Decolonizing Sustainability Study Group


The Decolonizing Sustainability Study Group is run by a group of researchers from Utrecht University. See below the current team:

Principal Investigators

Prof. Dr Frank Biermann

Frank Biermann is a research professor of Global Sustainability Governance at Utrecht University. He is an internationally leading scholar of global institutions and organizations in the sustainability domain. Biermann pioneered the ‘earth system’ governance paradigm in 2005 and was the founder and first chair of the Earth System Governance Project, a global transdisciplinary research network of sustainability scholars. He currently directs a 2.5-million EUR research programme on the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals, supported by a European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’. He co-edits three book series, the journal Earth System Governance, and has published or edited 18 books.

Dr Carole-Anne Sénit

Carole-Anne Sénit is a researcher at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University. She is a political scientist by training, with a career spanning both research on and practice in the civil society sector. At the Copernicus Institute, she studies the steering effects of the Sustainable Development Goals on the inclusiveness of global sustainability governance. She explores the integration of the Global South in various aspects of governance, including global change science, global civil society, and global institutions. In September 2020, she joined the CHARM-EU alliance to develop, and teach within, a new Master programme on Global Sustainability Challenges.

Research Team

Carol Bardi

Carol is a Brazilian ecofeminist economist and a researcher on various subjects with one goal: building a socioeconomic system based on happiness for all beings. She is particularly interested in anti-colonialism, anarchism, commonality, sport as a tool for community building and feminism. She is currently doing her master’s in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University in the Netherlands with a Utrecht Excellence Scholarship. Besides her academic work, Carol volunteers in the editorial board of; is a freelance contributing writer, reviewer and translator for the Brazilian critical sustainability portal Modefica, also volunteering in its fiscal board. When not working, she can be found reading in a park, playing football or practising Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Gianmarco Diprima

Gianmarco is an MSc student in Earth System Governance at Utrecht University. He combines the political-philosophical and economic acumen acquired in his previous studies at the University of London to develop adaptive socio-ecological solutions to cope with anthropogenic challenges. His interest is particularly focused on deliberative democracy and inclusiveness, equality and legitimacy, and transition management. When he’s not working on his research, you can find him running or cycling around Utrecht.

Milena Niesen

Milena‘s research focuses on the field of environmental discourses and environmental justice. Her Bachelor’s thesis focused on politically right-wing climate change denial in France and Germany and she is currently researching Global South discourses in the context of biodiversity expert organizations. She completed her Bachelor in Social Sciences and English Studies in Bonn, Germany and St Andrews, United Kingdom and is currently doing an MSc in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University.

Guanta-namera Nous

Namera is doing a Master’s in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. Her interest in the decolonization of science, particularly sustainability science, was sparked during her interdisciplinary bachelor with a major in International Development Studies. She is interested in intersectional ecofeminism, environmental justice, and the connection between activism and academia.

Louise Wijma

Louise’s research is currently focused on the representation of scholars from the Global South in top journals on sustainability. During her Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies at Utrecht University, she found her interest in legitimacy/underrepresented perspectives and (transdisciplinary) knowledge production in policymaking. With this in mind, she wrote her Bachelor’s thesis on knowledge conflicts concerning the Dutch nitrogen crisis. Now she is doing a Master’s in Sustainable Development which is also at Utrecht University. During its first courses, her interests shifted towards the global scale of legitimacy and knowledge production in sustainable development. She also did a board year at study association STORM.

Jannah Wijermars

Jannah is researching the representation of the Global South in the World Economic Forum Davos annual meetings. Her interest in decolonizing sustainability originates from her bachelor thesis about local perspectives on climate change adaptation options for Pacific island state Tuvalu. After completing a bachelor in Global Sustainability Science, she is currently doing an MSc in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University. She is furthermore interested in research about global change science, governance for sustainability, and questions of justice and equity surrounding climate change adaptation. In her free time, she works for a vegan minimum-waste social project and plays trombone and basketball at student associations.

Sandrine Birkeland

Sandrine’s research focuses on the role of colonialism in geoengineering solutions to the climate crisis. She is interested in anti-colonial alternatives to capitalism, environmental justice, and the role of activism and civil society in sustainability transitions. She is currently doing a Master’s in Sustainable Development at Utrecht University after completing her Bachelor in Philosophy at King’s College in London.