Calm Before the Storm: Assessing Climate Change and Sustainability in Saudi Arabian Universities

Book Chapter
Alghamdi, N . 2018
Publication Work Type: 
Book Chapter
Publishing City: 
Cham, Switzerland
Climate change, Sustainability, Strategic plans, Decision makers, Public universities, Saudi Arabia
Publisher Name: 
Springer International Publishing AG
Book Title: 
Handbook of Climate Change Communication
317 to 340
Publication Abstract: 

Climate change poses a great challenge to the international community. This has led to a number of global initiatives to mitigate human actions that negatively affect the climate. Among the most prominent are sustainable development initiatives. The central pillars of such initiatives are education, training, and research; these pillars are essential to raise awareness and expand the parameters of sustainable development. The purpose of this paper is to explore to what extent climate change and sustainability issues are addressed in higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia. It aims to look at how effectively public universities are communicating climate change and sustainability matters. It does so by assessing knowledge and application of climate change and sustainability aspects in universities. The study collected data by examining the strategic plans of the universities alongside conducting interviews with key decision makers in eight public universities. The findings of which show that even though Saudi universities have a common vision to create an environment that is appealing, smart, and sustainable, most public universities have not clearly stated in their strategic plans, aims and commitments to achieve sustainability and hence fail to engage with the great challenge of climate change. This is because some Saudi universities lack expertise in sustainability and the majority of decision makers in these universities have limited knowledge of recent developments in the area of sustainability.