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Inside-out sustainability: the neglect of inner worlds

Ives, Christopher D.; Freeth, Rebecca; Fischer, Joern

Authors

CHRIS IVES CHRIS.IVES@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Assistant Professor

Rebecca Freeth

Joern Fischer



Abstract

In the context of continuing ecosystem degradation and deepening socio-economic inequality, sustainability scientists must question the adequacy of current scholarship and practice. We argue that pre-occupation with external phenomena and collective social structures has led to the neglect of people’s ‘inner worlds’—their emotions, thoughts, identities and beliefs. These lie at the heart of actions for sustainability, and have powerful transformative capacity for system change. The condition of people’s inner worlds ought to also be considered a dimension of sustainability itself. Compassion, empathy and generosity, for example, are personal characteristics that mark individual expressions of sustainability. Sustainability science must take inner life more seriously by considering how language shapes and is shaped by paradigms about the world, prioritising enquiry into how spirituality, contemplation and sustainability transformation relate, and encouraging scholars and practitioners to intentionally cultivate their inner worlds to strengthen inner resources necessary for addressing sustainability challenges.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 24, 2019
Journal Ambio
Print ISSN 0044-7447
Electronic ISSN 1654-7209
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-10
APA6 Citation Ives, C. D., Freeth, R., & Fischer, J. (2019). Inside-out sustainability: the neglect of inner worlds. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01187-w
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-019-01187-w
Keywords Ecology; Geography, Planning and Development; Environmental Chemistry; General Medicine
Publisher URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13280-019-01187-w
Additional Information Received: 6 July 2018; Revised: 1 February 2019; Accepted: 9 April 2019; First Online: 24 April 2019

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