John Ehrenfeld: Flourishing, not sustainability, is the right vision for the future | Schedule | ISC 2021 SUMMER SCHOOL COGNITION & CLIMATE

John Ehrenfeld: Flourishing, not sustainability, is the right vision for the future

11:15 AM, Thursday 3 Jun 2021 EDT (1 hour 15 minutes)

1-Flourishing, not sustainability, is the right vision for the future

2- The Right Way to Flourish. Reconnecting with the Real World

The call to sustainability has failed to rouse the world to the urgent need for critique and remedial action. In its place, flourishing is the proper normative vision to put Planet Earth on a viable trajectory, halting the present downward spiral of environmental and social deterioration. Flourishing is the realization of all living creatures’ biological, and, for humans, their existential, potential.  The absence of flourishing can be explained by the divided-brain model of IainMcGilchrist. Our dysfunctional, “modern” culture has become dominated by decontextualized, abstract scientism and rapacious, manipulative control (left-brain), compared to cultures, characterized by a sense of interconnectedness and empathetic interactions (right-brain), that take care of, not exploit, the Earth System. Flourishing emerges when the right brain-hemisphere is the master, coordinating action with the left. Redesigning institutions and artifacts to re-balance the brain should be the primary objective of every planner,policy-maker, or manager.

  • Ehrenfeld, J. R., The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World. Routledge, 2019.
  • Ehrenfeld, J. R., “Flourishing: designing a brave new world,” She Ji: The Journal of Design,
  • Economics, and Innovation, 5(2), 2019.
  • Ehrenfeld, J. R., “Sustainability Beyond Growth: Toward an Ethics of Flourishing” in The Routledge
  • Handbook of the History of Sustainability, J.Caradonna, ed. Routledge, 2017.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Retired, Former Director of the Program on Technology, Business, and Environment
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