We don’t need to surrender anything that would drastically alter our way of life, but we need to think of our grandchildren.
Question: How can wernincentivize people to move toward a sustainable lifestyle?rnrn
Ernst Weizsäcker: I think a very important part of answering this question is, thinkrnlong-term. Think of your children,rnthink of your grandchildren. And don’t be content with just the quarterlyrnreports, the returns on investment in very short periods of time. This is not sustainable. I mean, if I were a forest owner andrnwanted to maximize my next quarterly report, I would cut all the forest and therntrees would be gone, and the next quarter would be a disaster. And so would be the next 50 years. So, the philosophy, the doctrine of thernquarterly reports can be very damaging.rnrn
And returning to thernquestion of what makes people move. rnIt’s not only the profit thinking, it also a mentality of thinking wernwant to have an elegant kind of life, not a wasteful, squandering kind ofrnlife. It’s also into thernaesthetics, what do we find beautiful. rnSo, I believe it is a mixture of responsibility, good rules, andrncultural understanding into a sustainable society.
Question: What willrnpeople need to give up?rnrn
Ernst Weizsäcker: There is indeed quite a difference between just ownership and use ofrnthe goods I own, and services. Forrninstances, my family is part of a car-sharing arrangement. Whenever we need a car, we get it atrnthe relatively low price and we don’t have the permanent costs for therncar. But we always have access torncar-like mobility. But if... forrninstance, my daughter’s family, they own any car and they use cars only whenrnthey really need it. And otherwise use bicycles and walking and, I don’t knowrnwhat. Telephones. But then we are living in a privilegedrnsmall town of 25,000 inhabitants in Germany, so there it’s easier. But even in New York with publicrntransport, you can do a lot of things without a car, but with the possibilityrnof having access to a car. That, Irnbelieve is one example.rnrn
The same holds in a sense for bigrncopying machines, which typically are leased, not bought. That’s fine. And I can imagine this principle going further. For instance, I could imagine thatrnaluminum will not be sold any longer in the future, but leased and returnedrnafter use. So, for instance, thernairplane manufacturers could rent the aluminum they need and when the lifetimernof the airplane is over, it will be returned. And then, of course, they all have a strong interest inrndoing the optimal mix alloys of the metal so that the reuse is without anyrnproblem. So, access to aluminum isrna very good thing, but this does not automatically mean ownership. Why do I need to own aluminum?rnrnrnrnrn
Recorded on April 9, 2010rnrnrnrnrn