Socio-Ecological Transformation

Bits & Bäume Conference

17 – 18 November 2018

“More and more people are concerned about the impact of the rapid advancement of digitalization on issues of ecology, sustainability, and democracy. This is also borne out by the high level of interest in this conference, which is jointly hosted by environmental associations and network activists.”
Frankfurter Rundschau, 17.11.2018

Under the guiding question “What can digitization contribute to the sustainable transformation of society?”, the Digitalization and Socio-Ecological Transformation junior research group, in cooperation with a broad alliance of stakeholders from civil society and science, held a public networking conference at Technische Universität Berlin on 17 and 18 November 2018. Almost 2,000 visitors attended the conference, which offered a wide-ranging program of almost 130 events on 12 parallel stages focusing on topics such as alternative economies, data and the environment, material basis, digital capitalism, civil society as well as the “big questions.”

Networking of sustainability policy actors with digital and network policy actors
The conference was conceived and designed by a group of ten organizations: Brot für die Welt, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR), Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung (FIfF), Germanwatch, Institute for Ecological Economy Transformation (IÖW), Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland (OKF), Technische Universität Berlin, Chair of Socio-Ecological Transformation (Tilman Santarius). The event’s media partner was The conference was funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation. The core goal of the Bits & Bäume Conference was to initiate a broad public debate about digitalization and sustainability and to bring different communities and organizations into dialogue with each other.

Eleven demands for sustainable digitalization
At the end of the conference, the ten member organizations presented eleven demands for sustainable digitalization. The demands cover areas such as social-ecological transformation, democracy, data protection and monopolies control, education, development and trade policy, IT security as well as the longevity of software and hardware. Ihr Ziel: The demands are intended to inform policymakers about the need for sustainable digitalization and serve as a call to action. You can show your support for these demands by signing here.

Bits & Bäume: the next steps
A representative survey of participants was conducted following the conference. 434 visitors representing about one quarter of those attending took part in the evaluation. The results revealed a high level of satisfaction with the formats and content of the conference, with 80 percent of respondents saying that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the Bits & Bäume podium program. The vast majority of respondents also expressed their satisfaction with the possibilities for networking which the conference provided. The junior research group maintained extensive scientific documentation of the conference, which was then published in book form by oekom Verlag in July 2019 as “Was Bits und Bäume verbindet. Digitalisierung nachhaltig gestalten”. You can also view 65 online video streamings of all events on the event’s five main podiums .

For further information, go to:

Was Bits und Bäume verbindet – the book of the conference

Thursday 4 July 2019

The Bits & Bäume conference in November 2018 attracted some 2,000 visitors. With 130 events on 12 stages, it was the largest debate forum on digitalization and sustainability. In this book of the conference, 50 authors from the tech scene, the sustainability movement, and development cooperation show how digitalization can drive social-ecological change. The book is edited by Anja Höfner and Vivian Frick of the Digitalization and Socio-Ecological Transformation junior research group at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research and Technische Universität Berlin.

Was Bits und Bäume verbindet – Digitalisierung nachhaltig gestalten”
Anja Höfner, Vivian Frick (Eds.)
144 pages, oekom verlag Munich, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-3-96238-149-3
Print version: order book
Open access: Book to download