Hubert von Goisern


Miscellaneous: 2014

Future Lecture: Why does nothing change? Communicate sustainability effectively

20th November 2014

Lecture in Salzburg with Hubert von Goisern and Astrid Rössler

Climate change and its negative consequences can not be denied any longer. However, it seems as if the horror stories about environmental damage and drastic climate changes leave many people largely untouched. But why is that? What is needed to accelerate the process of change?

The Future Lecture in Salzburg on 25th November tackled these very questions. Under the title of "Why does nothing change? Communicate sustainability effectively", the Austrian lecture series, part of Dennis Meadows FUTURE LECTURE, interactively examined the communication of sustainability from different points of view. What contribution can the worlds of science, music and politics make to the more effective communication of sustainability, that each of us is encouraged to act with the environment in mind and work against climate change?

Speaking on the subject:

  • Musician Hubert von Goisern: The role of music on the way to a sustainable society.
  • Deputy Governor Astrid Rössler: Communication of sustainability through politics - an effective instrument for a change in attitude?
  • Psychologist Mag.a Isabella Uhl: Communication of sustainability, with the example of climate change.
  • Director of the School for Sustainability at Vienna University of Economics Dr. Fred Luks: The role of science in communicating sustainability.

Salzburg University student Florian Spitzer also be interacted with the audience and presented surprising and personal reactions to the messages of sustainability.


Future Lectures 2nd December 2014 | Photo: © Marc Stickler

HvGOn 25th November an enthusiastic audience and top-class lecturers came together at the Salzburg University for the second FUTURE LECTURE with the title "Why does nothing change? Communicate sustainability effectively". The focus of the discussion was the question of how people can be sensitised to sustainability and what is necessary to bring about a process of change.

"What the world needs is a group hug!"

With the question "Why does nothing change?" in mind, psychologist Isabella Uhl and student Florian Spitzer highlighted the communication of sustainability from a psychological point of view. Both came to the conclusion that a connection between people and social closeness strengthen the feeling of responsibility people feel for one another and their own surroundings, leading ultimately to a realistic assessment of risk.

"Sustainability can and should be a pleasure"

Then it was the turn of musician Hubert von Goisern: he believes that sustainability can and should be a pleasure. Music plays an important role in connection with sustainability and can change not just thinking, but the world too. Music brings people together and makes them more sensitive and attentive to what is going on around them, says Hubert von Goisern.

Fred Luks from the School for Sustainability at Vienna University of Economics made the point that the problem areas of the world would not correspond with the scientific disciplines and therefore is looking for more inter and transdisciplines. Science plays an important role in the communication of sustainability and has the duty of not just creating models, but also telling motivating "stories of change", which should be accessible to many people. Finally Astrid Rössler from the Green Party used impressive photos and images to show the vulnerability of the ecosystem and highlighted how important it is to take responsibility and an active role in preserving our natural environment.

Audience voting as interactive element

The 200 members of the audience used voting handsets - similar to those on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? - to take part in the fascinating discussions with the lecturers. The results of the questions posed were shown for all to see via a projector. Thus right from the start of the event, it could be seen what had motivated people to attend the FUTURE LECTURE and where they had come from and via what means. The voting system was very popular with the audience and was an entertaining element of the interaction between lecturers and attendees.

The interplay between the varied and thought-provoking presentations and the involvement from the engaged audience made the FUTURE LECTURE a great success, which drew to a cheerful close with a vegan buffet.