Interview with Jürgen Renn: Can and should we further develop the concept of sustainability?
Jürgen Renn has been interviewed for Wissenschaftsplattform Nachhaltigkeit 2030 on how the Covid-19 pandemic is challenging sustainability—a direct connection between the health, climate, and biodiversity crisis is becoming increasingly clear—and on how we can and must develop sustainability as a concept.
"In view of the dramatic effects of the pandemic, there is a particular need to better research and communicate the systemic causes and relationships of global social, economic and ecological risks and resilience across disciplines," argues Renn. "Science and research will therefore have to face up to the challenge of making a contribution to solving complex human problems across disciplines. We should use the learning experiences made in the crisis."
So what new insights and competencies do we need to emerge from such a crisis stronger and more sustainable? A separation of public health and "environmental issues" such as climate protection is no longer relevant, Renn points out—and in fact the systemic coupling of ecological and sociotechnical dynamics are already increasingly the focus of research. Answers to the current challenges require a long-term perspective on the social and structural change processes that have become necessary as a result of the pandemic. This should not amount to the rapid restoration and cementing of an unsustainable status quo, but rather a transformation that should bring about system-wide changes that strengthen our resilience to such crises.
This interview was produced by wpn2030 in conjunction with their call for contributions to a paper on sustainability and Covid-19, deadline June 10, 2020.