Ideas for Sustainability

By Joern Fischer

I’d like to reflect on some thoughts articulated in an essay that I recently came across. The essay is by Jorge Guerra González, Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University Lueneburg. It’s in German, but Jorge translated its title as: Sustainability is out of reach: Wrong paths, wrong beliefs—and yet… light at the end of the tunnel? (available for download here).

I’ll try to summarise some of the key points here. Because some of the arguments are nuanced, I will probably get parts wrong … but here is what I understood the key points to be. In a nutshell, this essay tries to analyse why sustainability efforts appear to be failing. One key argument is that people are ultimately driven by their emotions; and that they lack incentives to act sustainably because the emotional benefits of doing so are not obvious. The essay suggests that outside interventions…

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