Professor Munasinghe is the Sri Lankan professor who vice-chaired the UN’s International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and the author behind the sustainability triangle, a classic concept in our environmental economics textbooks which he first presented at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit as part of his work called sustainomics.
The multidimensional scientist, who earned a degree in Engineering at MIT and a PhD in Physics at McGill, was also the first one to steer the 2012 World Resources Forum’s attention to the need to re-engineer not only the processes of economic production, but our minds, our values and the general understanding of economic well-being. In his own words, “We have unethical social values that have led to economic mal-development. We need to change our minds and figure out how to transform our core values.”
So how can we start to overhaul our minds? Dr. Munasinghe’s latest efforts to launch this value-based transition include the idea of UN Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs) and his work on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) index commissioned by the Bhutanese government.
Sitting down with Dr. Munasinghe, student reporters Akash Arasu, Andreas Slotte and Nora Locksai questioned him about how these visionary and thought-provoking concepts operate in practice. As Akash Arasu observed, “Given that Dr. Munasinghe is a man of many disciplines, it is not surprising that our discussion with him was not bounded by any categories. ” Can we really go beyond materialism and challenge our mindset of consumption and production maximization? How would a happiness maximizing economy work? Can a physicist explain concisely what Higgs boson is so that we finally get it?
Watch our interview here and click on the links for our thoughts!