Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Münchner Hochschultage

The Hochschultage: Ökosoziale Marktwirtschaft & Nachhaltigkeit are a series of events hosted by various universities throughout Germany on topics relating to sustainability and the possibility of creating a socially and ecologically healthy economy.

The Munich Hochschultage are organized and hosted by an alliance of local universities, as well as various government and non-profit institutions (e.g., BenE München, Verein für Nachhaltigkeit e. V., Forum Ökosoziale Marktwirtschaft), including the Rachel Carson Center. These multi-day events include podium discussions, workshops, and film screenings. An important goal is for scholars, politicians, and representatives of the private sector to come together and develop ideas for the future, as well as presenting their research to the general public.

The RCC was the lead organizer of the 5th and 6th Hochschultage in 2014 and a sponsor of individual events at the Hochschultage since 2015.

The 13th Münchner Hochschultage (4 –7 June 2018) will focus on the following topics: How does luxury relate to frugality? Is luxury only possible without frugality? Or is it also possible to speak of “frugality as luxury”? And how can we create a model for sustainable consumption in times of increased consumerism?

The 12th Münchner Hochschultage (11–14 December 2017) looked at how we can change our everyday lives to make them more sustainable. Community-supported agriculture (CSA), co-op living spaces, and repair cafés are some examples of how we can rethink our consumption patterns. But what if we went even further? Car-free cities, economic systems focused on the common good rather than economic growth, or alternative housing concepts are just some examples of how we could change everyday life. Different workshops will explore the feasibilty of these ideas. The RCC's contribution to the Hochschultage is a screening of the movie "In Transition 2.0" followed by an expert discussion.

The 11th Münchner Hochschultage (30 May–1 June 2017), entitled “Work(ing) In a Sustainable Society” (Arbeit(en) in einer nachhaltigen Gesellschaft), focused on how digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence will change our future working lives. How could these changes play out in a sustainable, future-oriented workplace? How can we ensure social justice and environmental protection in the workplace 4.0?

The 10th Münchner Hochschultage (6–10 December 2016) focused on the topic of equity and justice, examining the connections between human rights and sustainability. It concluded with an all-day event organized in collaboration with the Münchner Tag der Menschenrechte (Munich Human Rights Day). The Lunchtime Colloquium on 8 December by Bruno Latour on “From the Anthropocene to the New Climatic Regime” was the RCC's contribution to this Hochschultage event.

The 9th Münchner Hochschultage (7, 9, and 12 June 2016), entitled “Schöne Aussicht oder dünne Luft?—Wie wollen wir weiter wachsen?” focused on the topic of our economic system and the question of whether there are alternatives to a growth-based model. It included a roundtable discussion and an “expert slam” with creative explorations of alternative economic concepts, including presentations in the form of theater sketches and poetry, as well as an info booth at the annual Streetlife Festival on Leopoldstraße. The RCC participated in the Hochschultage with a special Lunchtime Colloquium featuring Oliver Richters on “Why Can't We Stop?”

The 8th Münchner Hochschultage (23 November–1 December 2015) on the topic of “Climate Justice” was planned to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. Events included screenings of the films 10 Milliarden and This Changes Everything, workshops on the energy transition and nature protection, presentations on food security, fracking, and climate justice, and a live screening of the conference in Paris. Munich residents also had an opportunity to participate in the Global Climate March on 29 November, demonstrations organized in major cities around the world on the eve of the opening of the Climate Change Conference.

The 7th Münchner Hochschultage (16–17 June 2015) turned its attention to issues surrounding water. The first day, dedicated to “Internationale Wasserkonflikte” looked at how globalization, industrialization, and a growing population have resulted in unequal distribution of water resources and turned water into a source of political conflict. The second day turned to “Wasserfußabdruck & Virtuelles Wasser.” Just as we have a carbon footprint, we also have a water footprint; in order to understand our water usage, we must consider the amount of water required to produce everyday articles, such as a cotton t-shirt. In addition to the panel discussions and presentations, the Hochschultage also included an info fair and a ceremony for the Nachhaltigkeitspreis awarded to Munich university students for theses and dissertations on sustainability-related topics.

The 6th Münchner Hochschultage (20–28 November 2014) was titled “Planet Müll—Unser Vermächtnis” (“Planet Trash—Our Legacy”). It included a discussion on the reality of applying the cradle-to-cradle principle to electronics and interactive workshops on topics such as waste-pickers in developing countries, industrial symbiosis as a way of reducing waste, and upcycling. RCC Director Christof Mauch moderated a podium discussion on “Our Society and Its Waste,” while RCC Affiliated Professor Eveline Dürr and members of the LMU ethnology department led a workshop on the ways waste and sustainability are embedded in everyday practices such as eating. A satellite workshop was held at the Deutsches Museum on the topic of turning waste into valuable material.

The 5th Münchner Hochschultage (14–16 June 2014) was dedicated to the topic “Wa(h)re Zeit”—the acceleration of life, our perception of time, and the commodification of time. Events included a film evening at the Gasteig (featuring Speed and a discussion with its director, Florian Opitz), a workshop on speed and time with RCC fellows from Italy and the United States, and a talk and podium with sociologist Hartmut Rosa.