Taming the big green elephant. Setting the motion for transformation towards sustainability

Hernandez, Ariel Macaspac
Books (2020)

Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften

ISBN: 978-3-658-31821-5
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-31821-5
Open access

Sustainable low carbon development is a transformative process that constitutes the shifting from the initially chosen or taken pathway to another pathway as goals have been re-visited and revised to enable the system to adapt to changes. For example, political goals that focused on consumption-driven economic growth are now increasingly complemented or even substituted by other goals such as climate production and sustainable development. This change of policy goals means changes in development trajectories. However, shifting of paths entails transition costs that are primarily accrued through the effects of lock-ins (e.g., carbon lock-ins including dependence of fossil fuels) that have framed decisions and collective actions. The uncertainty about these transition costs can be overwhelming or even disruptive. Shifting becomes a question not only of technical optimization, but also of empathy, perspectives and flexibility. Shifting is a matter of negotiations. These transition costs are additional burdens that require new ways of conceptualizing (e.g., democracy), measuring and interpreting. This book aims to provide a comprehensive and integrated analytical framework that promotes the understanding of transformation towards sustainability. It introduces new and expanded theoretical concepts such as knowledge diplomacy, and revisits analytical methods such as scenarios, case studies and ideal types to better understand the dynamics of transformation to sustainability. The analysis of this book is built upon negotiative perspectives to help define, design, and facilitate collective actions in order to execute the principles of sustainability.

About the author


Further experts

Baumann, Max-Otto

Political Science 

Christ, Simone

Social Anthropology 

Dang, Vy

Political Science 

Dippel, Beatrice


Flaig, Merlin

Social Science 

Götze, Jacqueline

Political Scientist 

Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science 

Hilbrich, Sören


Hornidge, Anna-Katharina

Development and Knowledge Sociology 

Janus, Heiner

Political Science 

Keijzer, Niels

Social Science 

Koch, Svea

Social Science 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Reiners, Wulf

Political Science 

Schwachula, Anna


Srigiri, Srinivasa Reddy

Agricultural Economist 

Stamm, Andreas


Vogel, Johanna

International Cultural Economy 

von Haaren, Paula

Development Economics 

Wehrmann, Dorothea