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Welcome to the Panel on Planetary Thinking

"In times of crisis it is all the more evident that we have to say goodbye to narrow patterns of thought. The "Panel on Planetary Thinking" at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen overcomes the boundaries between disciplines and expands these in the sense of a planetary overall perspective. I am glad that the participating researchers are thus taking a closer look at the topic of "sustainability", which we have very consciously included in the Hessian Higher Education Pact 2021-2025. Among the higher education policy goals, it explicitly states that "Sustainability, in view of scientifically proven knowledge about the transgression of planetary boundaries, should play an important role in the actions of every university (planetary thinking)." (Angela Dorn, Hessian Minister for Science and Art)




23 November 2022: Guest Lecture by Claudia J. Ford “Writing Nature: Justice, Identity & Environmentalism in American Multicultural Literature" at University Klagenfurt



On 23 November 2022, our Fellow Claudia J. Ford was invited to the University Klagenfurt to give a lecture on "Writing Nature: Justice, Identity & Environmentalism in American Multicultural Literature". Among other things, she spoke about the literary representation of ecological injustice and discussed with the participants the potential of literary texts to communicate the voices of ethnic minorities in connection with ecological challenges to the public.

17 November 2022: Live Feature with Frederic Hanusch on the TV Show “Scobel – Zukunft gestalten” (Transforming the Future, 3sat)

The evening of Nov 17th, our scientific manager (currently fellow at The New Institute) Frederic Hanusch appeared live within a TV-feature: The German channel 3 Sat invited him as a guest to discuss future forms of living in conversation with Imke Woelk (architect & artist), Stefan Brunnhuber (economist & psychiatrist), and Gert Scobel (journalist & philosopher) at the show “scobel – Zukunft gestalten”. The show reflects on transforming the future in light of current planetary challenges. This episode, the round of guests debated on the interrelationship between democracy and climate policies, the effectiveness of “rights of nature” approaches in connection to transforming cities, and on the psychological challenges involved in changing our habits and renouncing our privileges. You can watch the full show on the 3sat Media Database.

08 November 2022: "Eigener Koordinator für Raumfahrt": FAZ article by Claus Leggewie about the conference "Hessen in Space" and challenges of sustainable space travel (german)


Claus Leggewie reports in his article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of 08.11.22 about the conference "Hessen in Space".  In the one-day program, various experts came together to talk about the involvement of the state of Hesse in today's space research and to reflect on the associated opportunities and challenges. One of the central themes was the declaration of intent to use spaceflight not only to better understand and protect the planet but also to make spaceflight itself more sustainable. In his commentary, Claus Leggewie puts the idea of space travel as an "astronaut-ecological complex" in relation to current discourses around planetary crises. He argues for its increasing decoupling from the economy and the defence industry.


02 November 2022: "Der Wald als Mitakteur? Das Fallbeispiel einer planetaren Politik": Publication of the Panel in the Politischen Vierteljahresschrift


On 02 November 2022 an article by Frederic Hanusch, Liza Bauer, our Fellows Claudia Hartl and Clemens Finkelstein, and Claus Leggewie appeared in the PVS issue The Planetary Political(e) Thinking. "The forest as co-actor? The Case Study of Planetary Politics." sheds light on how forests can be understood as active participants in 'planetary forest politics' and asks about the political science consequences of such an understanding. This collaborative article brings together the work of the panel and its first Fellows in the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence Program, whose focus during the summer semester was on the planetary material 'wood'.

Nov 10 & 11, 2022 -  "Narratives of Environmental Knowledge in the Anthropocene" & "Sacred Feminine Birthing the New" - Responses to "What Earth Is Made Of"

We are delighted to announce the participation of two expert scholars in our Workshop-Series: Dr. Ayşe Dayı and Dr. Matthias Klestil will kindly be giving responses as part of our Planetary Materials Workshop-Serie „What Earth is Made Of”.

Matthias Klestil delivered a response titled "Narratives of Environmental Knowledge in the Anthropocene" following Claudia J. Ford's James Lovelock Memorial Lecture.

