Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • 15 to 30 min
    Up to 3 lecture units
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Instruction file

Additional attachments

Sustainability inquired philosophically - Atmosphere(Resource ID: 154)

As sustainability is a complex multidimensional concept it must be approached in a transdisciplinary manner. Ten modules with different topics, like earth, ecosystems, consumption, sun, energy, use of solar energy, water – a resource in danger, hydrological cycle, atmosphere, air pollution are introduced. Every module offers materials from the areas: philosophy, biology, as well as examples from art, music and literature as basis for philosophical dialogue. It is about clearing and experiencing the essential concepts and understanding the process of sustainable development. Students should be encouraged to ask questions, to promote their critical, creative and caring thinking and their reflection ability. Developing a „community of inquiry“ students can have influence for example on the following questions: „How can we responsibly have influence on the future development? How does one make sustainability a reality within our society?“ By thinking together it shall come to a critical discussion with the sustainability topic.

The aim of the modules is to introduce philosophical tools to students by offering them transdisciplinary approaches. Starting from ten topics (earth, ecosystems, consumption, sun, energy, use of solar energy, water – a resource in danger, hydrological cycle, atmosphere, air pollution) this compon offers bases and the precondition for a common philosophical dialog. Areas of the philosophy, biology as well as the art, music and literature, are introduced. It is about clearing and experiencing the essential concepts and about showing processes of a sustainable development.

The methodically didactic, philosophical concept requires a facilitator (a companion of the conversation). As in the case of the Socratic teaching conversation she/he similarly functions as a questioner. The students shall be stimulated to share and to promote their reflection competence. This serves to lead a critical, reasoned, creative and significant dialog - and so it corresponds to the intention of a philosophical conversation.

The philosophical dialogue is a successful education strategy for a sustainable development. Students have the possibility to articulate their wishes and needs and to reflect collaboratively with other students.

Such an education strategy gains increasingly significance for a society which doesn't consider environmental protection - according to a sustainable development - alone as a task of the state but as a task of every single person: „Sustainability can not be made and converted as a program but be started and made come true only as a process."

Learning Outcomes
- Critical Thinking
- Creative Thinking
- Caring Thinking
- Empathy
- Giving reasons
- Formulating questions
- Dialogical abilities
- Concept development
- Constructing hypotheses
- Operationalizing concepts
- Identifying and using criteria
- Grasping part-whole and whole –part connections
- Identifying underlying assumptions
- Drawing conclusions
- Anticipating, predcting and estimating consequences
- Contextualzing
- Distingushing causes and reasons
- Recognizing ambiguities
- Recognizing similarities and differences
- Formulating cause-effect relationships
- Working with analogies
- Thought experiments
- Consulting experiences of one's own
- Watching, analyzing, describing
Relevance for Sustainability
The integration of a truly reflective dialogue, and the introduction of philosophical method of inquiry helps to clear the complex concept of sustainability. It is about clearing and experiencing the essential concepts and showing processes of a sustainable development. The philosophical dialogue fosters skills and abilities, which are indispensable for regaining our future according to “ Sustainable Development”.
Teaching Methods
Sustainability criteria
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Related to global challenges / needs
  • Holistic thinking
  • Systemic thinking
  • Long-term thinking
  • Student centred teaching approach
  • Related to acquiring knowledge
  • Related to acquiring skills
  • Strengthens strategic competence
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links

Zusätzliche Literatur:


Birnbacher, Dieter (Hrsg.): Ökologie und Ethik. Stuttgart 1980.

Birnbacher, Dieter: Verantwortung für zukünftige Generationen. Stuttgart 1988.

