Since the 1950s, German psychotherapists have held an annual professional training conference on Langeoog island in the North Sea. With more than 300 participants, the conference traditionally ends with two keynote speeches from other disciplines. This year, Timo Kaphengst from Ecologic Institute was invited to give a lecture on the global environmental crisis and address the most important resultant political and societal challenges.
The 2012 conference, entitled "On the way from today to tomorrow", aimed to establish an idea of how personal relationships will change in the future as a result of various internal and external factors.
In his presentation, Timo Kaphengst used the "planetary boundaries" to explain the degree to which climate change and the overexploitation of natural resources by humans have advanced. He then touched upon some of the main challenges for future policy making, such as the transformation of the energy supply system, increasing urbanization and the numerous demands on land resources in an increasingly populated world. Moreover, he discussed the current debate on concepts for a societal transformation to address these challenges, providing a few practical examples illustrating where such changes have already taken place. He concluded that although the challenges are immense, the growing debate on the necessity of a societal transition enables a change in perspectives from top-down policy making towards supporting bottom-up initiatives.
The audience's reaction to the presentation showed that many people found inspiring links to their work as psychotherapists. The presentation [pdf, 3.3 MB, German] can be downloaded.