Sustainable Lens
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Socially strategic sustainable
Categories: design, sociology, systems

Merlina Missimer


Merlina Missimer is a researcher in the department of Strategic Sustainable Development at Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden. She is exploring the social side of the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development.

Talking points

What does the world need from us to make sustainability happen?

We need to find a way out, and depression is not the most helpful thing we can teach

Rather than convincing people of what’s right, we create positive examples of what’s possible in a sustainable world.

Considering sustainability with a systems lens to make sure we don’t address one thing but create negative consequences somewhere else…this has been clearly done on an ecological basis, but for social we had gone straight to the individual…what would it look like if we took a systems perspective to the social side?

People are not subject to systematic barrier to integrity (physical wellness), influence (the individual is able to influence the system), competence (ability to learn), impartiality (being treated equally), meaning (clear purpose).

Systematic barriers are ingrained in how we designed the system

Sustainability principles create a space for people to meet their needs

Asking bigger and better questions. Does this product even exist in a sustainable society? Those are the kinds of questions we need people to ask.

We don’t necessarily have to have the answers, but the more people we have to ask questions in that way, the better we will be going in the direction of a sustainable society. If we don’t ask those questions, we’ll never get there.

It’s the giant systems that we currently have for production that are really hard to change

Aha moment…there’s a framework, an intellectual structure around of these things that are interrelated. Without that structure we’d be going crazy because there’s just too many things to think about.

(Activist?) I don’t consider myself any of the labels. I’m actively working. Would I choose academia if I thought it was imperative to take a neutral stance? No.

(Miracle?) People woken to face the fact that we have somehow managed to build systems that are not only inherently unsustainable, but don’t actually achieve what we want to achieve – and equipped with a desire to do something about it.

(Advice?) If you haven’t started asking yourself what we’re doing, then start asking.

This conversation is one of a series of four recorded at Blekinge Institute of Technology Department of Strategic Sustainable Development in September 2014.

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