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Research

Research

Research

Summary

Founded in 2015, the Spirituality and Sustainability Initiative (SSI) integrates perspectives on sustainability and innovation with an awareness of the sources, dynamics, significance, and meaning of values and ethical convictions for driving aspiration and action, and as factors in personal and collective resilience. In other words, the kinds of questions and commitments associated with spirituality not only fit with but are intrinsic to a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainability. SSI is a secular, non-sectarian effort, defining spirituality broadly to include humanistic values and informal modes of spirituality as well as established religious traditions.

Why SSI? Sustainability challenges and innovations (in science, technology, culture, policy or business) are often nuanced, interconnected and carry the potential to disrupt worldviews and even generate cosmic concerns and questions about human experience and larger meanings. SSI embraces nuanced interconnections that may conventionally be viewed as in tension, such as facts and values, personal and collective, science and religion, ideals and action. SSI focuses on the wholeness of challenges, accepting the mix of rational and other factors that influence how people understand the world and make critical choices about how to act in it.

SSI holds to three pillars of scholarship and engagement:

  1. Build Inclusive Dialogue: SSI invites spiritual leaders, scientists, scholars, policymakers and members of the public to discuss issues of common concern. This approach acknowledges many kinds of knowledge, opening up productive and reciprocal dialogues that advance learning and create an environment of mutual exploration and respect
  2. Foster Social Sustainability and Resilience: Social sustainability relies on creative adaptation and making good decisions under almost any conditions. Spirituality plays a part in protecting and enhancing resilience and sustainability through numerous modalities. These may include mindfulness practices, participation in communities of faith, social action, service, art, and immersion in nature. SSI explores these by supporting public events, activities, and research.
  3. Link Knowledge-Sharing and Values-Based Action: Whether formal religious affiliations or informal communities of practice, networks based on spirituality generate social cohesion based on values, conviction, and traditions for motivating corresponding action. Knowledge networks also generate strong cohesion and connection. People tend to be parts of multiple social networks. This sort of synergy among networks can strengthen sustainability and resilience, and the intersection of knowledge networks and spiritual networks can catalyze values into action.
    • The Sustainability Education and Energy Knowledge-sharing (SEEK) Project is a platform that catalyzes action-enabling and knowledge-sharing through values-based social networks such as congregations, municipalities and non-profits. Growing out of requests from faith communities for technical assistance on energy projects, SEEK has become a unique model for leveraging local and national resources with tailored educational tools to empower effective sustainable energy transitions along with social cohesion. Founding project partners include ASU LightWorks, the ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Fulton School of Engineering, Interfaith Power and Light, GreenFaith, the Environmental Protection Agency, and SunValley Solar.

 

SDG Goals: Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Peace Justice and Strong Institutions, Partnerships for the Goals

Personnel

Funding

Multiple sources

Timeline

July 2015 — Ongoing