Positive utopias of a sustainable society are essential to guide stakeholders through radical changes. Results from a project commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) illustrate the potential of foresight methods – namely scenarios – to draft pathways into a future that is radically different from today: a society that has achieved to live within its planetary boundaries, having reduced its material consumption by 80%. How this could be achieved – not from a technological or regulatory, but from a societal perspective – will shed some light on people´s attitudes and the vast range of options available for achieving radical change.
Maria Schnurr holds a degree in social sciences and communication studies and worked in the Corporate Foresight department at Volkswagen AG, where she carried out projects focusing on mobility and urban development. She received a doctorate from Braunschweig University of Art for her research on the potential of urban mobility services for car manufacturers. She currently heads the Public Foresight division at Z-punkt, where she works on high-end foresight projects in the private and public sector. A key area of her work is the development of alternative strategies for the social, economic and political implementation of ambitious sustainability targets.