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"Setting the Course. Paths to sustainable ways of life"


Economic growth and an increase in material wealth are aims of first importance in Western societies. But their effect is ambivalent. On the one hand they raise the standard of living; on the other hand they damage the foundations of life due to excessive consumption of resources, unconscionable pollution of the environment and a run-down society.  Thus it is obvious that this form of growth has its limits. It is increasingly apparent that the Western way of life will not be sustainable in the future.

What alterations should be made to render it sustainable for the future? What can Western societies learn from other cultures in this respect?

The Denkwerk Zukunft - Foundation for Cultural Renewal discussed this and other questions at the conference "Setting the Course. Paths to sustainable ways of life" in Berlin on Saturday, 15 January 2011.

List of speakers and panel members:

  • Michael von Brück, Professor of the Study of Religions at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  • Tanja Busse, Journalist, author and radio-host for the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Cologne, Germany
  • Elena Esposito, Professor of Sociology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • Diego Hangartner, General Secretary of Mind and Life International, based in Zurich, Switzerland, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Director of Program, Research and International, Mind and Life Institute, Boulder, USA
  • Gerald Huether, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Centre for Neurology and Prevention Research of the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Göttingen and the Institute of Public Health at the University of Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany
  • Dasho Karma, President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu, Bhutan
  • Meinhard Miegel, Chairman of Denkwerk Zukunft - Foundation for Cultural Renewal, Bonn, Germany
  • Herfried Münkler, Professor of Political Theory at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany
  • Juliet B. Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, USA
  • Sulak Sivaraksa, Former Professor of Social Change and founder of the Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation and of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Peter Sloterdijk, Rector and Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the State University of Art and Design Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Harald Welzer, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Memory Research at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen and Professor of Social Psychology at the University Witten-Herdecke, Germany.


What would we have to be like to survive? Ways of life which resources (nature, environment, humans, societies) can tolerate