Aktualisiert: 12. Aug. 2021
Everything is inspired by something:
Explore our future-proof Reading List and find out about our motivation.
At the end of this article you have the chance to share your own favourite books, articles and links in a public google sheet.
_ What motivates us?
For many years now, we have simply found it incomprehensible to wake up in a world that scientists and economists already warned us about from the 1970s.
It would be fatal if, after 50 years, we still don't find creative and balancing ways in order to live in cooperation and equality with each other and nature.
On a conscious level we can think and create anything we want, but we have to change our paradigm in order that new ideas of how we really want to live in the future can grow.
Creatives are practiced in transforming thoughts into reality and are our driving force and nutrient soil for this local experiment, plan A+.
This process of growing socio-ecological wealth for everyone and nature is the challenge of this century and we're excited to explore this unknown space together with you.
We have no interest in polarising: capitalist ideas of infinite growth & sustainable degrowth, and neither technology & ecology. What we are interested in are the benefits of both: Growing in human-scale through nature and technological innovation. This is what we want to explore through various disciplines, open perspectives, interdisciplinary research and measures.
Here is our small reading list that has inspired, motivated and fueled us to plant
plan A+ Klima & Kultur e. V.:
N° 01 Leopold Kohr
»The Breakdown of Nations«, 1957
Leopold Kohr was an economist, lawyer, political scientist and philosopher. In terms of content, he propagated decentralisation of social organisations and groups to a size in which function is still possible, but at the same time allows the members a manageable size.
Some of the most acute economic problems and challenges of the present day – the threatening decline in living standards, cyclical shocks, destruction of natural resources, acceleration of production and work, the growing importance of social market economy for human scale – can be traced to one common cause: the excessive size of nations, Leopold Kohr wrote. More strongly than in his first book, Kohr emphasises the dangers of the acceleration of our lives. Higher speed, in traffic as well as in the turnover of goods, leads to the same problems as an overly large society: little control, unnecessarily bloated administration, inability to finance.
N° 02 E.F. Schumacher
»Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered«,1973
As a student of Leopold Kohr, Schumacher's plea for a return to human scale is a true classic of sustainability, because the question of the right scale in business and technology is more relevant today than ever. Size is not a value in itself: it can be advantageous, but it does not have to be. In the economy, size leads to concentration of power, displaces diversity and is often not sustainable. Schumacher criticised this drive for more and more as early as 1972, and pleads for a "miniaturisation of technology" and for "achieving a maximum of happiness with a minimum of consumption.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher
N° 03 Erich Fromm
»To have or to be«, 1976
Philosophy & Psychology
To have and to be are two opposite modes of existence. The pursuit of possessions and profit is the religion of our western society, and it makes people sick and aggressive. We must find our way back to being, for here is liveliness and reason, and only in this way can humanity survive.
N° 04 Joseph Beuys
»The Expanded Concept of Art«, 1978
As one of the most important German artists of the post-war period, Joseph Beuys became known above all for his "Expanded Concept of Art". In it, he abolished the separation of art and society by saying "Every human being is an artist". For Beuys, man was capable of positively changing society through creative processes, in the form of so-called "social sculpture", towards more humanity and creativity.
“The future we want must be invented. Otherwise we will get one we don't want. Through people, ideas move forward, while in works of art they freeze and eventually stay behind. The only revolutionary force is the force of human creativity - the only revolutionary force is art.”
― J. Beuys
N° 05 Yona Friedman
»Feasible Utopias«, 1979
Yona Friedman innocently violates common methods, questions self-evident assertions, violates safe principles and rules that he exposes as inaccurate, and develops ideas that are so insightful that actually every thinking person should come up with them if they are not in the shackles of routine.
N° 06 Victor Papanek
»Design for the real world«, 1971
Design for the Real World has been translated into over twenty languages since it first appeared in 1971; it has become the world’s most widely read book on design and is an essential text in many design and architectural schools. This edition offers a blueprint for survival in the third millennium.
