Supporting Grassroots-Led Initiatives in the Spanish Energy Field Through Transformative Education for Sustainable Development

Victoria Pellicer Sifres; Pau Lillo Rodrigo; Alejandra Boni Aristizábal
This chapter aims to contribute to the reflection on the optimal way to encourage stakeholder engagement for Education for Sustainable Development
(ESD) in Higher Institutions (HI). Firstly, we reflect on the role that higher education should play in the global transformation towards sustainable futures.
Our goal is to contribute to a more critical framework for conceptualizing ESD—the “Transformative ESD”—which promotes deeper transformative processes to achieve sustainability within HI in comparison to more conservative approaches, and requires the inclusion and coordination of different stakeholders. Secondly, we propose several characteristics to develop a Transformative ESD processes at universities, integrating research, teaching and stakeholder’s engagement. Thirdly, we present and analyse an experience at the Universitat Politècnica de València on the sustainable energy field, which was developed by the authors as researchers and teachers, through the engagement of three social organizations, during 2014 and 2015. This experience includes a broad range of activities: research, teaching, awareness raising and policy advocacy. The activities promote Transformative ESD in different terms: supporting sustainable grassroots-led initiatives; questioning the current energy system (ES) and analysing its dramatic consequences (i.e. high levels of fuel poverty); proposing a new one more sustainable and fairer; and promoting energy savings and efficiency, renewable energies, energy sovereignty and democratisation. The main findings of our research show us that encourage stakeholder engagement in a Transformative
ESD process at universities implies considering a multi-stakeholder and an interdisciplinary team. Moreover, the process should be implemented from a
participatory approach, based on the establishment of meaningful relationships between HI and citizenry, and should promote social transformation towards sustainable futures.
2016