He is Postdoctoral Assistant in American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. He received his PhD from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and was Bavarian Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. In his doctoral thesis he examined the interplay of mankind and nature and explored African American texts from an ecocritical perspective. Klestil’s first book Environmental Knowledge, Race, and African American Literature is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan (2023); his recent publications include scholarly articles on Colson Whitehead and Ted Chiang’s short fiction. Klestil’s current research project focuses on narrative theory, the Anthropocene, and contemporary North American fiction and film.

Dr. Ayşe Dayıs contribution "Sacred Feminine Birthing the New" responded to Claudia Ford's Artist's Talk during the opening of the "Planetary Origin Stories exhibition" (Nov. 11, 5:30 p.m.).

She is a psychologist, medical sociologist, healer and mindfulness trainer. After receiving her PhD from Penn State University, Ayşe worked over 15 years in universities in the U.S., Turkey, France, Switzerland and Germany, teaching and conducting research on women´s sexual/reproductive health rights. Her latest publication is the book “The Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary Turkey Reproduction, Maternity, Sexuality” which she co-edited with Drs. Alkan, Yarar and Topçu (2021, IB Tauris). In 2020, Ayşe established Orca Dreams: Platform for Mindful Living ( where she provides education and consultation on holistic health and mindfulness to individuals and organizations around the globe. In this platform Ayşe integrates her academic and activist knowledge on health with her mindfulness knowledge and practice to support individuals, groups and institutions through the great transformation of consciousness experienced by GAIA and ourselves. She will facilitate a women’s healing circle Remembering & Honoring my Sacred Feminine  February-March 2023 at VHS-Mitte, Berlin.

© Ayşe Dayı, Photographer: Oliver Ohanlon

Oktober 18 and November 10 - 11, 2022 - Planetary Materials Workshop "What Earth is Made of"



Planetary Materials Fellow Claudia J. Ford's workshop series will take place on October 18 and November 10 and 11. Ford's work focuses on our relationship to planetary materials. As a scientist and artist, it is important to Ford that participants experience their own relationship to the Earth with all their senses. Accordingly, the series kicks off with the excursion to Gladbacherhof on October 18, where the experience of agricultural work will lead us to reflect on our relationship with food and its production. The events on November 10 and 11, broaden the focus and direct attention to experiencing one's own relationship with nature in the context of society and the current climate crisis. What role can James Lovelock's Gaia Theory and a relational understanding of our Earth play in this setting? In addition to exploring scientific aspects in a lecture and film screening, participants will also be invited to engage creatively with the question in a writing workshop on climate grief and a vernissage with collages on "Planetary Materials." We cordially invite all interested parties to join us at one or more events of this exciting program. Here you can find more information about the individual events and registration.



Poster: What Earth is Made of

November 10, 2022 | Recognizing the 'Resource' as an Active Partner: Report on the Planetary Colloquium Perspectives on the Rights of ›Nature‹ 

In the face of the ongoing loss of biodiversity on the planet, more and more voices are calling for an entrenchment of solid rights of 'nature' within Western legal systems. In our planetary colloquium, questions about whether, how, and why the planet's myriad animal, plant, microbial, and other inhabitants can shape human politics were debated on.

In his opening keynote "What rights does nature need?" sociologist Frank Adloff (University of Hamburg) traced the development of different conceptions of rights for animals, plants, and ecosystems. It quickly became clear that Western debates on sustainability, environmental protection, or animal welfare are still far from acknowledging the intrinsic value of non-human life forms.  Adloff therefore proposes a "methodological animism": Based on the basic principle of many indigenous cultures, according to which all planetary components are understood as animate and animate, living beings such as worms, mushrooms, or rivers could be programmatically conceived as quasi-subjects. He thus combines indigenous cosmology with a Western understanding of law so that non-human life forms can be grouped together as collective legal subjects. In response to Adloff, sociologist Doris Schweizer (Goethe University Frankfurt) raised concerns about the transferability of human conceptions of law to non-human 'legal persons'. Although she acknowledges the political potential behind the idea, legal systems can only relativize their anthropocentric orientation, never overcome it. Ecosystem researcher Emily Alice Poppenborg (JLU Giessen) followed by raising further doubts: Nowadays, human societies are so closely entangled in the functioning of ecosystems that the term 'nature' is not used at all in Poppenborg's research; moreover, it underpins misguided notions of a nature-culture divide. Nevertheless, lawyer Franziska Johanna Albrecht (Green Legal Impact, Berlin) was able to show that rights of 'nature' - however imperfect they may be - can serve as effective tools in terms of representing non-human interests.

