Seeing Green: Environmentalism in Germany and Austria

GRMN 312-301

Simon Richter

Monday / Wednesday 4:00-5:00pm

Many regard Germany as a leader in the transition to renewable energy. The Green Party has been a significant player in federal and local politics since 1981. The current Austrian chancellor is a member of the Green Party. Soon, Germany will shutter its last nuclear reactor. Work on the coal phase-out has already begun. Germans overwhelmingly support aggressive climate action by their government. How can we explain this? In this course, we will become familiar with current climate, environmental, and energy policy and practice in Germany and Austria, but we will also delve into the cultural history of German environmentalism. We'll learn about the origin of the German concept of sustainability in early 18th-century forestry; the role of the forest in Romanticism; the origin of the concepts of ecology and environment in the work of Ernst Haeckel and Jacob von Uexkull; the role of the mountains in Austrian environmental thinking; Nazi-era environmentalism; "Waldsterben," the anti-nuke movement and the rise of the Green Party; the "Energiewende"; and the impact of the uprising to protect the Hambacher Forest on the coal phase-out. We'll make use of readings from policy, history, and literature, and screen feature and documentary films. Pre-req: Taught in German, Prereq: GRMN 203

Spring 2021