Eco guide? We especially like without a raised index finger! Sustainability experts Thekla Wilkening and Robin Haring have just such a thing with “The organic pizza dilemma. The surprising guide to more sustainability” recently published. As a guest author on our blog, Thekla tells us why we should urgently integrate sustainability into our lives and why we don't even have to bend our necks.



For years I have been dealing with the topic of sustainability and the environmental and climate crisis. At some point I noticed that friends often answered certain questions very, very quietly or evasively. As a rule, it was about the topic of consumption, with which they probably associated a bad conscience. Of course, I can't judge whether this bad conscience was only there for me or whether it always accompanied her - but for me it was clear: things couldn't go on like this. I just didn't want to do it every time friends got a "last" coffee-to-go in a disposable cup or bought underwear "just again because it fits so well" from a fast fashion chain store, I just didn't want to reply: "That's perfectly fine ". Because in truth it is not . Even if the reason is as small as a disposable cup.

I know only too well that these small, fine consumer decisions sometimes just make you happy. And because this is where things get complicated, my partner Robin Haring and I finally wrote our first book, “The Organic Pizza Dilemma”.

Because what should we say? Our individual consumer decisions do play a role – even if only a very small one. Because we all probably know it by now: our much bigger problem is our general dependence on fossil fuels. These alone consume the entire remaining CO2 budget up to the 1.5 degree target. That's pretty much exactly 846 gigatonnes. Changing this is in the hands of politicians: "An economically acceptable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is compatible with international climate protection goals can only be achieved with a coal phase-out by around 2030," write the Scientists for Future. So what is the logical consequence? Exactly, to support this movement we can go to demonstrations, sign petitions demanding these decisions and use our power as citizens and become activists.

So far so clear. But:

Our individual lives have an impact on us and our environment - even if they cannot stop the climate crisis. That is why we should meet them as consciously as possible. And we need policies that curb greenhouse gas emissions. Now and immediately.

The smart ones go first! After all, how much longer will the people in the government ranks get by with their game of time if we citizens show good examples of what is actually possible? There lies our strength. And I am firmly convinced that deep down we all have a good sense of which decisions we can justify and when it is better to forego. No friend has to give his okay .


However, the constantly increasing greenwashing in almost all industries is increasingly distracting us from our own intuition. Today there are discussions about whether almond, soy or oat milk is the best alternative to cow's milk. And the question of “right or wrong” is incredibly tiring. Because if I have now decided on the soy milk, but the oat milk would have been better - have I gained anything at all?

Yes, of course I gained something from it. Because I weighed things up and made a conscious consumption decision, relying on my gut feeling. And this is exactly what we have to win back. Because it tells us that cycling is basically a good thing. Or that plastic is only good if it is intended for durable things. Or that the decision between soy and oat milk is latte for now, as long as I just leave the cow out of the game.


But how can we come back to this intuition? I would recommend the following three steps:

  1. Keep a consumption diary and write down everything you buy and why - and how it made you feel.
  2. You consume products that you don't have a good feeling about what the actual sustainability efforts are? Write the company an email, a message on social media or pick up the phone directly and ask why you can't tell whether this is a sustainable and fairly produced product or not. Asking always helps and you will quickly notice whether you want to continue consuming the product.
  3. Talk to your friends. And not only about why it is so difficult to live sustainably, but also simply about what sustainable consumption decisions you are currently making. What you're trying out, what products you've discovered, or what interests you - everything is allowed as long as you try to stay positive. Because only then can you inspire others to follow suit and stay motivated yourself.

The fact is: we will not be able to keep to the CO2 budget with our individual consumption decisions alone. For this, industry and politics would have to decide and implement an immediate phase-out of fossil fuels. And yet we can make a difference with our consumption decisions. For example, that the man-made, harmful substances or materials in our world are becoming less. Because less will always mean more in the future. And that does not mean doing without, but choosing consciously and intuitively. In the end it's a bit like snogging: A really good kiss is better than a lot of trivial ones.

“The organic pizza dilemma. The surprising guide to more sustainability" by Thekla Wilkening and Robin Haring is now available at: https://www.mvg.de/redline/shop/article/21492-das-bio-pizza-dilemma/

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