How can we manage and use natural resources in a more sustainable way? What are the invisible consequences of our consumption? And how can we benefit – especially in urban areas – from taking alternative approaches to urban planning and resource consumption? In 2023, experts from the research community, journalism, the arts and civil society came together through the Humboldt Residency Programme to re-think our use of global resources.
Ten participants from Belize, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa, Uruguay and the United Kingdom presented the results of their exchanges at the public digital final event on 28 November. In his opening address, Enno Aufderheide, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, noted: “We all know how critical the climate situation is in our world. And we know that the management of resources and consumption are at the heart of sustainable solutions. This overlapping of resource use and climate change was the inspiration for this year’s residency programme.”
Hidden impacts of consumption and “Choice Architects”
The programme’s participants examined the subject of resources from two different angles: One working group delved into the hidden impacts of global overconsumption and the effects of supposedly sustainable raw material production. The second group explored possible courses of action and societal decision-making processes relating to sustainability. Their work led them to write the manual “#IAmAChoiceArchitect’ which outlines what each and every one of us can do to foster a sustainable transformation of society.
Pratyush Shankar, creative lead of the group and professor of architecture from Vadodara, India, stressed once more the difficulty involved in grasping the various dimensions of sustainability. This is a ‘sensitive and complex issue’, he noted, adding that this was made particularly clear by the interdisciplinary work done by the group. At the same time, he underscored that “in order to tackle questions involving sustainability, we should take a step back from a purely tech-oriented approach. We must stretch our imaginations and reassess our relationship with the natural environment.”
Humboldt Residency Programme
Once a year, the Humboldt Residency Programme brings together an international, interdisciplinary group of researchers, players in civil society, artists and journalists to work conjointly on a socially relevant topic. The programme aims to generate synergies and new perspectives within the group and start a conversation with the general public. In 2023, the Residency Programme collaborated with the Cultural Foundation Schloss Wiepersdorf and the Climate Change Center Berlin-Brandenburg (CCC).
(Press release 34/2023)
Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains an interdisciplinary network of well over 30,000 Humboldtians in more than 140 countries around the world – including 61 Nobel Prize winners.