Culture and Societal Change

A culture of sustainability

An increasing number of people are familiar with the idea of sustainability. They incorporate its principles into their actions, for instance when shopping. More and more alternative, sustainable business and lifestyle concepts are being developed. However, sustainability is still much too far from being a standard consideration in all decision-making and actions. For a society to be sustainable, it needs cultural norms as well that translate the idea of a sustainable future into guiding principles, inspirational vision, long-term thinking and technological progress.

With an achievement horizon of the year 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 sub-goals lay out the requirements and outline the task policymakers and society must shoulder in order to bring about fundamental change at all levels. However, this transformation toward sustainability needs new approaches – approaches that break through established consumption patterns, norms and value systems. Thus, culture and its civil and state stakeholders are to play a larger role going forward. In fact, what constitutes culture is a concept that undergoes constant evolution and redefinition. If sustainability awareness does not become embedded within society, this transformation will not be possible.

Fostering societal change

The Council facilitates societal change through a wide range of projects and events. Through the Sustainability Culture Fund, over the next three years the monies newly provided by the federal government will support numerous transformative projects relating to sustainability culture. A central goal is to strengthen societal processes as well as provide impulses for sustainable development in Germany. Projects that concern themselves with societal negotiation mechanisms and thereby promote change through a reassessment of established routines will be supported.
The Council takes a broad view of the definition of culture and considers both artistic contributions as well as all aspects of everyday culture and political culture to be relevant areas. The decisive factor is that the projects contribute in their specific way to the task of sustainable development.

The German Sustainability Action Days (DAN) were first established in 2012. The aim of the Action Days is to heighten public awareness for the task of sustainable development. Engagement throughout Germany that serves as an example to all is to be highlighted during the Action Days and thereby inspire others to contribute or develop own initiatives.