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School of sustainability

School of sustainability
Project team:

Parodi, Oliver (Project leader); Volker Stelzer

Start date:


End date:


Research area:

Sustainability and environment

Project description

In spite and because of the technological and economic progress in the last decades, humanity is facing a major challenge: Social justice, economic development, and the conservation of natural cultural heritage are to be secured on a global level for future generations in spite of increasing raw material shortages, environmental crises, and diverse positive and negative consequences of globalization.

It is becoming increasingly clear that technological progress and a related increasing economic performance alone will not suffice in order to establish a sustainable development. The recognized and recognizable consequences and impacts of our western civilization cast more and more doubt on them. A transformation of our unsustainable way of life into a culture of sustainability is crucial. This achievement will not be possible without reflections, enlightenment, education in sustainable development, and without having a focus on ourselves.

The school of sustainability undertaken by ITAS and the House of Competence (HoC) provides trans-disciplinary offers for deep study of sustainability directed to students, staff members, and external participants. Theoretical conceptual knowledge on sustainability, as well as rather application oriented knowledge, and competencies for a sustainable development, both of which will be imparted. Complementary, the attempt will be made to make (un)sustainable development knowable and experienceable as well as to nurture the subjective perception of oneself and of the environment.

This diversity is reflected in the diverse course offers of the school. Here are some examples:

  • Sustainability, portraits of people and personal skills (seminar 2011)
  • Mobility, infrastructure, urban development for a sustainable society (summer university 2011)
  • Green Campus – the Karlsruhe way to a sustainable university (seminar 2010)
  • Refreshingly sustainable – experiencing water (summer university 2010)
  • Sustainable enterprises need staff trained for personal sustainability (seminar 2009)
  • Sustainability at first hand (annual series of lectures)

At the school of sustainability, societal responsibility for the environment, for the social world, and for posterity, as well as for self-care, the very own lifestyle, is pursued. For a culture of sustainability can be established step by step only by interconnecting societal and individual spheres. Beside ethics of sustainability, aesthetics of sustainability constitute a second indispensable pillar of the school as the ability to perceive and beauty are important elements of a worthwhile future.

As a pioneer undertaking, the school of sustainability also requires research. To a limited extent, questions on interconnecting the individual to the collective sphere for the purpose of a sustainable development, on the image of man as "homo sustinens", on adequate ethics and aesthetics, and on the basic question "Is it feasible to be sustainable?" are pursued in a trans-disciplinary way.

Within her integral alignment, the school (from lat. schola = leisure, halt) devotes herself to sustainability likewise with head, heart, and hand and contributes in this way to a humane and livable future.

With the end of this project, the follow-up project "Karlsruhe School of Sustainability" has started, which continues and expands the educational activities for sustainable development.


Dr. Oliver Parodi
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26816