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Safe Landing: Reconfiguring Science and Democracy in the Face of Environmental Complexity

A Lecture as part of the Albrecht Daniel Thaer Kolloquium 2010 on 18 November

In view of an increasing amount of environmental dynamics threatening our existence, it seems that a deeper understanding of how to manage the relation between humans and their environment to the benefit of both is still missing. Some theorists argue that the type of complex environmental problems that societies face today in such diverse settings as Africa and Europe require an entirely new kind of “post-normal” science. In this context the question of the role of democratic values emerges, concerning the way we arrive at the instruments and measures that adequately account for our complex relation to the environment.

afe Landing:
Reconfiguring Science and Democracy in the Face of Environmental Complexity

18 November, 18:00 - 19:30
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Großer Saal
Schumannstr. 8, 10117 Berlin

Professor Richard B. Norgaard
University of California, Berkeley
Keynote & Discussion

Chair: Dr. Fritz Reusswig
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Dr. Imme Scholz (German Development Institute – DIE)
Professor Dr. Konrad Ott (Universität Greifswald)


Professor Richard B. Norgaard of the University of California, Berkeley will elaborate on the question of what kind of science we need in order to adequately tackle the described problems. Among others, he will discuss the potentially emerging tension between democratic values, the urgency of the problems at hand, and the knowledge and actions needed to address them. Furthermore, accepting that science only represents one, very specific perspective on the problems at hand, he will discuss how they could be articulated from alternative perspectives, such as those of environmental managers, consumers, producers, citizens or civil society representatives.

Can a different kind of science indeed adopt a more proactive role in connecting up what are often viewed as competing perspectives on how society should manage the complexity of the currently emerging environmental crisis?


Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Fachgebiet Ressourcenökonomie
Phone: +49 30 2093 6068/6305