As recently as October 3, 2022, the Spanish lagoon "Mar Menor" was declared the first natural legal entity in Europe. Whether this status will actually help the immensely threatened ecosystem out of its crisis remains to be seen and is already questioned by experts (cf. Soro Mateo and Álvarez 2022). In attempts to further refine the concept of nature as a legal entity so that it can be implemented effectively, indigenous models undoubtedly represent pioneers for orientation. Within these attempts, rights of 'nature' can and should by no means be understood as a cure-all against anthropocentrism, but must always be scrutinized as to their motivations. However, as instruments to be continuously further elaborated, they can contribute to the relativization of anthropocentric thinking - and thus perhaps counteract the extinction of species.


A recording of the hybrid event will be available for streaming on our Youtube Channel shortly.

Poster: Perspectives on the Rights of Nature

October 27, 2022 - Excursion to the museum Sinclair-Haus

On Oct. 27, the Panel visited the Sinclair-Haus, a museum funded by the Kunst und Natur foundation, to see the international exhibition Eternal Ice.

The exhibition displayed selected works of contemporary artists who showcased the cultural, political, social and other interrelationships in light of the global ice melt; its effects on local indigenous communities and on the world climate as a whole.

The exhibition sent us on a sensorial experience through visual and auditory means that included embroidery, photography and video installations. It showcased work which included (but not limited to) the embroidery work of the Swedish Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba that recounted the (his)stories of Lappish reindeer herders in the far north, a short video collaboration, Rise: From One Island to Another between the Marshall Islander poet Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner and the author Aka Niviâna from Kalaalit Nunaat (Greenland).

Our special thanks go to Madelaine Heck for providing us with a thought-provoking guided tour of the exhibit!

25. Oktober 2022 - DocTalk x MoMa Clemens Finkelstein "Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany"

DocTalks x MoMA

Clemens Finkelstein and Lydia Xynogala
25 October, 2022 / 4-6 PM CET / 10-12 AM EST | register: Eventbrite

Clemens Finkelstein (Princeton University / Universität Hamburg)
“Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany"
(Respondent: Alfredo Thiermann, EPFL)


Our Fellow Clemens Finkelstein will give a lecture on "Environmental Control: Seismicity as Design Technique in Wilhelmine Germany" at MoMa on October 25 at 4:00 pm. The lecture investigated seismicity as collaborative design principle between geophysicists and architects in building so-called "Erdbebenwarten" (earthquake observatory).

 For further information on the event series, visit To register, please go to Eventbrite.

Earthquake Observatory Göttingen, unknown photographer, c. 1902. Courtesy Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft / DGG Archive.

Oktober 18, 2022 - Excursion report: Community Farm Day @ Gladbacherhof

Farm manager Johannes Eisert leads the group through the new research barn © Bauer

Philip Weckenbrock explains the experimental setup for analyzing the productivity of different agroforestry systems © Wiegand

On Oct. 18, the kickoff event for our Fellow Claudia Ford's workshop series "What Earth is Made of?" took place. The event series serves to rethink the human relationship to the earth and its materialities by combining diverse perspectives from applied fields, science, and the arts. In the first workshop, the focus was on one of the most fundamental relationships between humans and the environment - namely food production and nutrition. To this end, our excursion took us to the Gladbacherhof farm, which combines organic farming and research: on the productive organic farm, research is conducted in cooperation with the JLU to further develop sustainable concepts for organic farming.

The day started with a tour of the newly built dairy cattle research barn, where fully automated milking machines and a fully automated feeding and cleaning system are intended to enable both the study of climate gas emissions in organic farming as part of the Green Dairy project and, in terms of animal welfare, a greater degree of self-determination for the animals. 

After a lunch prepared by Veganatural with the farm's own products, the group heard scientific presentations on various topics. In addition to considerations on decision-making criteria for farmers in dealing with sustainable technologies, new approaches in agroforestry and a plea for more care in agriculture were discussed. There was also a tour of the on-site laboratory facilities.

