#002 – Is Sustainability Will Save Us? with John R. Ehrenfeld

by Hugo Taillandier

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Topic(s): Sustainability, Architecture, Flourishing, Personal Development

Dr. John R. Ehrenfeld returned to his alma mater, MIT, in 1985 after a long career in the environmental field, and retired in 2000 as the Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment. Following that, he served until 2009 as Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, guiding its development from its founding in 2000. His latest book is The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting with the Real World, published by Routledge in 2019.  He is also the author of Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming our Consumer Culture, and Flourish: A Frank Conversion about Sustainability (with Andrew Hoffman). He served from 2008 to 2012 on the adjunct faculty at the Marlboro College Graduate Center where he taught “Exploring Sustainability” in the MBA for Managing Sustainability program. He is currently a trustee of the Viridis Graduate Institute and also an adjunct faculty. His has taken up writing poetry in his 80’s and had several poems published.

In October 1999, the World Resources Institute honored him with their first lifetime achievement award for his academic accomplishments in the field of business and environment. He received the Founders’ Award for Distinguished Service from the Academy of Management’s Organization and Natural Environment Division in August 2000. He spent part of the 1998-1999 academic year at the Technical University of Lisbon as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar and was Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Delft during the 2000-1 academic year. He is an editor (Emeritus) of the Journal of Industrial Ecology . He holds a B. S. and Sc. D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is author or co-author of over 200 papers, books, reports, and other publications.

His CV can be downloaded from this link and list of publications at this one.

Please enjoy !

This episode can be listen on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or YouTube.

Is Sustainability Will Save Us? with John R. Ehrenfeld (#002)

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Connect with John R. Ehrenfeld:

Website | LinkedIn | ResearchGate

Aristotle on Flourishing
The Divided Mind – Iain McGilchrist
Connected, but alone? – Sherry Turkle
Shoshana Zuboff – Website
Pattern in Architecture – Christopher Alexander
The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen
A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose – Eckhart Tolle
Oprah and Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth – Podcast
The Habits of Happiness – Matthieu Ricard TEDtalk
Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day – Andy Puddicombe
All It Takes It’s 10 Mindful Minutes – Andy Puddicombe TEDtalk


  • John’s history and interest in sustainability [02:42]
  • Why our need to create sustainability generates more trouble than it should and how flourishing will help us to create a sustainable world. [07:04]
  • What is flourishing and how to become a flourishing human being. [10:17]
  • The right and left brain and how to free our creativity. [18:51]
  • How to create designs that reactivate the Right brain. [33:15]
  • How to use technology to reactivate the Right brain. [47:19]
  • Is flourishing can be sustain on the long term as human being and as a society? [52:52]



The Right Way to Flourish: Reconnecting to the Real World (2019 – John R. Ehrenfeld: Amazon | Waterstone | Routledge | Barnes and Noble
Flourishing: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability – John R. Ehrenfeld & Andrew Hoffman: Amazon
Sustainability by Design: A Subversive Strategy for Transforming Our Consumer Culture (2008) – John R. Ehrenfeld: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Nature Is Enough – Loyal Rue: Amazon | Waterstone
The Master And His Emissary – Iain McGilchrist: Amazon | Waterstone
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Thomas Kuhn: Amazon | Waterstone
Genius Loci – Christian Norberg-Schultz: Amazon

I know how convenient is to order from Amazon, but please consider to contact one of your local bookshop and see if it can order a book for you. You might need to wait longer, maybe collect it at the store but it will help your local community. I like to think that the money I give to my local bookshop will help them in everyday life, maybe help them to buy a bike for their kids, go on holiday or simply buy food for their family.

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