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!
An Essay on Organization and Management in the Sustainability Society* From crisis to meta-crisis At the Convocation of the United Negro** College Fund in 1959, John F. Kennedy referred to the Chinese word for “crisis” being made up of two symbols, one denoting “danger” (wēi), and the other denoting “opportunity” (jī). Today, many decision makers in politics and the economy use this phrase addressing the slowly retreating economic and financial crisis. From a linguistic viewpoint, this translation is without any substance and clearly not more than a handy rhetorical device in challenging times. The times are challenging indeed, and a closer look at the meaning of jī in wēijī might give a much clearer description of these times: crucial point. In this essay it will be argued that we witness such a crucial point which is unprecedented in human history, probably only comparable to the dramatic changes from a […]
In the discussions on the future of economic growth, business as usual is not an option. That alone can be regarded as good news. When the modern narrative of growth is evoked in policy debates, it is always green growth that is summoned. Green growth is sought to be resource-efficient, low-carbon and socially inclusive. Green growth is the key strategy to battle climate change, bring eco-friendly development to emerging countries, renew economic structures in industrialized nations and produce robust jobs for a changing world. And it will also probably save the whales. If green growth is such a wonderful thing, in line with everything everyone could possible want – economically, ecologically, socially – why isn’t it happening everywhere big time? Of course it is argued that it already happens in some places whereas others will have to catch up. In Germany for example there are signs of green growth when […]
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 […]