Lastly, the agroforestry techniques discussed in the lecture could be seen in application as Philipp Weckenbrock showed the group around the agroforestry area of the farm. Agroforestry uses a specific planting strategy in an attempt to arrange multiple levels of food production into a single cohesive system. Specifically, the farm's experimental setups are designed to examine the productivity of mixed systems between trees and traditional agricultural crops such as cereals or potatoes. Although they have not been widely used in practice, agroforestry systems promise some advantages, such as greater resilience and resistance to climatic changes, erosion, and increased water storage capacity of the soil.

The field trip allowed us to gain in-depth insights into a fascinating combination of research and agricultural practice in organic farming.


Claudia Ford pleads for more care in agriculture © Wiegand.


The group harvests the kale for lunch directly in the field © Wiegand

October 7-12, 2022 - Claus Leggewie at the Austrian Acedemy of Sciences, the Maison Heinrich Heine and the conference "Rethinking the Interplay of Civic Engagement and Institutional Politics"

At a conference of the Austrian Academy of Sciences on "Historical Comparison. Gain of knowledge and battle zone" on October 7, 2022, Claus Leggewie gave a lecture entitled "'You can't compare this!' On the Usefulness and Disadvantage of History for Diagnosing the Times" on the question of the fascist development of the Putin regime.
On October 10, at the Maison Heinrich Heine in Paris, he discussed with Prof. Malika Rahal, director of the Institut d'histoire du temps présent (IHTP), and Thomas Wieder (Le Monde) the "Chances of a French-Algerian-German Triangle."
On October 11 and 12, he participated in the conference "Rethinking the Interplay of Civic Engagement and Institutional Politics" of a European research group and gave a presentation on climate councils in France.

September 5th, 2022 - Welcome to the second term of the Planetary Scholars & Artists in Residence Program!

After a short summer break, we are excited to welcome the second round of PLANETARY MATERIALS - fellows to our Hub! Matthew Wilson and Claudia Ford will devote the winter term to exploring different questions about our relationships to planetary materials: For example, considering our relationship to soil, what role do its components play in current as well as future practices of agriculture? What has the past taught us, and what challenges do drought and other climatic changes pose to the present? How do biochemical processes of food production affect the DNA of different life forms? And how can we describe the origins of continuously evolving conceptions of ecological processes and systems? How do origin stories about humans and ecosystems from indigenous cosmologies differ from the ones told in cultures from Western countries, and how might they cross-fertilize?

The workshops of the fellowship term will take place November 10-12, and will be centered around the common theme of James Lovelock's 'Gaia Theory'. Through a variety of activities - an interactive visit to Gladbachhof, a film screening and writing workshop, and an exhibition of collages on PLANETARY MATERIALS - our fellows will explore the question of what lessons 'Gaia' provides for current societies in light of escalating planetary crises. More details will follow shortly.

July 12, 2022 - Winner of the Planetary Futures Competition

We are very pleased to present the winners of this year's Planetary Futures competition: Prof. Dr. Bojana Kunst, Dr. habil. Gerko Egert and Dr. Martina Ruhsam from the Institute of Applied Theatre Studies receive funding from the Panel on Planetary Thinking to prepare their proposal on the topic "Mediating the Planetary. Performance and Pedagogy in Times of Ecological Catastrophe."

To address the value-action gap in planetary crises, i.e. the phenomenon that we do not act according to what we know, the project focuses on knowledge mediation. Hard facts, according to Prof. Dr. Kunst and her team, do not suffice for real change. First, they want to analyze how various artistic works, especially in the field of performative arts, convey knowledge about planetary disasters and how artists succeed in making it a tangible experience. Subsequently, these insights form the base for collaborative work with selected artists: The partnership aims to develop general mediation formats which can be applied in a wide variety of educational contexts.

For the initiation of artistic-scientific cooperations, a two-day workshop with international artists will be held and the project will then be submitted for funding. The workshop is open to all interested parties. Information on the content, time and place of the workshop as well as on how to participate will follow shortly. We see this project as a valuable contribution to the artistic-scientific collaboration and an important step on the way to a planetary responsible future and are happy to support our colleagues in the application phase.

