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“Seeds of a good Anthropocene”: Study on sustainable initiatives honoured with an award

2019-04-23 “Positive role models encourage and motivate” says Berta Martín-López. It's time for the professor of Sustainability Science to rethink.

Dystopias have been invoked enough – even in science, says Berta Martín-López. “With our publication, we wanted to show that many people are turning the world on its head with their initiative for betterment. This could also motivate others to commit themselves more to sustainability. That is why the scientists speak of “seeds of a good Anthropocene”. The study examined around 100 initiatives around the world: What are their goals? What has changed as a result of people’s work? The outcome was encouraging and shows how people shape their future. Now, the scientific paper has received the 2019 Innovations in Sustainability Science Award from the renowned Ecological Society of America. This is an outstanding contribution to sustainability which is awarded annually. 

An inter- and transdisciplinary team of authors from Africa, America, Europe and Asia conducted an online study where sustainability initiatives described how they are working towards more sustainable, just and equitable future. Sustainability initiatives were required to present themselves and their work, whether environmental, social, political or educational. Initiatives from all over the world participated. An important signal for Berta Martín-López: “We must not just look at the problems through our Western-tainted glasses. A solution can only be found jointly with the Global South” explains the scientist. 

She intends to use a similar approach in the near future to draw attention to initiatives developed by indigenous peoples. For example, some associations of indigenous communities are committed to sustainable agriculture or linguistic justice: “There are already many approaches to solving sustainable problems in the Global South. Only, we don’t ask the right questions to the right people”.
The interdisciplinary researcher Berta Martín-López combines environmental science issues with social science approaches. Born in Spain, Martín-López has researched and taught at universities in Madrid, Oxford and Copenhagen.

Author: Marietta Hülsmann