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  • June 22, 2020

Université de Montréal and Space for Life join forces in Chemins de transition

  • Space for Life
Transition Pathways

The Université de Montréal and Space for Life are joining forces to create Chemins de transition, a project designed to engage the scientific community, along with citizens and other prime movers in society, in the necessary debate on the ecological transition, with a view to collectively identifying the most promising paths toward a sustainable future for Quebec.

Supported by the Université de Montréal’s Vice-Rectorate of Research, Discovery, Creation and Innovation and the Vice-Rectorate of Student and Academic Affairs, Chemins de transition will strengthen links between research and education activities and open new horizons for reflection. "Whatever happens, Quebec society will undergo profound changes within a generation due to the environmental crisis. The question is whether this transition will occur in spite of us, or whether we can influence the outcome at least in part," says Marie-Josée Hébert, Vice-rector of Research, Discovery, Creation and Innovation. "Both the promotion and critical approach of ideal models of sustainability are no longer sufficient: there is also a need to better understand and debate the transition paths—whether they are possible, challenging or desirable—that humanity will take to ensure its survival. »

“Chemins de transition is part of the Laboratory of Possibilities, an open innovation exchange space created by Space for Life,” noted director Charles-Mathieu Brunelle. “The projects of the Laboratory of Possibilities bring together stakeholders from all walks of life to solve issues related to biodiversity, sustainable development and climate change, with the ultimate goal of imagining and building a future that is both inclusive and welcoming, and prompting people to take action.”

Transition challenges

Chemins de transition initiatives will be structured around five major challenges, the first two of which are (1) how can we ensure that an ever-increasing world population has access to a healthy diet without depleting the Earth’s resources, within a context of climate change, and (2) reconciling the digital transition with the ecological transition.

For each of the challenges, there will be a four-step process that takes place over a year and a half. Based on a forward-looking approach and facilitation methods that leverage multidisciplinary know-how, the project will involve thorough exploration of the full range of possible futures, so that a collective vision of a desirable future can be chosen to guide related initiatives. By mobilizing the incredible wealth of Quebec expertise in all its diversity, the project will provide Quebecers with guidelines that shed light on the difficult choices that have to be made and the most promising solutions to current problems. It will also constitute a means of following Quebec’s development toward its collectively chosen future, year by year.

Giving citizens a voice

Chemins de transition will also involve public participation. Meetings for reflection and dialogue will be held as part of citizen workshops, to be organized jointly by Space for Life and the Université de Montréal. Citizen participation is essential to Chemins de transition to ensure that solutions proposed by experts resonate with the general public. The details of the citizen workshops will be specified at the start of the fall season. The general public will also be asked to give its input into Chemins de transition by suggesting topics for the upcoming major challenges.

To find out more, go to www.cheminsdetransition.org.

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