June 23-25, 2022 - "Planetary Forest - Bring the Forest to the Garden": workshop, vernissage and accompanying exhibition

The performative action "Planetary Forest: Bring the Forest to the Garden" from June 23-25, 2022 was the highlight of the first cohort in the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence program. This first year of the program centers around the theme "Planetary Materials" and the first Fellows, Claudia Hartl, Clemens Finkelstein, and Mathias Kessler, approached the topic from very different perspectives. As an integral part of trees and thus the forest, wood became the planetary focus material of the semester as well as the central leitmotif for the Planetary Workshop: Led by the Fellows, on Thursday morning a small diverse group explored the planetary dimension of human-forest-climate interactions in the Rosbach City Forest. Clemens Finkelstein, employing a historical and socio-cultural perspective, offered interesting insights into the forest's history of use and the relationship of people to "their forest". Claudia Hartl was able to provide participants with a climatological and dendrochronological point of view: She demonstrated how to take a drill core and used the sample to explain the broad field of tree ring research and the complex relationships between forest health and climate.

In addition to sharing knowledge, experiencing the forest and exchanging ideas in and with the group formed a central part of the day. Thus, among others, a member of the local BUND group, an expert in hydrogeology, an employee of the JLU fleet, various colleagues of the department 09, and temporarily even the Rosbach mayor Steffen Maar added to the workshop with their expertise. The latter was available for questions and explained the background of the disturbed area as well as the planned reforestation measures for the site. Afterwards, participants and Fellows alike collected forest material for the living sculpture planned by Mathias Kessler: litter, dead wood, topsoil, roots and even the odd seedling found their way into the trailer. Mathias Kessler also accompanied the trip with his camera and will artistically process the recordings in a short film - soon available on our YouTube channel.

On the following day, the Fellows designed the living sculpture as an image of a forest habitat in the Botanical Garden. For now, the fenced-off piece of a disturbed forest site will remain untouched for three years, and its development will be watched expectantly: Will the forest make its way into the garden, will the garden reclaim the area, or perhaps nothing will happen for a while? The sculpture was opened in the festive setting of a vernissage with catering and live music, to which we were also pleased to welcome the President of the JLU, Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee. In a subsequent article (in German), the Gießener Allgemeine newspaper praised the action for its character as planetary food for thought. We cordially invite you all to visit the living work of art and send dated photos to . Experience the Rosbacher City Forest in the Botanical Garden Giessen!

For two weeks, the Neuer Kunstverein Gießen e.V. also hosted an accompanying exhibition at its premises, which documented the work of the three Fellows at the Panel on Planetary Thinking. On display were, among others, Line Drawings and "The Arctic Ocean - Failed Hope" by Mathias Kessler, Vibrascapes by Clemens Finkelstein and Dendro Art by Claudia Hartl.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the city of Rosbach, the forester Eva-Maria Kirchler, the management of the Botanical Garden, the Neuer Kunstverein Gießen e.V. as well as the president of the JLU for their ongoing support in this extensive project!

Claudia Hartl takes a core sample from a beech (top left); Mathias Kessler films the group at the lookout of the quartzite plant while Clemens Finkelstein gives insights into current and historical forest use (top right); The group gathers in front of the disturbance area to listen to Claudia Hartl and Rosbach Mayor Steffen Maar explain its history, the site's climatic conditions and planned measures for its reforestation (bottom left); Participants collect organic material on the disturbance site (bottom right); The exchange in the group flourishes during lunch at the former Roman Limes fort Kapersburg (center). © Mörsdorf, Steib
Mathias Kessler and Clemens Finkelstein show full commitment while unloading the collected material in the Botanical Garden (top left); After designing the sculpture, it is fenced off to protect it from human and animal influence as much as possible (bottom left); Mathias Kessler and Claudia Hartl ceremoniously open the joint work of art (top right); the accompanying "growing exhibition" also brought a piece of forest into the premises of the Neuer Kunstverein (bottom right). © Bauer, Hanusch, Mörsdorf

May 10, 2022 - First Planetary Lecture on "Planetary Law" by Prof. Dr.  Dr. Louis Kotzé and Networking Event of the Panel

The Planetary Lecture Series opened with a talk on "Planetary Law for the Anthropocene." Earth System Law pioneer Prof. Dr. Dr. Louis Kotzé (North West University, South Africa) proposed a transformation of international environmental law in order to respond more appropriately to planetary phenomena than has been the case so far: Instead of humans, legal principles should focus on the Earth System, especially in the so-called Anthropocene. Accordingly, Prof. Kotzé centered his lecture around the question how such Earth System Governance could be designed. A corresponding governance approach should emphasize the planetarily significant shaping power of humans, but always relate this power to planetary forces and consider humanity as part of the Earth System. The full recording of the lecture as well as the following discussion opened by Prof. Dr. Thilo Marauhn (Public Law and International Law, JLU) is  available on YouTube.

