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Sustainability and Sustainable Development

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If the survival of humanity on our planet is to be secured in the long term in an acceptable state, radical social changes are required, whereby it must be critically examined whether the radicalness and speed of these changes can even prevent a systemic collapse. These changes must be brought about both through political restrictions to comply with the planetary guide rails—the tolerable limits to the carrying capacity of our planet—and through individual changes in behaviour, and also affect the properties of products and services.

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  1. 1.

    These crash barriers include the integrity of the biosphere, ocean acidification, ozone loss in the stratosphere, and new substances and modified life forms (see also Fig. 5.8).

  2. 2. Access: 01.02.2020.

  3. 3., access 7.12.18.

  4. 4., access 9.12.18.

  5. 5.

    Essentially through the use of renewable energies, decarbonization of economic and private activities, capture of CO2 at the gas source (Carbon Capture and Storage—CCS, Carbon Capture and Usage—CCU) and, in addition, artificial recovery of CO2 from the earth’s atmosphere (air capture process).

  6. 6.

    See also GEOMAR—Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel: SUGAR Submarine Gas Hydrate Reservoirs. Access 10.12.18.

  7. 7.

    According to [GEAS-2014], almost 30 billion tons of building sand were used for the production of concrete in 2012. The material would be sufficient to build a wall around the equator 27 m high and 27 m wide.

  8. 8.

    For a more in-depth look at this problem, we recommend Rachel Carson’s book “Der mumme Frühling” (The Silent Spring) from 1962 (!).

  9. 9.

    For a more in-depth look at the problem, we recommend the book “Wälder, die wir töten” by Emanuelle Grundman 2007 [Grun-2007].

  10. 10.

    Certainly the interrelationships were and are much more complex than those presented here.

  11. 11.

    The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union NABU was founded on 1 February 1899 under the name “Bund für Vogelschutz (BfV)”.

  12. 12.

    See Maslow’s pyramid of needs [Masl-1977] (see also Sect. 4.1), which ranks basic human needs in a hierarchy of level 1: physiological needs, security needs, social needs, appreciation and self-realization.

  13. 13.

    Inscription of a temple in Delphi, about 500 years before Christ.

  14. 14.

    Petra Pinzler also recommended “More and more is not enough! From growth mania to gross national happiness” 2011.

  15. 15.

    Plants and animals do not “work” eco-efficiently. In ecosystems, there is rather “overproduction” to ensure the existence of the species (turtles, sturgeon, etc.). However, they do not cause any environmental damage, but the surplus amount they produce is part of the biological material cycle (food for other individuals) according to [Sten-2011].

  16. 16.

    Hopkins cites the world record attempt at “Domino Day” as an illustrative example. A single domino that accidentally falls over prematurely would destroy the work of many months. Therefore, gaps are inserted at regular intervals. If one stone falls now, not the whole system is affected [Hopk-2014].

  17. 17.

    Prosumer, in English prosumers, modern term for self-catering, but also extended when consumers contribute to product design with their knowledge or, for example, operate solar systems.

  18. 18.

    Mont Pelerin Society—influential group of economists in governmental and scientific circles with the aim of spreading radical market thinking as an ideology See also Randers, Maxton: One percent is enough [RaMa-2016].

  19. 19.

    German Advisory Council on Global Change.

  20. 20.

    A phenomenon known as “cognitive dissonance”: people act against their own knowledge and convictions.

  21. 21.

    The so-called “Habenwollen”, see also the book by Wolfgang Ullrich: “Habenwollen: How does consumer culture work?” [Ullr-2008].

  22. 22.

    The origins of bio- or vegetable coal can be found among the indigenous people of the Amazon region hundreds or thousands of years ago. The coal is produced by heating organic materials and mixed into fertile soil—terra preta.

  23. 23.

    Among the DAX-30 companies, Allianz and Deutsche Bank have announced that they will make their business activities climate-neutral [Rade-2018].


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Haase, H. (2020). Sustainability and Sustainable Development. In: Vajna, S. (eds) Integrated Design Engineering. Springer, Cham.

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