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Tilman Santarius: Making digitalisation work for the climate!

Digitalisation is one of the biggest transformation processes of our time – everyone agrees on that. But what does it mean in concrete terms for ecology and social justice? What opportunities and risks does digitalisation hold for sustainability? Will digitalisation lead to a smart green world in which everyone benefits from technological progress and at the same time we treat the environment more carefully? Or are we heading towards a rapidly expanding digital capitalism in which only a few hold money and power in their hands and the economy grows even further beyond planetary boundaries?  

In his lecture, Tilman Santarius will argue that discussions on digital and network policy issues must be linked to the goal of a socio-ecological transformation of society. A sustainable and thus also socio-ecological digitalisation should therefore follow three guiding principles: Digital sufficiency, strict data protection and focus on the public interest. Tilman Santarius advocates incremental digitalisation, as a disruptive and unilaterally capitalist-driven digitalisation could leave many people behind and unable to find their place in society. He pleads for an understanding of digitalisation as a toolbox, whereby digitalisation must be adapted to our social expectations and not vice versa. Two questions are central in this context: Which digitalisation do we want? What do we want to use digital tools for? 

Tilman Santarius: Making digitalisation work for the climate!
Monday, 26th October 2020 | 19 PM |

Tilman Santarius is Professor of “Social-Ecological Transformation and Sustainable Digitalisation” at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Einstein Center Digital Future. His research areas include climate policy, trade policy, sustainable management, global justice and digital transformation. Since 2016 he has been head of the research group “Digitalisierung und sozial-ökologische Transformation” at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). In addition to various journal articles, Tilman Santarius is co-author of the study Zukunftsfähiges Deutschland in einer globalisierten Welt (2008). Together with Steffen Lange, Tilman Santarius has published the book Smarte grüne Welt? Digitalisierung zwischen Überwachung, Konsum und Nachhaltigkeit (2018). 

The event will be held in German. Tilman Santarius’ lecture will be broadcasted live from 7 pm – if the livestream is not being displayed here, please reload this page. The recorded video will be uploaded to this website a few days after the event.
You can participate in the discussion via Slido and ask your questions

Making Sense of the Digital Society

The current rapid pace of technological change creates enormous uncertainties – and thus the need for explanations that help us better understand our situation and shape the future. The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) are therefore continuing the Lecture Series Making Sense of the Digital Society that was launched in 2017. The aim of the format is to develop a European perspective on the current processes of transformation and its societal impact. The first speakers of this year’s series were Sybille Krämer and Philipp Staab.


Event date

26.10.2020 | 7.00 pm – 10.00 pm ical | gcal


Livestream,,   Berlin


Christian Grauvogel

Former Head of Dialogue & Knowledge Transfer | Project Coordinator SET


This high-profile lecture series thrives to develop a European perspective on the processes of transformation that our societies are currently undergoing.


Once a month we publicly discuss the impact of digitalisation on the society. Therefore we invite special guests and engage in a dialogue with the audience.


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