In this timely exploration of sustainable actions, Christian Berg unpacks the complexity in understanding the barriers we face in moving towards a sustainable future, providing solution perspectives for every level, from individuals to governments and supra-national organizations offering a lucid vision of a long-term and achievable goal for sustainability.

While the 2030 Agenda has already set ambitious targets for humanity, it offers little guidance for concrete actions. Although much is already being done, progress seems slow and some actions aiming at sustainability may be counterproductive. Different disciplines, societal actors, governmental departments and NGOs attribute the slow progress to a number of different causes, from the corruption of politicians to the wrong incentive structures.

Sustainable Action surveys all the fields involved in sustainability to provide action principles which speak to actors of different kinds, not just those professionally mandated with such changes. It offers a road map to all those who might not constantly think about systems change but who are concerned and want to contribute to a sustainable future in a meaningful way.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of sustainability issues, as well as those looking for a framework for how to change their systems at work to impact the quadruple bottom line: environment, economy, society, and future generations.

chapter 1|34 pages


Sustainability – a utopian ideal?

part 1|2 pages


part |2 pages

Intrinsic Barriers

chapter 2|12 pages

Barriers related to physical reality

chapter 3|23 pages

Barriers related to the human condition

chapter 4|37 pages

Barriers related to social reality

part |2 pages

Extrinsic barriers 1– Institutional deficiencies

chapter 5|21 pages


113Faulty market system

chapter 6|25 pages


Lack of effective governance for global issues

chapter 7|13 pages


Insufficient institutions and the challenge of the common good

chapter 8|8 pages


Mismatch between impact and governance

chapter 9|11 pages

Structural silos

Fragmentation of knowledge, administration and responsibility

part |2 pages

Extrinsic barriers 2 – Zeitgeist-dependent barriers

chapter 10|5 pages

Short-term orientation and acceleration 3

chapter 11|7 pages


part 2|2 pages

Action principles

chapter 12|5 pages

Why action principles?

chapter 13|24 pages

Nature-related principles

chapter 14|11 pages

Personal principles

chapter 15|11 pages

Society-related principles

chapter 16|15 pages

Systems-related principles

chapter 17|13 pages


Sustainable action principles trigger phase transition