Scenarios for lifestyles in a resource-light society


  • Michael Schipperges Institute for Socio-cultural Research, Heidelberg, Germany


natural resources, qualitative research, scenarios, social change, sustainable lifestyles


Modem industrialized societies live far beyond sustainable levels with regard to their use of natural resources. Whereas there is almost unanimous agreement that environmental and climate protection is a necessity, the question remains, what a future society living on sustainable principles may look like. First of all, resource use and allocation is not just a technical issue but deeply rooted in culture and social practices. Therefore, a conversion towards a society with a lower consumption of natural resources can only be successful if accepted and promoted by the members of this society.

In order to understand what kind of changes people are ready to support, a qualitative social research project was implemented. In a first step, five future scenarios were developed. These scenarios are distinct with respect to the underlying basic values and drivers, leading to diverse narratives which uncover different options for low-resource or “resource-light” societies. Then, the scenarios were discussed both with relevant stakeholders and citizens from all age groups, social milieus, and strata.

Altogether, the participants rarely doubted the concept of a low-resource society itself. However, they showed different levels of openness towards the individual scenarios and their constitutive elements. Moreover, the reflection of the scenarios pointed at significant desires and yearnings for change, not only motivated by ecological but, even stronger, by social considerations. Besides reducing the use of natural resources, a more considerate use of human and social assets is an issue.

As a recommendation, it appears necessary to promote a societal discourse about alternatives to the current state of unsustainable high resource consumption. The scenarios, visions and models presented here can contribute to it. In dohig so, it is crucial to keep the space of solutions open by discussion alternative options, involving different views, and thus, allowing for learning processes.




Hogyan kell idézni

Schipperges, M. (2017) „Scenarios for lifestyles in a resource-light society”, Marketing & Menedzsment, 51(Spec.issue), o. 27–38. Elérhető: (Elérés: 31 március 2023).