place on 23 June (exact times TBC). If you would like to be part of it, please, contact us at: nohlova.b@czechglobe.cz.

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