The important role of strong sustainability and the potential of the circular economy in generating a socially and ecologically just future


  • Lina Lefstad Universitat de Barcelona & Universitat Pompeu Fabra


The human-nature relationship is in a state of deep imbalance, where no country in the world currently meets the needs of its citizens at a scale that remains within planetary boundaries. Covid-19 revealed cracks in the way our societies are run and the vast vulnerabilities that exist, with economic inequality at an historic high as 0.5% of the population own the same as the bottom 90% according to a recent Oxfam study. Here, the difference between strong and weak sustainability is explained and used to argue in favor of critically examining our social provisioning systems and to develop technologies that lower the environmental impact and simultaneously increase the social gain. The circular economy is briefly introduced and put forward as a way of thinking that can drive future-proof innovation with potential for multi-solving both social and ecological problems. To conclude, technology is recognized as a paradigm defined through the current economic thinking. Going forward it is important to take power over this thinking and ask ourselves how we may use technology to provide a good life for all within planetary boundaries rather than to produce profits for the few.