The relationship between nature and society is complex. Varying levels of economic development, societal organisation, lifestyles and activities influence climate, ecological values, human wellbeing and, more generally, sustainability. At Södertörn University, we have therefore chosen to integrate perspectives and theories from the natural and social sciences in our Environmental Science research.
Researchers and doctoral students engage in research with the aim of understanding and governing the complex interactions between society and the environment, using concepts and methods from the natural and social sciences. Among other topics, our research includes the governance of terrestrial and marine environments and resources in the Baltic Sea region, the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America, and how knowledge of paleoenvironments can contribute to current understandings of ongoing environmental change.
Our work emphasises the understanding of interactions between contemporary societal development patterns and their relationship to sustainability problems. We work with partners outside academia to forge sustainable pathways, as well as taking an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to engaging with sustainability; this considers how multiple dimensions of sustainability interact, including cultural, economic, environmental, political, and societal aspects.
Our research focuses on the Baltic Sea region, as well as regions in the Global South, and is conducted within two research themes:
The Environment theme consists of a multitude of overlapping and interrelated research areas, which include topics such as climate and environmental change, ecological processes and human impacts. There is a major focus on how geological, biological and ecological patterns and processes relate to climate and environmental changes, as well as ecosystem functioning, operating across a range of spatial and temporal scales.
Sustainability challenges and pathways
Research in the theme examines how sustainability is described and understood in and across different contexts, and how it can be promoted at various levels from the local to the global. It has three focus areas:
- Governance and management
- Development, justice and power
- Transdisciplinarity and transformation
Research in Environmental Science is currently conducted by around 33 researchers and 11 doctoral students. More information about doctoral education in Environmental Science can be found at Environmental Studies External link..