Special Feature edited on the “How” of transformation

Act now! But act how? 

Over the last two years I led the Edition of a Special Feature of the journal Sustainability Science on “The ‘How’ of Transformation – Integrated Approaches to Sustainability“! This Special Feature was first envisioned at an international symposium organized by the AdaptationConnects University of Oslo research project in 2019. In it, the editors and the authors provide diverse and integrative perspectives on how to move beyond “blah blah blah” and work deliberately to generate transformation. 

Check out this Special Feature

The editorial of this Special Feature entitled “Beyond the blah blah blah: exploring the how of transformation” (Bentz et al. 2022) gives an overview on the 15 articles of this Special Feature and argues for integrative approaches to sustainability transformations that integrate both the means and the manner of transformation.

Find out more and read the Editorial


ART FOR ADAPTATION is a six-year postdoc project, financed by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (SFRH/BPD/115656/2016)

During this period it will develop innovative research on the relationship between art and climate change adaptation and transformation, based on the assumption that successful adaptation occurs through processes of transformation. In other words, successful adaptation involves more than strategies and interventions to tolerate warmer temperatures, adjust to drier or wetter conditions, or manage changes in disaster risk – it is also likely to involve the transformation of larger structures and systems (e.g., energy, financial, and social-technical systems), and possibly transformations in beliefs, values and worldviews such as perceptions of human-environment relationships, understandings of causality and attitudes towards individual and collective agency to affect change.

About me

My name is Julia Bentz, I am a postdoc at the Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences at the University Nova of Lisbon. My background in interdisciplinary social sciences (MPhil. Development Studies, Univ. Vienna; PhD Economics, Univ. Azores, Portugal, 2015), and my personal interests have directed my research towards the interactions between social and ecological systems in a variety of research fields, including marine spatial planning, marine wildlife tourism, protected areas, sustainable mobility, climate change adaptation and transformation. With project ART FOR ADAPTATION, I am focusing on the question of how can art and creative practices contribute to broader, deeper and more inclusive perspectives on adaptation to climate change.

My advisors are:

Karen O’Brien 

Carlos Pereira da Silva

Tiago Capela-Lourenço 

Young people’s call for action – video

Being part of the Organising Committee of the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2019, which took place 28-30 May in Lisbon, one of my tasks was to involve youth in the conference. I produced a video with young people and with my sister Johanna Bentz.

The idea was to meaningfully and creatively engage young people and give them a voice to express themselves about climate change and possible responses. The video was co-produced with and about young people and their views on climate change. Students of Antonio Arroio Art High School and St. Julian’s School, Lisbon were interviewed about their perceptions of climate change responses. The film project aims to raise awareness and climate change​ engagement. The video was displayed for the first time in the Closing Plenary of ECCA and is currently being distributed in social media.

Worldwide, there are few young people participating in public decisions around climate change. These same young people are disproportionately affected by disasters and climate change hazards: they have limited voices in the decisions and policies related to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and community resilience despite calls for their empowerment as important stakeholders in these issues. In addition, young people will grow to fill leadership roles in decision-making organisations, while inheriting the consequences of climate change, policies and actions that are co-constructed today. Actively engaging and empowering children and young people to address the complex problems of climate change is a critical step to achieving resilience at local, regional, and national levels.