Living sustainably, but also thinking and writing in a meaningful way about sustainability is a very difficult task in a time that disregards the most basic aspects of sustainability in the most disrespectful ways on a daily basis.

The good news is that all the answers to our sustainability problems are out there, somewhere, on our planet, in innovative communities or in the test labs of some anarchist scientist or in some other unexpected corner. The problem is neither that we could not live sustainably nor that we necessarily need new technology to get there. The problem is that the political will, but also the commitment from industry, communities and every single one of us, is not there to enable the necessary change, despite all the grand words from the Earth Summits in Rio or Johannesburg or Lima, despite all the business worlds’ flashy sustainable development annual reports.

This change is difficult because it runs counter to most of the deeply ingrained modern myths of the worldwide consumer class. From ‘progress’ to ‘democracy’, from ‘development’ to ‘freedom’, from ‘market’ to ‘education’ we are brainwashed into concepts which promise the world, but in fact destroy it. But it is also difficult

Photo: Meret Jucker, Gone Salmon, Snug Harbour, Prince William Sound, Alaska, 2014.

Photo: Meret Jucker, Gone Salmon, Snug Harbour, Prince William Sound, Alaska, 2014.

because most sustainability thinking and acting ignores the questions of power and wealth.

The writings on these pages and in my books and articles try to address some of these issues. I’m all aware of the fact that ultimately only our daily individual and collective actions as people, workers, consumers, citizens count. But if the writings encourage some reflection on this and in the best of cases actual change, they will have served their purpose. As Niko Paech has said: “The time for excuses is over.”