Torgeir Ericson | 23.02.2017

Mindfulness and Sustainability

Public talk | 23.02.2017 | 16:00 - 17:30 | Uni Freiburg | Tennenbacher Str. 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany | Herderbau | Room 400


About:  Torgeir Ericson has had a life-long interest in the environmental and climate debate, with education, PhD and work all connected to this from the technical and engineering side. He is currently working as a scientist with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Also, Torgeir is interested in Buddhism, psychology and mindfulness. Based on his personal motivation and professional experience, he published a literature review on “Mindfulness and sustainability” together with B.G. Kjønstad and A. Barstad in ‘Ecological Economics’.


Talk: Ecosystems are under pressure due to high levels of material consumption. Subjective well-being sought through other means than material rewards could make an important contribution to sustainability. A wealth of research indicates that mindfulness contributes to subjective well-being by focusing the mind on the here and now, giving rise to stronger empathy and compassion, facilitating clarification of goals and values, and enabling people to avoid the “hedonic treadmill”. There is also a body of research that shows how subjective well-being, empathy, compassion, and non-materialistic/intrinsic values are associated with more sustainable behavior. Based on a review of the literature on these topics, we suggest that promoting mindfulness practice in schools, workplaces and elsewhere could be construed as a policy that pays a “double dividend” in that it could contribute both to more sustainable ways of life and to greater well-being.