«Annick Hedlund-de Witt Worldviews and the transformation to sustainable societies An exploration of the cultural and psychological dimensions of our ...»
Of course, I am also deeply indebted to my promoter Jan Boersema, copromoter Arthur Petersen, and supervisor Joop de Boer, who have been on my side through this process from beginning to end. Jan, thank you so much for the support, the great trust you have placed in me, and your ability to see the ‘big picture’ of the dissertation. You increasingly seemed to know how to skillfully balance holding me with both feet on the earth (which was definitely needed sometimes!), while at the same time being supportive of, and having trust in, the larger vision and ambition I was striving for. I have very much appreciated that quality in you! Although we started out with somewhat different working styles and interest, I am very happy about the relationship that has developed between us over time. I am also grateful to Joop, my ‘daily supervisior’ in the dissertation process. Departing from what sometimes felt like different worldviews and working styles—which was challenging in the beginning—I feel to have learned so much about the ‘nuts and bolts’ of academic research and writing through your guidance. Especially your support in the research, conceptualization, and statistical analyses of chapter four—which in a way can be seen as the heart of this dissertation—has been indispensible.
PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving) has not only generously funded this research, but has also offered support in the form of the vision and involvement of some excellent individuals. Klaas van Egmond, your own dedication to, and fascination with, studying and understanding worldviews and their complex interface with sustainability-issues has been the very foundation of this project. I really admire your boldness and creativity in pursuing and supporting this line of research!
Also Theo Aalbers, Kees Vringer, Bert de Vries, and Hiddo Huitzing have made contributions to my work. Thank you all.
The Earth Value Foundation (or ‘Stichting wAarde’), a Dutch environmental organization, has likewise played an important role, particularly in the survey-research as described in chapter four, and the interviews as reported in chapter seven. Their support was not only financial, but also intellectual and creative through the engagement of Thomas van Slobbe. Thank you Thomas, I always experience it as a fresh breeze to work with you and hear your colorful perspectives and ideas!
I’m also grateful to my outstanding dissertation committee—Karen O’Brien, Colin Campbell, Wouter Hanegraaff, Klaas van Egmond, and Frank Biermann—for taking the time and making the effort to read my dissertation.
With some of you, notably Karen, Colin, and Wouter, I’ve had engaged discussions over individual chapters that have profoundly served my work.
Frank has also been a great support as the director of the Environmental Policy Analysis department at the Institute for Environmental Studies. Thank you all!
xiv I also want to acknowledge Richard Tarnas, who not only gave me excellent, detailed feedback with respect to chapter two, but also invited me as a guest-researcher to the California Institute of Integral Studies, in the ‘Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness’ Program, in that fated Fall of 2009.
Thank you so much, Rick! This three-month visit ended up changing my life much more than I ever could have foreseen, as I was not only inspired by the free (yet rigorous!) and forward-thinking in this program, but also met my husband, as well as a larger community of dear friends who teach me so much about life and how to live it every day I spend in their company. Love you all guys!
I’m also grateful to the support that Riyan van den Born gave me in the research as reported in chapter five, which was part of my Master’s thesis research at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. Riyan, you were always a very warm, enthusiastic, supportive, and inspiring guide in that process. And in a sense it all started with you, as you planted the seed for this very book in my being, by suggesting that I should consider pursuing a Ph.D.! Beyond that, you also set me out on the research path by writing a proposal for a research project that I came to conduct as part of my first job after finishing my Master’s. On top of all that, you are also a wonderful friend. Thank you, Riyan!
Harm Boukema, thank you so much for reading and commenting on chapter two in an early stage of the writing. Sander Metaal of Motivaction was of great help with the development of the survey as reported in chapter four.
People from the ‘Science and Values Cluster’ at IVM, including Ayşem Mert and Eleftheria Vasileiadou, gave me important feedback with respect to an early version of chapter eight. Of course there were also many other colleagues at the Institute for Environmental Studies who were in some way important, including (but not limited to!) Constanze Haug, Suzan Besuijen, Mairon Bastos Limas, Farhad Mukhtarrov, Hans de Moel, Stefania Munaretto, Rayvon Lemmert and many more.
Also the anonymous reviewers of the different journals that I have submitted my chapters to—notably those of the Journal of Environmental Psychology—have been a source of great learning and support on how to write a solid academic article. Furthermore, I’m grateful to all my interview-participants and survey-respondents; they have been essential to the findings as reported in xv this dissertation, and they gave me their time and openly shared their ideas and views with me. Thank you all!
I’m also grateful to my new research group—the Biotechnology and Society section at the University of Technology in Delft—for offering me a new home to continue my research and develop my teaching while finishing off my dissertation. I’m particularly thankful to Patricia Osseweijer and Robin Pierce for placing great trust in me to pursue my research interest, and Susanne Sleenhoff and Urjan Jacobs for being wonderful office-mates. Thanks to you all!
And then there are, of course, my dear friends and ‘paranymphs’1 Annelies Henstra and Hanna Schösler. Annelies, I feel it was ‘friendship at first sight’ between us. I’m grateful to you for long, lovely walks and talks, and your eternal support and friendship. I’m so happy and honored to have you as my paranymph! And thank you too for some great last-minute advice on the Dutch summary. Hanna, it was great to share the dissertation journey, our office, and so many coffees and endless talks about food, sustainability, research, and, yes, life, with you. We became instant friends, and I felt you made the whole process more colorful and interesting! You also gave me useful feedback on chapter 6 in an earlier stage of the writing. I am really thankful to both of you for all your support (and fun!) in the organization of the defense.
