Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.3390/su13168679
Licence creative commons licence
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.
Source Titel Sustainability
Year 2021
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
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 10.3390/su13168679