On this page, I present information on the environmental problem, the topic that is most dear to my heart. I value nature and life above all, see and feel myself primarily as LIFE – and only secondarily as a human or any specific characterization of myself.
I want to make clear on the outset that I do not have any hidden agenda or monetary interest vested in the topic – I only want to inform people in the hope that something changes.
I studied economics and philosophy, pursued a PhD in economics and taught and researched in economics as professor at university. I spent the last years researching extensively on the topic of ecology, trying to understand in most detail both the problem and its causes – as well as potential solutions to it. My motivation was not financial interests (since I left academia), but only my love for life and nature and the intent to help it as much as possible. Both future human beings as well as non-human life.
I apologize if some points of argumentation are repeated in different slide set. The reason is that presentations evolved at different points in time, it is still a work in progress (and additional presentations are yet to appear).
I will always say a few words about part of the content of each set of slides. The slide-sets can be scrolled through via the arrows, or a click opens a presentation in a separate pop-up window. Clicking on the right/left side of the image leads to the next/anterior slide. Using mobile devices, it is recommended to rotate the mobile phone for better visibility.
1. The Ecological Problem – Introduction
In an introductory presentation, I expose the topic and shortly review the cause and solution. Clearly, this set is in no way able to capture the multitude of information necessary to assess the environmental problem, its causes and potential solutions.
0. Preamble – The hardship of environmental protection
I then take a moment to explain why environmental protection in current times is much more difficult than it was in the past. This relates to both the complexity and interconnectedness of modern life.
II. The environmental Problem – Cause and Effects
2. The Ecological Problem and the Threats it poses
The environmental problem and the ecological threat it poses for life is the greatest danger humanity has yet seen. It is not caused by the actions of a few, but the combined effect of the behavior of billions of people – at the same time threating the life of billions of people and millions of species.
3. Global Warming – Our energy consumption
The reason for its most prominent syndrome, global warming, is explained in the subsequent slide set. I explain why our individual consumption patterns are the cause for that life-threatening danger – as well as the mechanisms that relate consumption to global warming.
4. Consequences of Climate Change
Global Warming has various extremely serious consequences for both human and non-human life on the planet. Besides, it is not the only devastating ecological consequence of the environmental problem caused by human behavior today. Each individual either proliferates the ecological danger or stands up for nature’s cause.
III. Humanity and the environmental problem
5. Our species and climate change
Next, I turn to focus on humanity and its relation to global warming. We are the cause of global warming and possess the power to stop it. I explain why we got so far and what complicates our endeavor of stopping the crisis.
6. Good News, Bad News – Where Do we stand
The reason for the unprecedented levels of CO2 emissions lies in the fact that our energy consumption skyrocketed in the last centuries. This is due to the extreme rise in labor productivity, jointly with humanity’s decision to keep working hours up and let consumption patterns explode. Thus, the vast majority of our excessive CO2 emissions and the environmental problem are not caused by human necessities – but commodities and luxuries.
7. A short history of mankind
The division of labor is one of the main reasons for the massive growth in labor productivity over the last centuries. While to some extent necessary, the extreme form specialization took in recent decades or centuries has its drawbacks. We understand ever less of the world we live in, and with it of the threat we pose to human life itself.
8. The Ecological Problem and the Market
In a very central presentation, I explain how that ecological threat humanity poses relates fundamentally to the free market economies we live in. I show how its basic principle “be free to choose what you want” – or “do whatever you want” – fails to promote good in light of the environmental crisis. Instead, this sometimes beautiful libertarian principle drives humanity into the abyss, and with it also non-human life, when ecological dangers are considered.
9. Externality explained
The reason is that the environmental problem poses the biggest externality present. That means, our well-being and chances for survival do not depend exclusively on our own choices, but those of everyone else as well. I explain this economic term and why the ecological threat is its biggest representative in a separate slide set.
IV. Possible solutions for the environmental problem
10. Potential Solutions to the Ecological Problem
After exposing the problem and its causes, I turn to potential solutions. In a first presentation I show different potential ways to tackle the environmental problem and solve the current ecological crisis and disaster looming ahead.
11. The Technological Solution
Then, I spend some time to discuss the most prominently promoted type of potential solutions, technological solutions. While they sound like a miracle and are heavily promoted by many different players in society, they are not what they promise to be for a variety of reasons I lay out in detail.
12. On Planting Trees
A wonderfully sounding “green” technological solution consists of planting trees. While I personally love trees more dearly than most other living creatures, I sadly say and show why this is not a viable long-term solution – instead current CO2-compensation schemes may obscure the vision for a viable sustainable path.
V. The alternative way
13. The Alternative Road
Then, I expose the alternative to technological solutions of the environmental problem. An alternative path that consists of a humanitarian turn towards more leisure time instead of ever more consumption goods. I explain why this alternative road towards sustainability is the sole sustainable long-run solution, and a blessing in disguise. I furthermore discuss the various ways how such a turn towards the alternative road can be accomplished, and their success chances.
14. On Economic Growth – this is not well-being
Importantly, today many people confound economic growth with economic well-being – and the latter with well-being. I show why in present times the relation between economic growth and well-being is substantially disrupted – thence, well-being can easily grow under a situation of economic de-growth.
15. LCA – we have a right to know – and a duty
Lastly, I present the most promising and implementable way towards the alternative road of sustainability. To that end, I first explain the concept of life-cycle-analysis (LCA) – a true estimate of the damage any consumption good exerts on nature. It is this strategy that allows to truly capture the toll on nature each and every final consumption good takes on this planet.
16. The Green Coin – A Viable Solution
Then, I present the central idea of a green coin. This central instrument restricts people in the overall damage they can exert on the planet with their individual consumption – at the same time providing them the freedom to choose on which type of consumption to spend their ecological damage. Besides, such an instrument provides for the first time truly ecological incentives for companies – as it pays off for them to produce in more environmentally friendly manners.
17. A Call for Information
In a separate slide set, I explain why true information in the current information age is both such an important tool and so hard to come by. The sheer amount of information necessary to make truly informed decisions is mind-blowing – and for any individual too costly to obtain. However, it is exactly that information which is so imminent to provide to us people in the modern age in order to solve the environmental problem and help save the planet. We must know the consequences of our actions.