Motivation to join the SENSE programme

I am passionate about sustainability. I aim to live sufficiently and enjoy the personal qualities that come along with a lifestyle of reduced consumption. Despite the increasing relevancy and debates around green growth and socially fair conditions in society, the majority of the people are hampered or struggle with adopting more sustainable practices in their day to day life. Thereby the key question for me is: How can we better understand the complex dynamics that play out on individual behaviour in the context of a sustainable transition path?

Throughout the first year of my studies, courses such as on Energy and Material Efficiency or Environmental and Material Policy contributed to a better understanding of the technical and institutional side of sustainable development. Aside the classroom, the practical involvement in a number of voluntary initiatives allowed me to explore my interest in grassroots initiatives and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles. They showed me that there is a large transformative potential within people and small communities. Those have achieved a more balanced state within a certain domain, and allow us to learn from their living labs. They are admirable front-runners in that they are willing to fundamentally change their behaviour despite the currently still prevailing systemic incompatibilities, lock-ins and discomforts.

Throughout the last weeks I have been attending conferences on sustainability transitions, degrowth and energy efficiency. I came to the conclusion that in all these research fields, a more comprehensive understanding of particularly sufficiency behaviour on an individual level is crucial, and that a better conceptualisation could be a useful addition to the existing theoretical frameworks. Therefore I want to devote my Master thesis to this research area, prospectively in the scope of a wider research project.

I am excited about the great challenges lying ahead of us that ask for my and everyone else’s contribution, to bridge practical experiences with scientific research. And I am very enthusiastic to work together with other passionate researchers in programmes such as offered by SENSE, on further exploring the dynamical trias of individuals, behaviour and sustainability.

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