Victor Papanek’s lively and instructive guide shows how design can reduce pollution, overcrowding, starvation, obsolescence and other modern ills. He leads us away from ‘fetish objects for a wasteful society’ towards a new age of morally and environmentally responsible design.
In essence, Papanek argues for a "handier relationship" between design and reality. He criticises the fact that objects are usually too expensive, poorly designed, and that they usually respond to market interests instead of human needs. "Design must become an innovative, creative, and interdisciplinary instrument that meets people's true needs," Papanek writes. "It needs to be more research-oriented, because we can no longer pollute our planet with poorly designed objects and buildings.’’
― V. Papanek
N° 07 Anita Engels
»The divided environment«, 2003
The structural change of globalisation is linked to an increasing reflection on this process. Anita Engels analyses the discourse that establishes a connection between the development of world society and the articulation of ecological self-endangerment.
She uses a case study to show what changes the disputes about global environmental change produce in the context of a marginal developing country. The social processing of the global environmental problem of anthropogenic climate change in Senegal serves as an example. This case allows the aspects of marginalisation, which undoubtedly play a major role in world society, to be adequately taken into account.
N° 08 Hartmut Rosa
If acceleration is the problem, then resonance may be the solution. This is, in the shortest possible formula, the core thesis of Hartmut Rosa's book, which can be read as a founding document of a sociology of the good life. At its beginning is the assertion that the quality of a human life cannot be stated in the currency of resources, options and moments of happiness. Instead, we must direct our gaze to the relationship to the world that shapes this life and which, when intact, is then an expression of stable resonant relationships.
N° 09 Maja Göpel
»Rethinking our world: An invitation«, 2016
The approaching climate chaos, the increasing conflicts between rich and poor and the polarisation of our societies clearly show: carrying on as before is not an option. The West's model of prosperity is claiming its price. Science confirms that we cannot avoid the fundamental rethinking of our world.
The book illustrates which barriers to thinking we should remove in order to deal more wisely with natural resources, human labour and the mechanisms of the market in the future - beyond prohibition regimes and growth mania.
‘‘All the people I know want love, peace, overcoming poverty and a beautiful and safe environment. So why don't we just do that then? What is stopping us as a society?’’
― M. Göpel
N° 10 Friedrich von Borries
»To Project the World – A political design theory«, 2016
Years ago, designers drafted things. Today, almost everything is being designed: the climate, processes, refugee camps. But if everything is being designed, it’s time to stop evaluating design solely from aesthetic aspects. What we need, according to Friedrich von Borries, is a political theory of design. People are forced to shape their living conditions. If the possibilities of acting are curtailed in this process, we’re dealing with subjugation. Von Borries makes the case for a creative design (of survival, of society, of self) that withdraws from the totalitarian logic of securitisation and imagines new ways of living together as opposed to the lack-of-alternative ideology.
In ‘‘To Project the World: Towards a Political Theory of Design’’, Friedrich von Borries delineates a political theory of design that is not aligned with existing disciplinary boundaries, but instead toward fundamental sociopolitical questions. He opposes a subjugating design to a projective, emancipatory design, subdividing the discipline into four basic categories: survival design, security design, social design, and self-design, which in conjunction conceive of the world as a whole as the object of design processes.
N° 11 Harald Welzer, »Everything could be different«, 2019
Today, no one believes that our children will ever be better off. Does it have to be like that? It doesn't have to! The sociologist and proven architect of the future Harald Welzer designs a good and possible future for us. Instead of just criticising or lamenting, he thinks about what a good future could look like: In realistic scenarios, he sketches concrete images of the future in the areas of work, mobility, digitalisation, living in the city, doing business, dealing with migration, etc.. Welzer shows in a refreshing and encouraging way that the much-vaunted "lack of alternatives" is really just a lack of imagination. We have already achieved a lot that can be built on. It has just been forgotten or displaced by other priorities. In fact, everything can be different. You just need an idea of how it should be. And you have to do it. The reward: a future worth living in that we can look forward to.
“We live in a society where knowledge is taught and ignorance is practised.”
― H. Welzer