Jun 23, 2021 7:07 PM
Daria Melek Haner
Who Did You Interview?
- my Mother
Demographics That Might Provide Helpful Context for Their Responses
- Turkish immigrant to US
- highly educated
- lives in suburban environment
- university professor (industrial organizational psychologist- human resources)
- researcher in environmental sustainability of organizations as well
Key Findings from the Interview
- What is your main passion/area of work when it comes to sustainability?
- "The goal is to preserve the Earth's capacity for life, including human life to its maximal potential. How we get there is threefold: 1) by conserving what we have (resources, biospheres, biodiversity), so conserving what we have basically. The second prong is not actively harming it- those are not the same thing; not harming Earth's carrying capacity and in fact adding to it. The third prong is using innovations, technology, and new systems, and I'm thinking about it really broadly, like even new economic systems to, to minimize impact and enhance capacity. Sustainability includes- one leg is environment, but another leg is humanity and one cannot be superior over the other. Because if one says environment is superior to humanity, then we should erase humanity from Earth and everything will be ok"
- "Let me tell you the way that I think about this. As far as I am concerned there are thousands of behaviors that I can engage in that can contribute to environmental sustainability. I had to make a personal choice about where my impact would be the biggest, and I had to hit that first. My biggest influence is in research, because it then it influences what other people do, policy, further research, and implementation. So, first and foremost, I research sustainability in organizations. Second, in my research, I ask myself, 'What has the biggest impact that my field also touches?', and business organizations, especially the largest companies in the world, have an outsize impact on the environment. Therefore, my research focuses on environmental sustainability of organizations. That's why I study why I study. As a consumer, my influence is a drop in a bucket, but nonetheless I also drive a hybrid car, I also have energy efficient appliances in my house, and I reduce my use of unsustainable products, like 'use and toss' products. Finally, I educate students and the public about environmental sustainability."
- What would you like to be able to do?
- "Help transition economies away from dependence on carbon to renewables. Thats my first wish. The second one is I wish most companies, especially large companies, would move to prioritizing environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and their economic viability on even footing."
- What are you worried about for sustainability in the future?
- "Many people will pit economy against sustainability- jobs against biodiversity, for example. It is a false dichotomy. Here is a real concern about sustainability: the carrying capacity of earth, we may have surpassed it already. With the Anthropocene, we may be at a point of no return, and I'm not sure climate change is reversible, given the political and economic forces in operation."