Existential sustainability

What is existential sustainability and how can existential perspectives become part of contemporary sustainability work?

The Agenda 2030 and the sustainability goals (SDGs) are vital for addressing the urgent situation when it comes to for example climate change, economic inequality, and lacking health care resources in the world. The SDGs are often described as three pillars of sustainability, the environmental, the economic, and the social.

However, quite often deprivation is also connected to a growing lack of social bonds, of meaning, and of zest of life. Therefore, in both the academy and the wider society, we can now discern the need for a fourth aspect of sustainability, namely the existential dimensions of human life. Humans have existential needs and require existential sustainability. Consequently, existential sustainability is connected to perceptions of what it is to live a good life, in contrast to just surviving. The existential dimension of human life is intrinsically connected to the other parts of sustainability.

Therefore, existential sustainability purports to complement, rather than criticize, the existing framework by posing questions like: In what senses can social, environmental, and economic sustainability also be existentially sustainable? By this we claim that existential aspects of human life are vital to a comprehensive understanding of sustainability. Hence, a sense of meaning and belonging is essential for sustainable solutions within the fields of technology and economy.

There is no established definition of existential sustainability, and our goal is not to deliver one. What is existentially sustainable and unsustainable varies between different contexts. Nevertheless, our various efforts in this field contribute both critical analysis of the current state in society and constructive proposals on how to understand the existentially sustainable and implement it in practice.

Page Manager: itht.luse | 2024-01-19