Social Change Through Innovations from the Civil Society

Dissertation by Willington Ortiz examines how civil society initiatives spread sustainable innovations

  • News 02.04.2020

How can everyone act sustainable? To achieve this, new ways of lifestyle must be found and practiced. For that, innovations play an important role. After all, innovations are not only technical, but ideas and social practices leading to sustainable and environmentally friendly actions. Besides technical innovations, the civil society can advance also new values and create awareness for sustainability.

Dr. Willington Ortiz, Research Fellow in the International Energy Transition Research Unit in the Future Energy and Industry Systems Division at the Wuppertal Institute, has examined in his dissertation the role of the civil society in the development and diffusion of sustainable innovations. His research studied initiatives in the Global South, that aim at providing access to clean energy and at strengthening the livelihoods of small family farmers. Ortiz also analysed how such initiatives can help spread sustainable innovations and, in this way, contribute to social change.
Willington Ortiz's dissertation focused first on small projects where decentralised renewable energy technologies are implemented in active cooperation with local organisations. Empirical cases are found within the initiative "WISIONS of Sustainability", which is coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute since 2004 and which supports the demonstration of innovative energy delivery models for the provision of clean energy services. Energy services that address the specific development potential of the local population involved in each project. Another empirical cases regarded by Willington Ortiz are associations of small farmers, which promote knowledge exchange among farmers about ecological agriculture, and which facilitate access to needed resources and technical services to their members.

Apl. Prof. Dr. Ulli Vilsmaier, guest scientist at the Institute of Philosophy and Sciences of Art at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, and Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Scientific Managing Director of the Wuppertal Institute, supervised the dissertation.

Further information on the project "WISIONS of Sustainability" and the download of the dissertation (free of charge) can be found in the links below.

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