Raymond van Mill, thank you immensely for the wonderful, captivating cover that you developed. As a true artist you created an image that says more than thousand words, and you gave my book ‘a face’—and a beautiful one!
Thank you, also for more than 15 years of dynamic, adventurous, and always interesting friendship. Bram van der Hulst, thank you for the important role you played in the first year of the dissertation-process, and the mutual respect and love there just always naturally seems to be between us.
And then, last but certainly not least, there is of course my family, the people who live in my blood and bones. Thank you so much my sweet mom, 1 In the Netherlands a pair of paranymphs ('paranimfen') are present at the doctoral thesis defense. This ritual originates from the ancient Greek concept of the bride and bridegroom being attended by paranymphs, since obtaining a doctorate was seen as a de facto marriage to the university. In the defense, the paranymphs would also act as a physical shield in case the debate became too heated, or as a backup for the doctoral candidate to ask for advice when answering questions. Today their role is symbolic and seen as a position of honor similar to a best man at a wedding.
Table 1: An overview of the main research-worldviews and their implications for practice, adapted from Creswell and Plano Clark (2011) 46 Table 2: The Integrative Worldview Framework (IWF) offers a working definition of worldviews, differentiates five major aspects to worldviews, and formulates exemplary questions for each aspect 80 Table 3: The five aspects of the IWF facilitate one to see which worldviewaspects are explored by existing approaches and how they are interrelated 109 Table 4: The five worldview-factors, loadings after Promax rotation 126 Table 5: Correlation matrix of the worldview components 127 Table 6: The three environmental attitude-factors, loadings after Promax rotation 129 Table 7: Correlation matrix of the environmental attitude components 131 Table 8: Correlations between the worldview components and the environmental attitude components 131 Table 9: Correlations between worldviews and sustainable behaviors 132 Table 10: Correlations between environmental attitudes and sustainable behaviors 132 Table 11: Regression of the sustainable lifestyles-variable on worldviews and environmental attitudes 134 Table 12: Correlations and partial correlations between the items of Inner growth and Contemporary spirituality and the measures of Connectedness with nature and Willingness to change 135 Table 13: Exemplary overview of potentials and pitfalls of the culture of contemporary spirituality for sustainable development 196 Table 14: The expanded IWF ideal-typically delineates traditional, modern, postmodern, and integrative worldviews in the contemporary West, using the five worldview-aspects as organizing scheme 256 Figure 1: The three different pathways to a sense of environmental responsibility as found in the interviews 176 Figure 2: An example of how to use the IWF for framing communications for renewable energy initiatives to multiple worldviews 281
xviii List of used abbreviations
CBS: Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek) DSP: Dominant Social Paradigm EU: European Union FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations GMO’s: Genetically Modified Organisms IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LEI: Netherlands Economic Agriculture Institute (Landbouw Economisch Instituut) NEP: New Environmental Paradigm PBL: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving) IWF: Integrative Worldview Framework SDT: Self-Determination Theory UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization USA: United States of America WCED: World Commission on Environment and Development WVS: World Values Survey WWF: World Wide Fund xix xx Chapter 1 Introduction: Worldviews and the transformation to sustainable societies Our world view is not simply the way we look at our world. It reaches inward to constitute our innermost being, and outward to constitute the world. It mirrors but also reinforces and even forges the structures, armorings, and possibilities of our interior life. It deeply configures our psychic and somatic experience, the patterns of our sensing, knowing and interacting with the world. No less potently, our world view – our beliefs and theories, our maps, our metaphors, our myths, our interpretive assumptions – constellates our outer reality, shaping and working the world’s malleable potentials in a thousand ways of subtly reciprocal interaction. World views create worlds.
- Richard Tarnas2 We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.
- Anaïs Nin
1.1 Worldview: A concept whose time has come Many of us sense that we live in an unprecedented time. Our contemporary predicament is characterized by a vastly pluralistic, increasingly interconnected, and in many cases intensely polarized, cultural landscape (Benedikter & Molz, 2011; Giddens, 2009; C. Taylor, 1989). Simultaneously, the sustainability-issues that are now threatening the very basis of our human civilization are highly complex, increasingly interdependent, multifaceted, and of a planetary scale and nature (see e.g. L. R. Brown, 2008; Held, 2006; Kelly, 2010; Morin & Kern, 1999)—therefore demanding the coordination of, and cooperation between, these polarized cultural perspectives for their resolution (see e.g. Hedlund, 2010;
Hulme, 2009). Moreover, as several philosophers have argued, the contemporary Zeitgeist seems to be characterized by a profound sense of purposelessness among many, due to the lack of overarching narratives or frameworks of meaning. This is so, as Taylor (1989) argues, because overarching frameworks are that in virtue of which we make sense of our lives morally and spiritually (see also Spretnak, 1999). Some authors therefore argue that the multiple crises that we currently face—next to being environmental, technological, economic, and political-institutional—are also philosophicalexistential, psychological, cultural, and even spiritual in nature (see e.g. Hulme, 2009; Morin & Kern, 1999; O' Brien, St. Clair, & Kristoffersen, 2010).