Dr. Helge Kminek: Planetary Thinking – Reflections From Educational Science on Requirements, Possibilities and Limitations

Helge kminek

February 09, 2022 online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Roland Borgards, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

He is recognized for his work on reconstructive school and teaching research, philosophy didactics, and education for sustainable development.


"It is probably indisputable that pedagogy, i.e. education and "Bildung", can contribute to the necessary transformation towards sustainable societies. However, it is disputed in the sub-disciplines of education science "Education for Sustainable Development" how such a pedagogy should be conceptualised. And it is also hard to speak of a generally shared empirical research situation because the methodological and methodical differences common to the social sciences at least make it difficult to work on a common state of research on empiricism. If the approach of Planetary Thinking is taken at its word, then this increases the complexity even further.
The lecture addresses this issue by structuring the field and developing research questions. The work on these (further developed) research questions offers the prospect of bringing the approach of Planetary Thinking and educational research into a fruitful dialogue."

PD. Dr. Diana Hummel: Planetary Thinking and Human Population Dynamics in the Anthropocene. A Perspective from Social Ecology

Dr  diana hummel

January 19, 2022, online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Joachim Curtius, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu


In the debate about the Anthropocene - the “age of humans”-  the topic of human population dynamics is gaining (renewed) significance and is subject to controversial scientific and public discussion. In conjunction with climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion, population growth is considered to be one of the key global challenges for sustainable development. Diana Hummel will illustrate how the issue of human population dynamics can be critically addressed in the context of planetary thinking. In her presentation, she outlines several narratives of population and development and presents this field from the perspective of Social Ecology, which relates population dynamics to issues of shaping societal relations to nature.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Curtius: Planetary Thinking and Climate Change: Perspectives for a Global Challenge

Joachim curtius

December 08, 2021, online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

He is recognized for his research on Experimental Atmospheric Research. His scientific interests focus on atmospheric aerosol, atmospheric ions and ion clusters, aerosol composition, trace gases, aerosol-cloud-interactions, aircraft emissions, and aerosol impacts on climate.

The emission of long-lived trace gases into the atmosphere might be the most obvious example of the true global challenges of the Anthropocene. Every additional ton of CO2 from fossil sources is evenly distributed into the entire atmosphere and contributes to the resulting climate change for centuries. Each ton of CO2 contributes a tiny bit to all of the resulting regional changes and individual manifestations of climate change everywhere, which – in total – threaten all ecosystems and all human societies. As human individuals we are not used to include a planetary perspective of responsibility into our daily actions and decisions, and our strong preference for individual benefits leads to the well-known tragedy of the commons. Additionally, there is very little time left for negotiating fair and adequate measures to overcome this planetary threat. While the necessary action and the required transformations are completely obvious from the natural scientist’s perspective, the observed delays in finding and implementing solutions through political processes such as the COP conferences and resulting treaties are critical. Similar to the invention of insurances and social security as a way of socializing individual risks that cannot be handled by the individual, the paradigm shift of Planetary Thinking needs to result in solutions that implement a planetary security to prevent humankind from overstepping critical planetary boundaries, be it for avoiding dangerous climate change or other risks such as biodiversity loss, pollution or overuse of resources.

Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf: Thinking Like a Planet - A Normative Exploration


November 10, 2021, online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

In his widely influential essay "Thinking Like a Mountain," the pioneer of 20th century conservationism, Aldo Leopold, argued that the appropriate regard for the environment requires appreciating the complex inter-relations and dependencies of natural systems. Leopold argued that we should adopt the regard to what he called "biotic communities." Since Leopold's time we have come to realize that planet Earth also contains complex systems of interdependence. This has recently been forcefully articulated by natural scientists under the rubric of Planetary Boundaries. The presentation explores the extent to which "thinking like a planet" offers a compelling normative approach for humanity in the age of the Anthropocene.

Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf is recognized for his research on international political theory and philosophy. His scientific interests include also climate justice, global justice, and war theory.

Prof. Dr. Katrin Böhning-Gaese: Planetary thinking and nature conservation

July 1, 2021 | online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Roland Borgards, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

She is recognized for her work on the relationships between humans and ecosystems, in particular the influence of global climate and land use change on biodiversity and ecosystems and the relationships between biodiversity and human well-being.
Planetary thinking and nature conservation Katrin Böhning-Gaese Together with the climate and water crisis, the loss of biodiversity is the third existential environmental crisis of the planet. One out of 8 million species is threated by extinction; we are currently at the beginning of the 6th global mass extinction event in earth history. The presentation of Katrin Böhning-Gaese will show how planetary thinking changed nature conservation, in particular the protection of species and sites. By the combination of knowledge on the global spatial distribution of species and sites, by a network of global, regional and local institutions, and by conventions, laws and action at the global, regional and local scale, it was possible to identify the species and sites most threatened and important from a planetary perspective and to protect at least some of them successfully. Nevertheless, further measures to protect and advance biodiversity need a much deeper change in human-nature relationships and fundamental transformations of social-ecological systems towards sustainability.


Prof. Dr. Claus Leggewie, Dr. Frederic Hanusch: Planetary Thinking - an introduction

June 10, 2021 | online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hickler, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu


They are recognized for their work in political science and on global change. They initiated the “Panel Planetary Thinking” at Giessen University.

Planetary Thinking describes a widened worldview that is increasingly being adopted in science and beyond: a new, transgressive way of thinking which we discuss as a "Denkkollektiv" (thought collective) in its characteristics and potential consequences. As we currently seem to be approaching the end of the world as we know it, this might be the perfect time to rid ourselves of the anthropocentric concept of globalization and begin to ‘think the planet.’ In our talk, we start by compiling a genealogy of planetary thinking, draft a systematization, take a step into planetary constellations and provide planetary perspectives.

Prof. Dr. Petra Döll: Planetary thinking in support of a sustainable water management

May 20, 2021 | online | co-hosts: Dr. Philipp Schink, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

She is recognized for her work on global freshwater modeling and on transdisciplinary and participatory research methods.

Water scarcity, water pollution, sea level rise … Planetary thinking is necessary to achieve a sustainable management of our freshwater resources. Planetary thinking means to think about planet Earth as a social-ecological system or rather as consisting of very many social-ecological systems where humans, non-human biota and the other parts of the Earth system interact. And it means to think about the whole globe as one spatial entity with manifold connections among spatial locations and sub-systems. In her presentation, Petra Döll will show global-scale analyses of water flows and storages on the continents and how they are affected by human activities. These quantitative estimates of human interference with the Earth system help to identify how human activities should be changed to enable a sustainable development of (not only) the global freshwater system.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke: Planetary thinking and New Materialism

April 22, 2021 | online | co-hosts: Prof. Dr. Petra Döll, Dr. Camelia-Eliza Telteu

He is recognized for his contributions to science and technology studies and his work on governmentality and biopolitics.


The talk undertakes a kind of preliminary mapping of planetary thought. I will start with the question: what is planetary thought, explaining what I mean by thought and how I understand the planetary. The next part introduces the new materialisms and hopefully clarifies how they fit into the picture of the planetary. I will present central themes and features, point to some promising aspects and expose one serious shortcoming of this strand of thought, namely how new materialisms perform the critique of anthropocentrism. The last part proposes what might be considered a draft definition of planetary thought.