Dr Arne Geschke
Arne Geschke is a post-doctoral researcher at the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) group at the University of Sydney. Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1980, he grew up in Hamburg and studied Industrial Mathematics at the University of Hamburg, the University of Technology in Hamburg and at the University of Bath in the UK. Following his degree, he worked for BMW and General Motors developing models for mathematical engine simulations. He moved to Australia and joined the ISA group in 2008. From July 2009 until July 2012 he was a PhD student supervised by Prof Manfred Lenzen and was part of the team that developed the currently largest global socio-economic accounting system. He was appointed a post-doctoral researcher at ISA in August 2012. His current research includes the construction of a high-detail socio-economic reporting system for Australia on a sub-state level. This research project involves eight Australian universities and two other organisations. Arne Geschke is supervising and coordinating the project.
Direct vs. Embodied Energy the need for urban lifestyle transition
Generally the cities are the places where money is made, and which become the home of the wealthy, while the countryside is the place where resources are taken. Urban centres thus become sinks of rural resources and energy. In these affluent, urbanized societies, sustainable development can only be achieved if technology transitions are complemented by far-reaching lifestyle transitions. It is possible that such lifestyle transitions are doomed to failure. Cities seem to have escaped, for the time being at least, the physical dependence on their immediate hinterland, which may have led to a feeling of invincibility where peoples aspirations have transgressed natural limits and are now driven only by human ingenuity. To consider transforming the escalator of aspirations, from one that is forever outrunning unhappiness, to one that allows fulfilment, begs an understanding as to what drives a modern city resident in a time-poor and globally connected world. It is understandable why policy has more readily embraced supporting technological change rather than promoting lifestyle change. After all, what can be achieved by new technology is easy to sell to the consumer; no one has to give up their habits, and governments do not need to risk losing votes, because they do not need to initiate a potentially painful and difficult public discourse, let alone intervention into consumers choices. Decades of unabated and unrestrained economic growth, nurtured by advertising affluent, material lifestyles to an ever-growing portion of the world population makes one wonder whether some sort of lifestyle change is indeed unavoidable. One would hope for such changes to be brought about by conscious and collective decisions rather than by involuntary and unilateral force, or perhaps worse, by natural and socio-economic circumstances.
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