A challenging task – bridging the gap between the qualitative and quantitative disciplines. I’m Nicole van den Berg, and since the 1st of February, I have been doing my PhD at the UU researching how sustainable behaviour can be better represented in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs). With the help of my co-promoter dr. Vanessa Timmer, a visiting research fellow at UU and CEO of a non-profit ‘think and do’ tank in Vancouver, I will investigate the sustainable lifestyles field and the social sciences perspective, and how this can be quantified and integrated into IAMs. With the help of prof. dr. Detlef van Vuuren, my promoter at UU and an expert in IAMs, I will analyse to what extent lifestyle change can influence transition pathways in line with the in Paris agreed upon long-term climate objective of limiting global mean temperature increase to 2°C. Furthermore, dr. Lewis Akenji from IGES, a think tank in Japan, is also part of the project, and will be sharing his expertise on sustainable consumption.
Providing the linkages between these fields could do wonders for all fields, by collaborating on each field’s strengths in methodology and concepts, which I hope (in part) to achieve. This will be done through strong communication with the public, but also through workshops and interviews.
Transdisciplinarity is key to this research, and I look forward to diving even further into the different perspectives (without getting too lost, of course)! Hopefully, as an outcome, we can advance the knowledge on lifestyle change and stimulate the inclusion into long-term policies and policy assessment.
Since this research is so tangible to the everyday (wo)man and dealing with everyday-life, it is a discussion that almost anyone can engage in (and has been doing so far!). Therefore, please do not hesitate to discuss your ideas and perspective with me – I really enjoy it!
Leppänen, J., Neuvonen, A., Ritola, M., Ahola, I., Hirvonen, S., Hyotylainen, M., Kaskinen, T., Kauppinen, T. Kuittinen, O., Karki, K., Lettenmeier, M. & Mokka, R. (2012). D4.1 Future Scenarios for New European Social Models with Visualisations, UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP).