International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)



23rd Vilm Summer Academy on fundamental issues of nature protection

The 23rd Vilmer Summer Academy will be held from 24 to 28 July 2024. The topic of the event is 'Side issue or central building block? The role of nature conservation in and for the socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable society.'

The need for comprehensive social change and transformation processes is increasingly evident, despite or perhaps because of current political counter-movements and forces of inertia. It is now clear that industrialised societies must reduce their production and consumption to a sustainable level that is compatible with nature in terms of biodiversity and climate. This means that societies can no longer sustain permanently high growth rates that require increasing resources, even if they were to switch completely to renewable raw materials. As a result, these societies must politically reinvent themselves as post-growth societies. There are no historical models for this, and the political, ethical, and socio-economic challenges and uncertainties are significant.

What role can and should nature conservation play in supporting this transformation? There is a widespread desire for nature in many parts of society, albeit often unspecific and in various forms. Can this desire be harnessed to generate the necessary momentum for a socially transformative process that is also beneficial for nature conservation? What are the specific nature conservation projects and measures that have transformative potential, and what characteristics are important for them? The Summer Academy 2024 will address fundamental debates in nature conservation regarding social change. This includes criticism of nature-destroying industrial modernity and alienation from nature in a technologically shaped world, as well as criticism of growth and the demand for frugality instead of 'more and more'. Additionally, the academy will explore current political transformation movements and approaches related to climate and biodiversity crises. The Summer Academy will discuss the need for action, such as the implementation of a new National Biodiversity Strategy. The discussion will focus on how official nature conservation can operate to achieve transformation potential and conservation goals. It will also explore the new tasks that will arise for nature conservation associations, networks, and local activities.

Information on registration for the Vilm Summer Academy is expected to be published on the BfN website in spring 2024.