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Arto Salonen

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Arto Salonen is Professor of Social Pedagogy, especially sustainable well-being, at the University of Eastern Finland, Department of Social Sciences and a member of the Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development which brings science closer to society. His research focuses on social change in order to have a flourishing life.

Presentation summary:

The dualistic modern worldview emphasizes separation of the individual, society and the planet. The planetary orientation is needed because human life is a part of the socio-ecological web of life. There can be no society without thriving ecosystems of nature. Without society there can be no societal functions, including an economy.


Intertwined problems of the 21st century require citizens and societies to reimagine the future. Planetary Social Pedagogy represents a holistic approach to human growth by integrating social and ecological concerns. Social concerns focus on human rights - justice and equity. Ecological concerns are associated with planetary boundaries, vital ecosystem services and the web of life.

A pervasive element of Planetary Social Pedagogy is transformative learning. Through reflection, shared meanings and collective actions for a sustainable future, Planetary Social Pedagogy is creating hope in dystopia. It is based on the fact that human life is a part of the complex socio-ecological web of life which requires human beings to expand their circle of morality into a more-than-human world.

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