Integrating Nature-Based Solutions in Social Economy Education for Enhancing Environmental Sustainability

Dorota Murzyn, Marta Czyzewska, Iwona Lupa-Wojcik, Wojciech Maciejewski, Ana Aleksić Fredotovic, Antea Barisic, Antonija Buljan, Ivana Nacinovic Braje, Zoran Wittine, Dimitra Manou, Jason Papathanasiou, Susana Migueis, Marilena Vlachou, Danuta Kandefer
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXVIΙ, Issue 1, 96-113, 2024
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/3351


Purpose: This study aims to provide internationally comparative insights into the ways in which higher education institutions (HEIs) in selected EU countries, particularly their social economy (SE) departments, effectively integrate active environmental learning using NBS (nature-based solutions) into their settings. Design/methodology/approach: Desk research was used to identify the best practices among HEIs in selected countries (Poland, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal), while case studies were developed on the basis of best practices analysis and interviews with relevant stakeholders. Findings: The social economy's focus on social and environmental issues creates a favourable context for citizens to develop essential green skills. However, it can be noted that the use of NBS approach is not widespread. The need for an interdisciplinary approach was identified in most case studies, as was the need for more collaboration. Future approaches should focus more on creating paths of communication between educators from different disciplines. Practical implications: The particular value of this study is in its potential to aid HEIs educators and education researchers to understand the use and educational value of NBS as a more effective alternative to traditional environmental education. Insights gained from this study are valuable in demonstrating the potential of SE departments to champion NBS initiatives, extending beyond the traditional confines of natural sciences and showing benefits of interdisciplinarity in addressing climate change. Originality/value: This study is especially valuable given the increasing interest and recognised potential of NBS, a novel concept with varied levels of implementation in HEIs across countries.

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