Living in: London, UK
Sebastian is a Senior Strategist at Greenpeace International where he helps shape the organisation’s global campaigning on trade and financial markets. In the past he has led successful campaigns and projects to challenge the unchecked expansion of the fossil fuel industry and to protect the world’s remaining rainforests. He was also deeply involved in the international climate negotiations, working on and later leading Greenpeace’s political work on forests within the United Nations climate process from 2012 to 2014.
He studied philosophy and economics at the University of Bayreuth, Germany and the University of São Paulo, Brazil and holds an MSc in Development Studies from LSE, UK. Among other things, his studies focused on the political influence of the private sector and its consequences for development and environmental policy-making.
Sebastian is a member of the Think Tank 30, an interdisciplinary network of young academics and practitioners. Affiliated with the Club of Rome, the think tank facilitates exchanges, research and work on different aspects of sustainability.
Sebastian has lived and worked in Germany, Brazil and the US and is currently based in London. He speaks German, English, Portuguese and Spanish.
Although he has lived close to the sea for most of his life, in his free time he usually heads into the mountains or – if that is not possible – to the nearest climbing wall.
Much of the public discourse around inequality seems to focus on two things: inequality as a predominantly economic outcome and inequality as a static endpoint. While I agree that this serves as a good starting point, I am particularly concerned with the power dynamics that ultimately cause inequality.
As an Atlantic Fellow I want to take a closer look not just at the symptoms but also at the causes of inequality. I am concerned that without changing the underlying structures leading to inequality, any solution will only be temporary.
I am particularly interested in the systemic causes of inequality because I think that many of the political structures causing inequality also create problems in other areas. Naturally for me one of those areas is the question of how inequality manifests itself in regard to how different strata of society are affected differently when it comes to the negative consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. In that, I want to look at how the (lack of) access to political power and transparency of political processes as well as the growing influence of corporate lobbying affects structural inequality.
I believe that only an integrated understanding of how inequality and its causes are interrelated with other major societal problems will allow us to address them. It is this belief that led me to apply to the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity. In my professional life I have found that even though on the face of it, fighting climate change can seem somewhat removed from questions of inequality, once you dig deeper you see how closely the two are related.
However, my interest in the Atlantic Fellows is not purely analytical. I hope that my campaigning experience will be useful for finding new ways to tackle inequality. Building on sound analysis, I believe that success in changing the structures leading to inequality hinges on our ability to exert pressure from outside of the system and our capability to establish narratives which render inequality unacceptable. Knowing how to translate complex issues into impactful campaigns I hope to be able to contribute to the real world impact of the programme.
I hope that the Atlantic Fellowship allows me to forge strong relationships with my peers that continue beyond the duration of the programme. I want to learn from the other fellows and incorporate those learnings into my work. For me real success would be to see the AFp incubate collaborations that “leave the classroom” – through new initiatives or by “cross-fertilizing” work in our respective organizations – and I want to contribute to making this a reality.