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2013, Thu, Jan 10

The Anthropocene: Where on Earth Are We Going?

Keynote by Will Steffen

Welcome: Bernd M. Scherer (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin), Reinhold Leinfelder (Institut für Geologische Wissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin), Christian Schwägerl (science journalist and author, Berlin)


The Anthropocene: Where on Earth Are We Going?

Keynote by Will Steffen (Climate Change Institute at Australian National University, Canberra). Introduction and talk: Helmuth Trischler (Deutsches Museum, Rachel Carson Center, Munich)

As one of the major proponents of the Anthropocene hypothesis, Will Steffen explores its historical origins and scientific basis. From humanity’s hunter-gatherer beginnings to the previous century’s post-war global acceleration of populations, technologies and consumption habits, the main question this lecture addresses is: where is all of this leading? Is the Great Acceleration the “new normal,” or will the earth system force the Anthropocenic era into a different direction? Steffen proposes an evaluation of the planetary future’s possibilities, asking: are we on the road to global sustainability or are we poised for global collapse?



Reinhold Leinfelder (Berlin) is a geologist and professor at Freie Universität Berlin (head of the study group Geobiologie und Anthropozänforschung) and at Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. He ia a memberof the Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen and of the Sachverständigenbeirat für Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege des Landes Berlin.


Bernd M. Scherer (Berlin) is director of HKW. The philosopher and author of several publications focusing on aesthetics and international cultural exchange came to HKW from Goethe Institute, where he served as director of the Goethe-Institut Mexico from 1999 through 2004 and subsequently as director of the Arts Department for the main office in Munich. Since January 2011, he has also been teaching at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin.


Christian Schwägerl (Berlin) is a journalist and writer, focusing on transformations in science and ecology and their consequences for60politics and society. The author of Menschenzeit (2010) and 11 drohende Kriege (2012), he has been awarded the Georg von Holtzbrinck Preis für Wissenschaftsjournalismus and the Econsense-Journalistenpreis. He is a project director and curator in the anthropocene Project.


Will Steffen (Canberra) is based at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University (ANu) Climate Change Institute, and is also an associate researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Hehas written on adapting land use to climate change, bringing human processes into the modeling and analysis of the earth system, and the history of and future prospects for the relationship between the natural world and humans. AlongsidePaul Crutzen, Steffen has been a prominent advocate of the concept of the Anthropocene.


Helmuth Trischler (Munich) is head of research at the Deutsches Museum and professor of modern history and history of technology at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität and serves as co-director of Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. He has worked intensely in the fields of social history, the history of science and59technology, transport history, and environmental history.


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