BSRT Graduate School

Nikolaus Lecture 2019







Nikolaus Lecture 2019


Friday, 6 November 2019 | 4.00 pm Föhrer Straße 15 Cranach House | Auditorium

Reinhold Leinfelder

(Freie Universität Berlin)

Host: Camille Metz (BSRT)



The Health of the Earth System in the Age of Humankind (Anthropocene) – A Multiscale and Multimodal Project



Reinhold Leinfelder is heading the Geobiology and Anthropocene Research Group at the FU. His expertise include earth history, the evolution and ecology of reefs, the anthropocene, future studies, and new methods of knowledge communication.

Although humans had an increasing environmental impact ever since they went out of Africa, it was only the great acceleration of socioeconomic development since the mid-20th century that has added the gigantic human footprint onto the Earth System. As a consequence, differences between nature and culture have largely vanished. The Earth system is undergoing severe health stress, and this is not a temporary exception, but a continuing systemic challenge. There is no way that the Earth system will turn back to its previous state – it will remain different to what it used to be during earlier times of modern human development. There is an urgent need for “regenerative therapies,” in a multiscale and multimodal manner, to avoid systemic tipping points and system failure. This encompasses a better understanding of the reactivity of the “patient Earth”, appropriate communication methods of the diagnosis, and new narrative ways of explaining how humans are fully dependent on the functionality of their Earth system, and hence should act as an integral part of it.