THE TRIPLE BENEFIT PRINCIPLE - CAN WE REALLY LIVE IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY?
A 15 minutes short film by Klaus Renoldner and Laura Skocek, produced in 2018
Based on his experiences working as a physician in Latin America and a rural Austrian community, Klaus Renoldner developed the Triple Benefit Principle between 1996 and 2011 as an attempt to realize a sustainable and ecologically compatible lifestyle. The three facets of the Triple Benefit Principle are:
1. living a low carbon lifestyle in housing, consumption and transport
2. improving health through cycling at individual, local, and global scales
3. investing the savings gained from facet 1 in renewable energy generation
After experimenting in transport logistics for over ten years, Renoldner developed the MOBILITY educational game in 2006 and began conducting MOBILITY workshops in which participants explore the sustainability impacts of various transport scenarios and train in the logistics of tailoring sustainable transport solutions to individual needs. Cycling plays a key role over shorter distances because of its multiple benefits: causing almost zero emissions, improving health, and saving money. Even across longer distances the combination of cycling with train travel is generally a cheaper and healthier solution than travelling by car.
The financial savings achieved can amount to several thousand euros per year. Investment of these savings in the provision of renewable energy and other sustainable projects (not in consumer goods!) brought Klaus and his family to the so-called individual energy break-even point within a couple of years. At this stage they are able to generate a net amount of clean energy equal to double their own gross energy consumption, and supply the remainder to the general public.
The Triple Benefit Principle has its limits, but still holds enormous potential according to a large analysis (N=1247) conducted in 2014. It provides individuals with a way to take personal action where climate policy fails to prevent further transgression of planetary boundaries. In the context of mounting damage in the Global South caused by man-made climate change, this short film invites those who can to take responsibility and take action.