Publications


Torgeir Ericson, Bjørn Gunaketu Kjønstad and Anders Barstad (2014) Mindfulness and sustainability. Ecological Economics 104 (2014) 73–79.

 

Abstract: Ecosystems are under pressure due to high levels of material consumption. Subjective well-being sought through other means than material rewards could make an important contribution to sustainability. A wealth of research indicates that mindfulness contributes to subjective well-being by focusing the mind on the here and now, giving rise to stronger empathy and compassion, facilitating clarification of goals and values, and enabling people to avoid the “hedonic treadmill”. There is also a body of research that shows how subjective well-being, empathy, compassion, and non-materialistic/intrinsic values are associated with more sustainable behavior. Based on a review of the literature on these topics, we suggest that promoting mindfulness practice in schools, workplaces and elsewhere could be construed as a policy that pays a “double dividend” in that it could contribute both to more sustainable ways of life and to greater well-being.


Hendrik Stark and Christoph Pfisterer (Eds.) (2018) Nature awareness and identity: The role of self-concepts and social identities and their potential for nature conservation and environmental protection. BfN-Skripten 508, Bonn - Bad Godesberg, 119 pages. In German.

 

Abstract: According to the Nature Awareness Study (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation 2015), a relatively large proportion of the people in Germany is not aware of the mutual dependency of their lives with the natural environment. Even if people are aware of this dependency, they still often struggle to align their intention, knowledge and environmentally-relevant behavior. External intervention measures attempt to foster environmentally friendly behaviour, but are limited in scope. Hence, the question is why people do not have a natural benevolent and caring attitude towards their environment and nature, and why there is a gap between their intention and actual behaviour. In the search for answers to this question, the topic of the human "identification" with or "separation" from nature will be at the centre of this conference. Scientific talks will introduce the status quo of nature awareness and the socially defined self-understanding in Germany. Thereafter, developmental pathways to identities will be highlighted, which consider nature, the environment and fellow human beings more intensively and thus may contribute to overcoming the gap between intention-behaviour at individual and collective level. In order to provide new impulse for such inner transformation as a means to overcome the often observed intention behaviour gap, two workshops on Buddhist psychology and practice as well as on wilderness pedagogy address the human-nature relationship. In particular, they will introduce individual and active approaches to identity and interdependence with nature and the environment.