The warm spring weather exceeded expectations and set the scene for the subsequent networking meeting of the panel members. The Panel had invited to the new premises to inaugurate the new 'Planetary Hub' and to introduce the current Fellows and their work to the Panel members. First, Geoscientist Claudia Hartl fascinated the assembled with drill core samples of beech trees from the Rosbach city forest and explanations of their history. Colorful, abstract-looking posters formed the centerpiece of Clemens Finkelstein's short lecture on vibrations. The illustrations show the vibration patterns of various ambient sounds of the panel office: Spectators could marvel at the vibratory signatures of church bells across the street, rail traffic behind the building, and a helicopter flying overhead. However, due to its content the demonstration by Mathias Kessler attracted the most attention: the artist presented his work "The Arctic Ocean - Failed Hope", a refrigerator filled with beer. At first glance an invitation to socialize, a 3D version of Caspar David Friedrich's "The Arctic Ocean" lies hidden in the icebox. By opening and closing it time and again, the slight recurring increases in temperature cause the ice to slowly melt. Hereby, Kessler points to the serious consequences that human actions can have on the planet.

With the opening of the beer fridge, the formal part of the meeting ended and at mild temperatures the panel members gathered in the library and on the balcony for a leisurely chat. The panel team would like to thank all participants, especially JLU President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, for coming and hopes for further lively exchange among panel members.

Panel members closely followed the Fellow’s demonstrations (left). With the opening of the beer refrigerator (top right) the event transitioned to the casual part with vegan catering and cold beverages (bottom right). © Hanusch, Mörsdorf, Bauer
Fellow demonstrations: drill samples (top left), vibratory signatures of rail traffic, a helicopter and church bells (right), art refrigerator with Caspar David Friedrich’s The Arctic Ocean (bottom left). © Finkelstein, Mörsdorf

May 2022 - Contributions by Clemens Finkelstein to SICK ARCHITECTURE


“Concerns of human and planetary health have always been closely entangled, growing increasingly closer at a moment when public discussions shift focus to lament the Earth’s transformation from a biosphere (a sphere of life) to a thanatosphere (a sphere of death). Yet, instead of evolving towards equilibrium—as entangled objects do according to current physical theories of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics—their relationship has unraveled into sustained disequilibrium. Planetary infirmity is materialized through significant climatic shifts, excessive anthropogenic vibrations, the resultant corruption of its biospheric system, as well as the redistribution of its mass and axis through glacial melting.”

–Clemens Finkelstein, "Planetary Disequilibrium”


Planetary Scholar and current Fellow of the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program Clemens Finkelstein recently contributed the essay “Planetary Disequilibrium”, the inter-active exhibit “sick world building syndrome”, and the eponymous lecture to SICK ARCHITECTURE, a collaboration between Beatriz Colomina, e-flux Architecture, CIVA Brussels, and Princeton University. The exhibition at CIVA Brussels is open from May 6 to August 28, 2022.

Clemens Finkelstein during his SICK ARCHITECTURE lecture on sick world building syndrome on Mai 6, 2022 © Finkelstein-Moreno

April 8, 2022 - Field Work in the Rosbach Forest with Claudia Hartl and Lea Schneider


The Planetary Scholars & Artsists in Residence Program kicks off with the panel team and a small group of students heading to the Rosbach city forest - the fieldwork results in core samples from forty beech trees. In the course of her fellowship project "Tree Ring Reports on Forest Dieback", dendrochronologist Dr. Claudia Hartl investigates the vitality as well as the reactions of healthy as well as dying beech trees to draught events or extreme weather events. Thanks to the active support of Prof. Lea Schneider (Institute of Geography, JLU) as well as her students, ~12,000 tree rings now find their way into Dr. Hartl's long-term study.

