THANCS – a process to address tensions that emerge in/with a transition towards sustainable development

Omann I. & Rauschmayer F. (2011)

Paper presented at the 9th Biennial Conference of the European Society for Ecological
Economics (ESEE): “Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis”

‘I want to bring my children safely to school. It is raining outside, we are late. They could go there by public transport. There is the car, today I have got time, because I am not working. What shall I – as a person who wants to live a sustainable lifestyle and be a role model for my kids – do?’

The case just described shows a typical situation in our Western societies faced by people, who see sustainable development as an important value. This paper describes three possible classes of such tensions, intra-individual, intra-societal, and intergenerational ones, theoretically and with examples. The reasons behind action (beliefs, values, needs) are usually not seen; only the behaviour is obvious. We therefore suggest dealing with these tensions by looking exactly to these hidden issues.

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