Plenary Session 4 Prof. Dr. Klaas van Egmond argues that sustainabillty is synonimous with human dignity ‘Societal Appreciative Inquiry: re-thinking human Dignity and Sustainability for re-inventing Society’
Motivated by the Dennis Meadows 1972 report to the Club of Rome on the Limits to Growth, KLAAS VAN EGMOND worked since then as environmental scientist in support of national, European and global policies. As director of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, he has been advisor to the Dutch government on the many scientific and technological issues in the field of environment, global change and sustainability. During that long period he has learned that the solution for the sustainability problem has to be found in social and cultural dynamics, rather than in technological development only. Lack of consensus in the understanding of human nature allows societies to degenerate into its own caricature and associated catastrophe, by one sided overexposure of genuine human value orientations. Sustainability can only be achieved by understanding and discouragement of this recurring mechanism. It implies encouragement of policies and political structures that recognize human and societal virtue in between materialistic and spiritual/ cultural values, and in between egocentric and collectivistic orientations. Sustainability is synonimous with human dignity; the recognition of genuine human values.