‘Alternative Sustainabilities’ working group

within the German Committee Future Earth (DKN) approved

The working group initiated by Sandra Gilgan and Kristina Großmann (spokespersons of the group) and seven other scientists entitled “Alternative Sustainabilities. Between local contexts and global measures” has been approved as part of the call for DKN working groups for the period of 2022-2024.

The working group starts from the recognition that the contemporary global “mega discourse” on sustainability, which includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is largely driven by “Western” and “Northern” perspectives, narratives, ideas and standards. Perspectives from the Global South are barely included, but sustainability as a global concern requires the incorporation of a broader understanding of what modern societies essentially are, how they are envisaged, and how human-nature relations are understood, practiced, reflected in philosophies and policies in societies worldwide. Scientific knowledge that may serve as the basis for policy actions and decisions must be aware of and adequately account for epistemic and ontological differences and similarities between Western and local or indigenous knowledge.

The working group focusses on the field of tension between diverging sustainability theories, concepts of normative sustainability, the SDG approach, and the applicability of different sustainability concepts and approaches at different scales. “Scales” refer to hierarchies or relations between human-made spaces and are used conceptually in various disciplines, such as political geography and anthropology. For an interdisciplinary scientific examination of the “global” sustainability discourse in interaction with local, regional and national perspectives, influences and impacts, they have a high analytical potential. Discussions of sustainability cases from different disciplines along concepts of scales will be useful for the further development of interdisciplinary scientific methods for sustainability science and engage and benefit practitioners.

DKN’s new working groups will officially start in October 2022. We are looking forward to being part of it!

Dr. Sandra Gilgan
+49 (0)228/73-60594

Prof. Dr. Kristina Großmann
+49 (0)228/73-8439