Although the April weather did not show its friendliest side, the field work turned out an especially instructive as well as memorable event. Beyond the techniques of sampling, the team learned a lot about the many applications of tree-ring research. These range from determining the origin of construction materials, to dating and certifying works of art or musical instruments, to today's widespread research into tree species suitability or climatic change. The annual rings showcase how planetary phenomena, reaching from heat waves to world wars, materialize in locally specific and tangible manners. In addition, the core samples themselves offer a fascinating sight. The beech trees respond to the removal of their valuable cores by creating chemical barriers around the drilling sites and should tolerate the brief procedure well, allowing their vitality to be more accurately determined in the summer based on their by then fully sprouted crowns. News about the unique the unique tree-ring width pattern of the two beech populations in the Rosbach city forest may therefore be expected before long.
© Bauer


April 6, 2022 - Team Meeting with the first fellows of the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program


Following long preparations, we are excited to finally welcome the first fellows of the Planetary Scholars and Artists in Residence Program in Giessen. This year's fellowship focuses on planetary materials: for joint work on this topic, we were able to invite five excellent researchers and artists to Giessen. The first three fellows, Claudia Hartl, Clemens Finkelstein and Mathias Kessler, will research and create at the Justus-Liebig-University in this summer semester. We are looking forward to welcome Claudia Ford and Matthew C. Wilson in the upcoming winter semester.

Dendrochronologist Claudia Hartl analyzes tree ring characteristics to explore forest dieback due to climate change. Clemens Finkelstein investigates vibration as a planetary transmaterial, particularly how vibrations in modern architecture function as a bridge between the natural and the built environment. Artist Mathias Kessler perceives each destruction, especially human-made destruction, as a chance for renewal. Therefore, during his fellowship he dedicates himself to the re-shaping of a forest stand that owes its destruction to climate change. For more information on the fellows and their projects, see the press release of the Justus-Liebig-University (only available in German) and the Fellowship section on this website.

At the first meeting in our new premises, it was already possible to identify the first points of connection between the projects and to collect concrete implementation ideas for the workshop planned at the end of the semester. On the 23rd and 24th of June 2022 the fellows will host a joint workshop. More information on content and attendance will follow shortly.

Fotocredit: Bauer
© Bauer


November 2021 - Prof. Claus Leggewie is granted with the Honorary Thomas Mann Fellowship


Claus Leggewie is granted with the Honorary Thomas Mann Fellowship and in November und December 2021 will be residing at the Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles, USA. The Thomas Mann Fellowships enable academics, pioneering thinkers, and intellectuals who live, or have lived, in Germany to tackle the pressing challenges of our time and to foster the intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States. The Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles aims to create a vibrant transatlantic space for debate, where outstanding personalities, in dialogue with each other and the host country, address fundamental contemporary and future issues related to politics, society, and culture. As part of the Fellowship Programme, Claus Leggewie will be a guest at the podcast 55 Voices for Democracy. The podcast is modeled after the BBC radio speeches, through which Thomas Mann, from his home in California, turned to listeners in Europe during the war.

© Twitter / Thomas Mann House



November 27, 2021 - Panel discussion at the Climate Cultures Festival 


On the 27th of November, as a part of the Climate Cultures Festival "Planet writes back!", Frederic Hanusch together with Harald Welzer held a panel discussion on the shifting societal values in times of climate change. In which direction would the baselines of the climate policy shift? How should democracies change to integrate climate concerns? Is global, or even more so, planetary thinking in the climate crisis possible? were some of the themes discussed in the panel in the Red Salon of Berlin's Volksbühne.

Over three days in November 2021, the Climate Cultures Festival "Planet Writes Back!" explored how the climate crisis is represented in the perspectives of literature and debate, film and art photography. This year’s festival focused on three main areas: Arctic cultures, petromodernity (petrofiction) and climate in science fiction.

© Jan Michalko
© Jan Michalko

November 9, 2021 - Interview with Frederic Hanusch about planetary thinking in science


"Wir leben nicht auf einem Planeten, wir sind Teil von ihm" (We do not live on a planet, we are a part of it). Access here the full interview (in German) with Hanusch, made for L.I.S.A. - the online science platform of the Gerda Henkel Foundation.