Caney, D.: „Justice and the Distribution of Greenhouse Gas Emissions“, In: Journal of Global Ethics, 5 (2) 2009, 125-146

Caney, D.: „Climate Change and the Duties oft the Advantaged“, In: Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 13 (1) 2010, 203-228

Caney, D.: „Markets, Morality and Climate Change: What, if Anything is Wrong with Emissions Trading“, In: New Political Economy, 15/2 2010, 197-224

Gethmann, Carl Friedrich/Mittelstrass Jürgen (Hrsg.): „Langzeitverantwortung. Ethik, Technik, Ökologie“, Darmstadt 2008

Grosseries, A.: „Historic Emissions and Free Riding“, In: Ethical Perspectives, 11 2004, 36-60

Hayward, T.: „Human Rights versus Emissions Rights. Climate Justice and the Equitable Distribution of Ecological Space“ In: Ethics and International Affairs, 4/21 2007, 431-450

Jonas, Hans: „Das Prinzip der Verantwortung: Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation“, Frankfurt am Main 1984

Jonas, Hans: „Prinzip Verantwortung – Zur Grundlegung einer Zukunftsethik“, In: Drebs, Angelika (Hrsg.): „Naturethik“, Frankfurt am Main 1997, 165-181

Kaatsch, Hans-Jürgen (Hrsg.): „Umweltethik“, Münster 2006

Meyer, Lukas H./Roser Dominic: „Intergenerationelle Gerechtigkeit. Die Bedeutung von zukünftigen Klimaschäden für die heutige Klimapolitik“, Auftraggeber: Bundesamt für Umwelt (31S.), Bern 2007, Bezug: BAFU und im Internet veröffentlicht:

Meyer, Lukas H.: „Klimawandel und Gerechtigkeit“, In: Transit 36, 2009, 80-107

Meyer, Lukas H.: „Diskussion, Antworten auf Fragen zu ’Klimawandel und Gerechtigkeit‘”, In: Wallacher, Johannes/Scharpenseel, Karoline (Hrsg.): „Klimawandel und globale Armut“ Stuttgart 2009, 99-107

Meyer, Lukas H.: „Klimawandel und Gerechtigkeit”, In: Wallacher, Johannes/Scharpenseel, Karoline (Hrsg.): „Klimawandel und globale Armut“ Stuttgart 2009, 71-98

Meyer, Lukas H.: „Rechte zukünftiger Menschen”, In: Sandkühler, Hans Jörg (Hrsg.): Europäische Enzyklopädie zu Philosophie und Wissenschaften, 2. Aufl., Hamburg 2010

Meyer, Lukas H./ Roser, Dominic: „Climate Justice and Historical Emissions”, in: 4. and 5, 2010,  229-53

Meyer, Lukas H.: „Klimawandel und historische Gerechtigkeit“, In: Berthold Meyer/Volker Matthies (Hrsg.), „Klimawandel und Konflikte (AFK Friedenschriften)“, Baden-Baden 2011

Meyer, Lukas H./ Roser, Dominic: „Klimaökonomische Studien und intergenerationelle Gerechtigkeit“, In: Bucholz, Werner (Hrsg.), Wirtschaftsethische Perspektiven IX., Berlin 2011

Meyer, Lukas H./Roser, Dominic: The Timing of Benefits of Climate Policies. Reconsidering the Opoortunity Cost Argument. In: Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik. 16/ 2011.

Mutschler, Hans-Dieter: „Naturphilosophie“, Stuttgart 2002.

Ott, Konrad/Döring, Ralf: Theorie und Praxis starker Nachhaltigkeit. 2. überarb. Aufl., Marburg 2008.

Ott, Konrad: Umweltethik zur Einführung. Hamburg 2010.


Weiterführende Links:


Weiterführende Filme:

„The Globalization Saga - Balance or destruction”

Franz Josef Radermacher, Solvig Wehsener, Kai Mettler

Infos unter: http://www.faw-neu-ulm.de/

Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

Comments Write Comment


Mag. Dr.phil. Dr.h.c. Daniela G. Camhy
Anja Lindbichler


Daniela Camhy
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
KFUG - Karl-Franzens-University Graz
Institute of Philosophy


Creative Commons

Pillars of Sustainability

  • environment

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • Video
  • Discussion / debate
  • Reflection