Themes

Inter- and transdisciplinary approach plays a key role in finding sustainable development solutions and achieving Sustainable Development Goals indicated by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The BUP acts as a valuable means of streamlining current research findings and innovative ideas, which, at our multidisciplinary and international events, gain momentum and a far-reaching, cross-field impact. It is therefore only for the sake of clarity that we distinguish 10 themes that work as an organising principle of the BUP events and information distributes.

We have educational material on the themes on this web site, as well as on our YouTube Channel. 

1. Climate Change

Climate change refers to the changes that occur in the worlds climatic systems caused by anthropogenic emissions of green house gases. As stated by the Paris accord, the world’s countries have agreed to limit the global temperature increase to no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. At the same time, the countries have also pledged to aim for a global average increase of 1.5°C. Science is already and will continually play a crucial role in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Research network on Climate Change

2. Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy plays a crucial role in the transition to a zero-emission society. Changing our energy production becomes essential in order to phase out the fossil fuels. It will require both technological and societal changes to accomplice such a transition. Science is already and will continually play a crucial role in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, as well as transforming our energy production to be renewable.

Research network on Renewable Energy

3. Sustainable Societies

Wellbeing has direct correlations to several factors influencing the everyday quality of life, such as health, human rights, economy, the environment and poor management of our scarce resources. A sustainable society focuses on the current and future well-being of its citizens and the environment. The three spheres of sustainability encompass many concepts which explain how decisions and actions can have an impact on the overall sustainability of our world. In this perspective the issues of legislation and planning are essential.

How policy, planning, implementation and practice on local, regional and global levels involve issues on sustainable development matters in making progress. Planning is crucial in handling the many interests involved in decisions and actions influencing the society today and future. Issues such as public involvement and participation, transparency, the access principle and freedom of speech are crucial in the development of sustainable societies. Failing to put emphasis on the social factors influenced by decisions or actions may result in the collapse of the spheres of sustainability, and society as well. Research is crucial for a sustainable outcome and mitigation of the many interests involved in decisions and actions influencing our society today.

Research network on Sustainable Societies

4. Sustainable Water Resources

The field of sustainable water resources management has the challenge to adapt to the current and future issues facing the allocation of water. With the growing uncertainties of global climate change and the long term impacts of management actions, the decision-making will be even more difficult. It is likely that ongoing climate change will lead to situations that have not been encountered. As a result, alternative management strategies are sought for in order to avoid setbacks in the allocation of water resources. Ideally, water resource management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands. As with other resource management, this is rarely possible in practice. One of the biggest concerns for our water-based resources in the future is the sustainability of the current and even future water resource allocation. As water becomes more scarce, the importance of how it is managed grows vastly. Finding a balance between what is needed by humans and what is needed in the environment is an important step in the sustainability of water resources.

Research network on Sustainable Water Resources

5. Urban-Rural Development

In all modern societies, for a number of reasons, people tend to increase their mobility. The functioning of a modern society puts heavy demand on the ability of individuals to be mobile. Economic, political and social factors affect both the total volume of transportation and its different modes.

The sustainable mobility aims at the reduction of adverse effects connected to mobility. This means, above all, promoting co-modality, i.e. optimally combining various modes of transport within the same transport chain, which looking forward, is the solution in the case of freight. Technical innovations and a shift towards the least polluting and most energy efficient modes of transport – especially in the case of long distance and urban travel - will also contribute to more sustainable mobility. A higher share of travel by collective transport, combined with minimum service obligations, will allow the density an frequency of service to be increased. Demand, management and land-use planning can lower traffic volumes. Facilitating walking and cycling should become an integral part of urban mobility and infrastructure design.

Research network on Urban-Rural Development

6. Sustainable Mobility

In all modern societies, for a number of reasons, people tend to increase their mobility. The functioning of a modern society puts heavy demand on the ability of individuals to be mobile. Economic, political and social factors affect both the total volume of transportation and its different modes.

The sustainable mobility aims at the reduction of adverse effects connected to mobility. This means, above all, promoting co-modality, i.e. optimally combining various modes of transport within the same transport chain, which looking forward, is the solution in the case of freight. Technical innovations and a shift towards the least polluting and most energy efficient modes of transport – especially in the case of long distance and urban travel - will also contribute to more sustainable mobility. A higher share of travel by collective transport, combined with minimum service obligations, will allow the density an frequency of service to be increased. Demand, management and land-use planning can lower traffic volumes. Facilitating walking and cycling should become an integral part of urban mobility and infrastructure design.

Research network on Sustainable Mobility

Illustration of theme sustainable mobility

7. Circular Economy

Circular economy refers to an economic system built on circular materials flows, instead of the more conventional economic systems where a product is being produced, used and trashed. In a circular economic system, materials produced are used, later to be reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled. The underlying idea with circular economy is to build an economic system which favors a circular economic flow and de-couples the resource use and emissions from the growing economy. Thus, producing systems where the economy is flourishing, without the negative environmental impacts.

Circular economy has already been adapted in a small scale and in a number of sectors through out the region. But in order to truly change the resource extraction and emission patterns on a large scale, the system needs to be up-scaled.

Research network on Circular Economy

8. Sustainable Tourism

Tourism is a dynamic global industry which has grown and changed dramatically over the past twenty years. It is one of the largest resource consuming industries in the world. The growth of travel has led to the concern shown for the environmental, economical as well as social sustainability. It is also the fastest growing and important industry in terms of the number of employees and its potential for the social, economic and environmental impacts. This theme aims at gathering researchers on sustainable tourism from a borad range of fields as well as engage the next generation of tourist research scholars around the Baltic Sea. As a multi-disciplinary endeavor, we explore specifically sustainability issues in hospitality industry such as destination development, tourist attractions, tourist accommodations etc.

Research Network on Sustainable Tourism

Information on Network for Sustainable Tourism (NST)

Illustration theme sustainable tourism

9. Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a transdisciplinary research field, studying transformative learning within formal, non-formal and informal settings. ESD works with learning processes in relation to all SDGs in Agenda 2030. ESD is about combining wicked issues such as climate change, disaster risk and overconsumption with teaching and learning frameworks. ESD looks at participatory teaching methods and high-quality learning environments, for learners to co-create their education, their world, and their future. ESD promotes sustainability competencies like critical thinking, action competence and future scenarios skills.

Research network on Education for Sustainable Development

10. Sustainable Food Systems

Key challenges of our time are to sustain the management of agricultural land and develop more resilient food systems to feed a growing world population. It is envisaged that agricultural production will be increasingly impaired due to climate change and the ongoing degradation of natural resources, and due to increasing environmental externalities. Environmental impacts concern land, soil, water, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. In the same time the food system is the leading cause of these negative effects.

Increased effort has to be given to establish clear link between producers, processing and consumers to either increase accessibility of food resources globally and not harming environment by excessive logistic and distribution of it. Present state of the knowledge allows us to develop almost waste free production chain, where each by-product could be further used or processed. Proper management of local plant and animal biodiversity is one of the essential points for establishment of such a chain and achievement of sustainable development.

Citizens lost connection to the agriculture and production of food resources. Education of people, implementation of science in everyday life and change of conventional patterns of management of resources are essential on the path towards sustainability in food systems.

Research network on Sustainable Food Systems

Illustration theme sustainable food systems