Studium Generale

Sustainability – Whose Responsibility is it Anyway?

Monday, December 3, 2018 at 8:00 PM – 9:45 PM

Auditorium, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht

How can the environmental issues on planet Earth be resolved? How can the 7.7 billion people who live on it lead dignified and sustainable lives for the future to come? Recent reports suggest an even faster approach of potential climate-related issues and, thereby, urge society to accelerate change.

Responsibility is double-edged: If left to their own devices, citizens may fail to perform the accelerated societal turnaround needed. But if responsibility rests within governments or companies, might individuals and/or households abdicate their individual responsibility altogether? After all, it is easy to blame others for one’s own inertia. Who can have the biggest impact, and does individual action or household actions even enter the equation?

In this Studium Generale Debate Café, guests – academics, practitioners, and civil society activists – came together to discuss the dynamics of societal change. The debate touched upon topics as diverse as environmentalism, food choices, mental health, and striking a balance between bottom-up and top-down approaches to societal organisation.


• Nathalie Ummels is coordinator of Mondiaal Maastricht.

• Ceren Pekdemir works as a PhD researcher at the International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) at Maastricht University (UM).

• Dr. Serdar Türkeli conducts policy research and development at the United Nations University-MERIT. He apples quantitative and qualitative methods to critical policy issues related to multi-scalar governance of science, technology, innovation (STI), STI policies, such as entrepreneurship, emerging technologies, digital and societal transformations, sustainable development, sustainability and political economy.

• Alex Baker-Shelley, PhD(c) at ICIS and teacher at the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship.

The debate café is organised by Green Office and Studium Generale.