On these pages you can find my publications and talks on sustainability, degrowth, ecological economics, corporate responsibility, systems theory and organizational change within the next society. I also started a science blog in which I will post ideas, thoughts and notes from the field of sustainability science, research and education. Particularly I am interested in research collaborations and new ideas for sustainability research and practice. Enjoy and feel free to contact me!
The energy system we built over the last 100 years or so is in for a big change. In fact, the change looks close to a complete restart of the way we produce and distribute electricity for our everyday purposes. The obvious role model and primary example is Germany’s Energiewende, the transition of the entire German energy system away from coal and nuclear towards renewables. The nature of the Energiewende until now is that of a bottom-up, decentralized change strengthened by the German Renewable Energy Act set up in 2000. However, it all can be traced to a little town in the Black Forrest called Schönau and its “electricity rebels”, with Ursula and Michael Sladek developing the idea of “Rebel Electricity” under the impression of the nuclear fall-out in Chernobyl. In 1994 the Elektrizitätswerke Schönau went on-line and became the country’s first renewable energy provider with its own communal grid […]
Three recent news articles spanned an image of how transformation to a post-growth society might look and feel like on the communal level. The first was from the Worldbank (yes, the Worldbank…), focusing on sustainable transportation as a means to battle climate change. Secondly, an article on the increasing restrictions to car use in developing economies. There, national and communal governments engage on what is called “vehicle demand management”, partly for decreasing air pollution in heavily urbanized areas but also for reducing congestions. Finally, those radicals from the Harvard Business Review embraced the beauty of ridesharing in US cities. The majority of people living today are doing this in cities – and this number will continue to rise up to 70% of the World’s population until 2050. In order to provide a liveable urban environment, with clean air as well as easy and safe transportation, cities around the globe will […]
In the early 1970s Ehrlich and Holdren devised a simple equation in dialogue with Commoner identifying three factors that created environmental impact. Thus, impact (I) was expressed as the product of (1) population, (P); (2) affluence (A); and (3) technology, (T): I = P * A * T Population is the number of people on the planet, affluence is measured in GDP per capita, and technology is environmental impact per GDP. When looking at the growth rates of each I, P, A, and T the formula changes towards this form: dI = dP + dA + dT In order to see how the impact changes from one year to the next one, you just have to sum up the changes in population increase, affluence, and technological progress. Technological progress can best be understood here as a change in intensity. So if the environmental impact of choice is CO2 emissions, the […]
“The matter has a name: business ethics. And a secret, that is its rules. But my guess is that this matter belongs to the variety of phenomena like the raison d’etat or English cuisine that appear in the form of a mystery, because they have to keep secret that they do not exist.”* When you look into the real world you can hardly find any substantial objection to Niklas Luhmann’s verdict. Quite on the contrary there is tantamount evidence that business behaves without any reference to ethics, not even to the ethics of rogues. This might be due to the “psychopathic” behavior mode of modern corporations or because the very notion of business ethics misses the point in doing business, which has its ethics already decided: to increase profits. However when you follow Peter F. Drucker in his argument that business management has become such a dominant leadership group in […]