Futures Dialogue 2023: "Historical knowledge for sustainable development"

10.03.2023 from 13.30 to 18.00h

at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe

Discussions on sustainable development usually formulate perspectives directed toward the future, but their historical reference period is often limited to a short time span. This Future Dialogue was devoted to the contribution of historical research to the implementation of sustainability goals, using two topics from the fields of climate change and structural transformations of economies. One was the importance of historical data in risk prevention, specifically the role of (pre-)modern flood events of the pre-instrumental era for flood protection. On the other hand, the structural change of the German "energy landscape", using the example of lignite mining, was discussed with regard to the role of historical knowledge in the ongoing transformation processes.

At both approaches and in the course of the discussion with academia and stakeholders, it became clear that the transferability of historical knowledge to current processes and the will to reduce complexity as well as the coupling to ongoing political processes are central challenges when it comes to integrating historical knowledge into current sustainability discourses. This challenges historical scholarship to be bolder in formulating its contributions and to clearly present and rank its specific forms of evidence in terms of their meaningfulness.

The short documentation of the discussion and results can be found here (document language: German).