Culture and Climate Change – Humanities and Social Sciences

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Germany’s energy transition is taking off; © Stephan Leyk/Fotolia

Climate protection – The energy transition is on track

Germany is the land of the “Energiewende”. The goals are an ambitious climate protection programme and an exit from nuclear power. Renewables are already the most important source of electricity.More ...
Jörg Hacker; © David Ausserhofer für die Leopoldina

Do we need a world government for climate protection?

The international community continues to search for answers to the problems generated by climate change. One important step is the closer cooperation between politics ands science.More ...
Rainer Quitzow; © TU Berlin

“It’s also about quality” – environmental economist Rainer Quitzow on green jobs

What is there to green jobs? An interview with Rainer Quitzow, expert on environmental policy and innovation economics.More ...
In Amhara the deforestation process and erosion, has increased the area’s proneness to droughts and flooding. | Photo: Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 European Commission DG ECHO

Environmental Migration – Adapting to Climate Change

The flight from inhospitable places is one of the most ancient strategies of human civilization. This is also true of adaptation to climate change.More ...
The Anthropocene Project, Xavier Le Roy, John Law, “Techné” | Photo: Jakob Hoff, © Haus der Kulturen der Welt

The Anthropocene Project

Mankind has inscribed itself in the history of the earth. This is the premise of the much-debated Anthropocene thesis. A two-year interdisciplinary project in the Berlin House of World Cultures is discussing the consequences of the thesis.More ...
Full Moon partially obscured by the atmosphere of Earth © Nasa via Wikimedia Commons

The discovery of human influence on the climate

In 1824 a researcher realised that the climate is determined by gases in the atmosphere. Human influence on that was realised only 80 years later.More ...
Protest Rally Toronto © Gadjo Sevilla

The Great Transformation – How the Shift in Values Is Generating Policy Shift

The failure of the climate negotiations has resulted in a radical questioning of trust in the constitutive powers of policy-making.More ...
Albrecht Dürer, „apocalypsis“

The Future, Its Past and Present

The cosmos and with it nature and its unceasing change were already there before they produced human beings, and they will continue to exist after human beings cease to be.More ...
La Jamais Contente, the fastest vehicle of its day, in 1899. Photo: Archive © Goethe-Institut

Climate, Eco and Green Technology
How Environmental Problems Are Reflected in Language

Awareness of environmental problems since the 1960s has also generated its own language in societies in which these problems are frequently discussed. German in particular has a wealth of new words that have evolved from environmental issues. Our translators and readers can decide for themselves whether the other languages of Fikrun wa Fann / Art & Thought also have equivalents. By Rolf-Bernhard EssigMore ...
Ferry for school children on the Solo river in Java. From the Goethe-Institut exhibition RiverScapes. Photo: Budi N. D. Dharmawan © Goethe-Institut

Thinking in the Future Perfect
Climate Change as Social Change

Climate change is forcing us to rethink our hypermobile lifestyle. This also constitutes an opportunity, and confronts us with the question of how we actually want to live. Climate change is offering us a procedure to resolve the problem of our future living conditions. Looming natural disaster is forcing human beings to address the question of what kind of society they want to live in in the future. By Claus LeggewieMore ...
Garbage collectors beside the Solo river in Java. Fom the Goethe-Institut exhibition RiverScapes. Photo: Budi N. D. Dharmawan © Goethe-Institut

‘We Must Cultivate Our Garden’
Cultural Dimensions of Global Environmental Issues

The desire to have clean sources of energy, a healthy environment, and fewer emissions may often seem like a luxury at a time when so many around the world are fighting just to survive. The reality is, however, that no one can afford not to think about environmental issues. It has become evident that shaping the future of life on our planet is not only a technical and economic process, but a cultural one too. By Susanne StemmlerMore ...
Professor Martin Jänicke; © oekom

“We do not need high growth rates” – Martin Jänicke talks about environmental policy in the financial crisis

The financial and sovereign debt crises appear to be pushing environmental, climate and energy policy to the bottom of the political agenda.More ...
The forest as mother; © Wofgang Kapfhammer

The Amazonian Relationship between Man and Nature

Could animist indigenous peoples show us the way out of the climate crisis as a crisis of man?More ...
 © Gunther Kreis

The Future of the Climate – Geoengineering as Plan B?

