Sustainability science beyond the ivory tower





Our green is turning grey.


People are the problem.


People are the solution.


People are storytelling organisms.


Let’s tell stories then.



Stories for everyone who’s agenda starts with


Once upon a time…



All Stories



The Author

Philipp Gassner

Philipp is an interface expert, with a passion for knowledge, people and the environment. Dedicated to sustainability knowledge management and strategic communication, he combines

Content owed to his strong academic pedigree as cross-disciplinary environmental scientist


Method from his 7 year international track record in science communication, project management, and consultancy


You name it, we have it:

Climate change, pollution, the sixth mass extinction, land degradation, food insecurity. Earth is hitting the environmental buffers. But not to worry, it is easy to save the world. We are able to sustain it.

Green is the new Pink

Sustainability is en vogue. But why do countless global efforts don’t bear fruit? Simply gazing at the symptoms will leave us stumped for an answer. Instead, green ideas have to drill down on the root causes.


The challenge lies beyond the green surface.

Mankind is living on a big footprint, using 50% more resources than the Earth can sustainably produce. Us humans, we are both the problem and the solution for sustainable development.

To accept the green challenge, we thus have to focus on humans.

The solution – and what makes us humans great, rests on the universal principle of evolution: ‘passing on the information of the most successful reproducer’. In our society this info comes as data, and is reproduced via communication.


Age of (Big) Data

Data and knowledge is important – and ever more available. But it’s only one part of the triangle. Without affecting our actions and practices, and without changing social institutions our knowledge base won’t do much good.

Sorry to say, we are simply not moved to action by data dumps.

Instead knowledge is based on emotional stories. Without a compelling story, great ideas – also the green ones – are dead on arrival. To get green ideas across and make sense of sustainability, my agenda begins with ‘Once upon a time…’.

The molding power of stories

I turn data into drama, numbers into narrative, and stats into stories – to change behavior and institutions. We must leave the green ivory tower. We must move to a socially robust consensus on sustainability. We must turn Green into the new Pink.


Philipp studied the M.Sc. in Environmental Governance, worked for UN organisations and international consultancies and is currently with GIZ in the Pacific.





Excellent App idea, overdue! – Smartphone App user 2014

Sound analyst, excellent writer– Dr. Berthold Seibert, GIZ 2012

Philipp has set the bar high for all future incumbents – Professor Jon Hutton, UNEP-WCMC 2012

The method developed by Mr. Gassner can be simply used, which is crucial to implement a sustainable monitoring system. – Dr. Michael Weiß, University of Tuebingen 2011

The different format you used during the workshop is an innovative way to share information, transmit a message to your audience or simply to express your opinion and was really impressive the way you did it. – Workshop Participant 2014

I’d like to let you know that the social cost, economic cost and environment cost of foods will be on my mind whenever I eat any kind of food thanks to your wonderful and unique workshop. – Workshop Participant 2014


Press Review

2015 Beilage nachhaltiges Unileben

22.10.2014 Sonderpreis für Studentisches Engagement Uni Freiburg

5.-7.9.2014 FAIR TRADE & FRIENDS trifft mAppetizing Die App auf der größten Messe rund um den Fairen Handel

25.6.2014 subculture Freiburg mAppetizing Freiburg – Umweltbewusst und sozial gerecht essen

01.06.2014 Android Pit 5 Sterne für mAppetizing Freiburg

25.5.2014 Foot Tank 10 Urban Agriculture Projects from Europe’s Greenest City: Freiburg, Germany

15.5.2014 ClimateCultureCommunicationsLab  We introduce: Philipp Gassner #SUI14

3.5.2014 Food and Drink App Search mAppetizing- a star rated food and drink application, a popular download in the Apple App Store!

20.4.2014 Uni Leben 02 2014 Nachhaltig Essen in Freiburg

20.3.2014 DAAD Millennium Express Getting the problem out and on the table

19.3.2014 Radio Baden FM [download mp3] (M)Appetizing Freiburg

18.03.2014 uniCross Das Online-Magazin von Studierenden (M)Appetizing Freiburg Kompass für nachhaltigen Konsum


24.2.2014 Radio Regenbogen [download mp3] (M)Appetizing Freiburg

24.02.2014 University of Freiburg Landing Page Umweltbewusst und sozial gerecht essen

24.02.2014 Badische Zeitung Neue App aus Freiburg weist Weg zu Öko und Fairtrade

20.02.2014 Mappetizing Freiburg: Freiburger Studenten entwickeln App für nachhaltige Ernährung

20.02.2014 Podcasts Universität Freiburg Cost of Food

19.92.2014 Uni-leben (Ausgabe 1/2014, Seite 4) Diksussionsrunde ‘The Cost of Food’

19.02.2014 uniCross Das Online-Magazin von Studierenden App-Präsentation mit Diksussionsrunde

18.02.2014 Badische Zeitung Debatte “Cost of Food” Wie kommen die Preise von Lebensmitteln zustande?

18.02.2014 ETH Zürich World Food System Center Workshop, panel discussion, and exhibition

11.2.2014 Badische Zeitung Veranstaltungskalender Cost of Food …

11.2.2014 Studentenwerk Freiburg-Schwarzwald Woher kommt unser Essen?

8.2.2014 United Nations Safe Planet: Basel, Rotterdam & Stockholm Conventions  Advertising the panel discussion and app

5.2.2014 Cluster Green City (Eng) Das Unternehmensnetzwerk für Umwelt- und Solarwirtschaft in der Region Freiburg ‘Freiburg Forum on Environmental Governance 2014 “the Cost of Food” – Panel Discussion’

10.1. 2014 DAAD millennium-expressTicket to a fair future-  ”What is the real cost of food?’


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