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Title (Primary) Environmental sustainability post-COVID-19: Scrutinizing popular hypotheses from a social science perspective
Author Lehmann, P.; Beck, S.; de Brito, M.M.; Gawel, E.; Groß, M.; Haase, A.; Lepenies, R.; Otto, D.; Schiller, J.; Strunz, S.; Thrän, D.
Journal Sustainability
Year 2021
Department OEKON; SUSOZ; UPOL; BIOENERGIE
Volume 13
Issue 16
Page From art. 8679
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords COVID-19; environment; pandemic; resilience; social science; societal change; transition; window of opportunity
Abstract There is an increasingly vocal debate on potential long-term changes in environmental sustainability spurred by the global COVID-19 pandemic. This article scrutinizes the social science basis of selected popular hypotheses regarding the nexus between the COVID-19 pandemic and the societal transitions towards environmental sustainability. It presents results that were derived through an interdisciplinary dialogue among social scientists. First, it is confirmed that the COVID-19 crisis has likely created a potential window of opportunity for societal change. Yet, to ensure that societal change is enduring and actually supporting the transition towards environmental sustainability, a clear and well-targeted political framework guiding private investments and behavior is required. Second, it is emphasized that there are important structural differences between the COVID-19 crisis and environmental crises, like time scales. Consequently, many strategies used to address the COVID-19 crisis are hardly suitable for long-term transitions towards environmental sustainability. Third, it is argued that transitions towards environmental sustainability—building both on reducing environmental degradation and building socio-techno-ecological resilience—may create co-benefits in terms of preventing and coping with potential future pandemics. However, research still needs to explore how big these synergies are (and whether trade-offs are also possible), and what type of governance framework they require to materialize.
Persistent UFZ Identifier https://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=24940
Lehmann, P., Beck, S., de Brito, M.M., Gawel, E., Groß, M., Haase, A., Lepenies, R., Otto, D., Schiller, J., Strunz, S., Thrän, D. (2021):
Environmental sustainability post-COVID-19: Scrutinizing popular hypotheses from a social science perspective
Sustainability 13 (16), art. 8679