To keep the increase in global warming under two degrees, world-wide greenhouse gas emissions will have to be radically reduced in the medium term. Geoengineering is being discussed as an option to slow down global warming. But what does it involve?More ...
Professor Claus Leggewie; Photo: Volker Wiciok, © Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI)

From Social Science of Climate Culture to an Interdisciplinary Transformation Research

The call has become louder for input from the social and cultural sciences and the humanities, especially with respect to coping with the man-made risks and “natural” disasters.More ...
Futurzwei-Logo; © Futurzwei

“Future Perfect” – Blueprints for the Good Life

Instead of lamenting over climate change, growth and consumer madness, it wants to narrate the lived alternatives for tomorrow and embolden people to make changes.More ...
Michael Succow and his foundation campaign for the preservation of intact stretches of countryside both in Germany and abroad; © Michael Succow Stiftung

Is Eco-energy Going to be a Curse? An Interview with Michael Succow

More wind turbines, high-voltage power lines and monocultures for biogas plants – is the turnaround in Germany's energy policy going to be to the detriment of Germany's countryside?More ...
Summer University event in Germany; © Internationale Universität

Learning to Communicate Environmental Issues: The International University

The International University provides training in audio-visual communication to those working in environmental professions and the media.More ...
Iceberg in Greenland; © Martin Schwan /

Morality as a Question of Survival – Bernward Gesang’s climate ethics

In his book Klimaethik, Bernward Gesang wants to find a solution to the climate crisis.More ...
© Kerstin Selle –

At the Mercy of the Climate? Nico Stehr and Hans von Storch in an Interview

Nico Stehr and Hans von Storch are talking about the socially constructed perception of our climate.More ...
Gabriele Gramelsberger; © private

“Climate models reflect environmental behaviour”. An Interview with Gabriele Gramelsberger

High performance computers are leading to entirely new forms of knowledge production in climate research.More ...
© Sergey Tokarev -

“Geo-engineering only provides an excuse” – Joachim Radkau in an Interview

Should we spray sulphur dioxide in the stratosphere against the climate change?More ...
Green University students discuss at grass-roots level what life might be like without oil; photo: Thomas Finger

Environmental Idealists – Students and the Green University

German students look for ways out of the environmental crisis.More ...
Logo zum Jahr der Biodiversität 2010; © UNO

Biodiversity: The Miracle of Nagoya

The “International Year of Biodiversity” ends with a surprising success!More ...
Logo Our Common Future

Climate Change – The Revolution In Our Daily Lives Is A Long Time Coming

What problems will people be confronted with in the future? This was the question at the congress entitled “Our Common Future”.More ...
Marion Rolle; Photo: private

“Women Are More Vulnerable” – Marion Rolle on Gender and Climate Change

Climate change affects women to a much greater extent than men, yet their needs often go unnoticed.More ...

The Shift from a “Restructuring of Industrial Society” to Socio-Ecological Research

Since the year 2000 the funding priority at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been on socio-ecological research.More ...
© Colourbox

The Concept of Vulnerability – A Theory for the Problems of Tomorrow

When a society proves itself to be incapable of recognising its own vulnerability, the way is paved for natural phenomena to unleash their destructive force.More ...
Thomas Saretzki; © Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

“De-Democratization Is No Solution” – An Interview With Thomas Saretzki

The ecological crisis is plunging the constitutional democracy into a growing legitimacy crisis – but this should not be seen as grounds for authoritarian mind games.More ...
“This crisis has most certainly changed the world.” Photo: Sabine Braun

“We can’t afford another crisis” – an interview with Claudia Kemfert

Professor Claudia Kemfert is Germany’s leading economics expert in the areas of energy research and climate protection. Her second book, “Jetzt die Krise nutzen” (lit. “Exploit the crisis now”), was published in 2009.More ...
Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) “Das Eismeer”, ca.1823/24 © picture-alliance / akg-images

On a Contemporary Aesthetics of Nature

For a long time, aesthetic experience played an almost equally important role as scientific experience in the understanding and shaping of the natural world.More ...
© Laleh Torabi. The illustration was published for the first time in „Bessere Zukunft? Auf der Suche nach den Räumen von Morgen“ by Friedrich von Borries, Matthias Böttger and Florian Heilmeyer (raumtaktik, Berlin), Merve publishing, Berlin 2008.

Climate of the Future

Questions concerning the cultural assumptions about and the consequences of climate change are currently being discussed in a wide variety of contexts. Yet also at issue is what each of us can do to counter impending disasters.More ...
Ludger Heidbrink; © barbora

The Culture of Ecological Responsibility – An Interview with Ludger Heidbrink

Can climate change stimulate a cultural reconstruction of industrial societies? An interview on the culture of responsibility with philosopher Ludger Heidbrink.More ...
Takashi Horisaki “Social Dress New Orleans – 730 days after”, 2007; Installation, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York © Takashi Horisaki, courtesy of the artist

Borderless Inequality

Who is on the way up, and who is on the way down in this era of globalization and climate change? A sociological view from the author of The World Risk Society.More ...
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