ESR Blog

Technology and Sustainability – Symbiosis or Rivalry?

This was the title of the interdisciplinary discussion shared with high school students during my last outreach event just before the christmas vacation on December 18. Initiated and co-organized by my former philosophy teacher from high school, I was delighted to be invited as a speaker and discussion partner to the “Bildungsforum Schule” (educational panel in school) at the high school “Gymnasium an der Hönne” in Menden, Germany. This panel connects high school students with representatives of different fields, such as politics, media, and science to stimulate discussions and exchange.

During this event, I presented the basics of my research, its applications for industry and society as well as my voluntary work in the students’ association “Sustainability Week Zurich” to the broad audience comprising pupils, teachers, and interested local people who got to know about this event by the local newspaper’s announcement. Subsequently, highly engaged pupils asked questions about my research and moderated a discussion about the ambivalent consequences of technological progress and their interplay with different entities such as science, industry, individuals, society, and politics.

What follows, is a rough sketch of some key points that were addressed during this discussion: Transparent and comprehensible communication of the status of science, its potential and boundaries, is essential for a reasonable judgement on how to treat new developments. Several major problems, such as the sustainability and climate crisis but also general misuse of technology, seem to arise from a lack of clear responsibility allocation. Indeed, multiple entities bear responsibility for the current and future status of affairs. The technology itself is never purely good or evil, but it will always depend on the way it is utilized. Whereas it is certainly not an easy step to make every entity take their responsibility and duty seriously, open discussions like this one could help to raise awareness and contribute a (nanosized) part towards solving the challenges of our time – and if not, they can at least be an inspiring and entertaining way of exchanging and actively living democracy across different parts of society that I personally highly enjoyed.
Thus, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Alexander Zibis, Beate Sänger, the equally motivated and well-prepared student moderators and all other involved people at the “Gymnasium an der Hönne”, Menden for making this exchange possible.

Diseño y desarrollo web Triplevdoble