November 4, 2021 - "What kind of future will the future hold?" - Participation at the IC4 FUTURE Conference


On the 4th of November, Frederic Hanusch participated at the IC4 Future Conference with a contribution on the topic "zur Zukunft der Tiefenzeit" (On the future of deep-time). The Conference approached the topic of the future from an interdisciplinary bird’s eye view. What are the key questions on the way to a diverse, sustainable, and digital society and in what way can a reframed industrial culture help to create answers and find solutions? Challenges and visions of the future were identified to give stimuli for a rethought industrial culture.

For the opening of FUTUR 21 - kunst industrie kultur, a variety of actors and agents from academia, the arts, and cultural institutions discussed the future of industrial culture at the Conference.

Futur21 _Conference
© Karin Hessmann


June 4, 2021 - Planetary Colloqium "Planetary Perspectives"


Planetary colloquium on June 4, 2021 © Frederic Hanusch
The Panel on Planetary Thinking from the JLU Giessen, in cooperation with the Planetary Thinking Working Group (Goethe University Frankfurt, Senckenberg, ISOE) and the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, organized the planetary colloquium “Planetary Perspectives”. In a pleasant digital atmosphere, around 30 participants from different academic backgrounds exchanged thoughts and ideas on the challenges facing our planet and the urgent need of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches in order to tackle them. Our key note speaker, David Christian from the Macquarie University in Sydney, opened the floor with an inspiring talk about Big History, a multi-disciplinary approach that examines earth’s and humanity’s past, and by learning from it, it explains present and contributes to imagining sustainable futures. The discussion was followed by two sessions of short impulse talks from our colleagues from JLU Giessen and the Goethe University Frankfurt. The first session provided an input on the planetary perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, provoking a discussion on the ways in which we can learn from past societies, have to extent sociological thought to the earth’s core as well as to outer space, the need to change human behavior and the way we think economics by valuing more the future benefits compared to benefits in the present, and how poetry and human artistic expression can relate us with the planet. The second session offered planetary visions from natural sciences, with nevertheless creative contributions that cross the boundaries of separate disciplines. From conversations on the inherent rights of nature in the context of biodiversity, what kind of agricultural practices are needed for sustainable future, to envisioning the planetary by focusing on subatomic elementary particles, were some of the thought-provoking dicussions our participants were keen to delve into. The participants agreed to deepen their inspirational discussions in future planetary colloquia to open up a new collaborative research endeavor of both, JLU and Goethe University Frankfurt. 

June 2021 - new book "Planetar denken: Ein Einstieg"












New book on introduction to planetary thinking from Frederic Hanusch,

Claus Leggewie and Erik Meyer - "Planetar denken - Ein Einstieg"



June 10, 2021 - Talk "Planetary Thinking: an Introduction"


Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch will give a talk as part of the online seminar series of the Planetary Thinking Working Group (Goethe University, Senckenberg, and ISOE) in cooperation with University of Giessen, Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, and GRADE Sustain. You can register for the Zoom event here.

October 2020 - NECE Campus


Frederic Hanusch participated in two workshops of the "Networking European Citizenship Education" (NECE) Campus as an expert on the topic "Sustainability, Democracy and the Arts - Cultural and Artistic Responses to Environmental Change". Both workshops were recorded and are available here:

    Workshop I     Workshop II


September 2020  -  Podcast: Hessen schafft Wissen


Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch on sustainability and democracy in the podcast "Hessen schafft Wissen"


August 31, 2020  -  Lettre International


Read a recent article by Claus Leggewie in Lettre International p. 60-63:  "BRÜDER DER SONNE ... Wie das Wettrennen ins All die planetare Achtsamkeit bestärkte." You can find the link to the magazine here.

August 10, 2020  -  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


Read our current article in the FAZ by Claus Leggewie and Frederic Hanusch "Towards Planetary Thinking".


June 19, 2020 - Opening Meeting


On June 19, our opening meeting took place in Giessen, Germany, where about 30 members of the panel from different disciplines met. You can find the article about the opening meeting in German in the "Informationsdienst Wissenschaft" (idw).


April 1, 2020 - Launch of the "Panel on Planetary Thinking"


The "Panel on Planetary Thinking" at the Justus Liebig University of Giessen is taking up its work - complex phenomena such as biodiversity, climate and inequality are to be assessed from an overall perspective. Click here for the JLU press release on the Panel on Planetary Thinking.