Nature, Environment and Sustainability

The IWE conducts both theoretical and practical research into human-nature relationships. In the Anthropocene, the immense challenges posed by climate change, ecological crises, and unprecedented urbanization are becoming increasingly apparent. In addition to political action, behavioral changes and technical innovations, there is a need for continuous analysis of the moral foundations of environmental challenges, as well as the proposed solutions that aim to address anthropogenic impacts. The IWE pillar Nature, Environment and Sustainability explores the philosophical and ethical dimensions of planetary human-nature relations in their entire range: from wilderness through to megacity, from non-human animals through to ecosystems. Research in this pillar is often interdisciplinary, exploring the convergence of environmental ethics with areas such as technological innovation, land use and urban design, and a critical examination of the concept of sustainability underlies and unifies the research projects.

Environmental Ethics
© Pexels, Felix Mittermeier


  • Rewilding the Night (2022-24)

    Night is an important time for cities, but its role in envisioning and enacting sustainable urban futures is often overlooked. Rewilding the Night initiates an experimental research project that brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to explore the future of cities after dark. In the first phase of the project, sensor data will be collected and strategies will be developed to present this data in an artistic and interactive way. By communicating the collected data through visualizations the project aims to raise awareness about the effects of light pollution, as well as offer opportunities to engage with urban darkness. For the first phase of the project sensors were installed in Bonn's Botanical Gardens in summer 2023, and will be collecting data about the nighttime environment over the next year. Rewilding the Night is funded by Transdisciplinary Research Area 6 „Sustainable Futures“ of the University of Bonn and led by Dr. Taylor Stone. The project is carried out in collaboration with Lancaster University, The London School of Economics, and Dutch lighting design firm Atelier LEK.




Book Chapters

  • Pinsdorf, C. (in press): A. v. Humboldts’ and F. W. J. Schelling’s Romantic Empiricism in the Anthropocene: Inspiration for the Environmental Humanities. In: Corti, L.; Schülein, J.-G. (Hg.): Life, Organisms and Cognition: Understanding Nature Between Classical German Philosophy and Current Debates. Cham: Springer.

  • Stone, T. (in press). Darkening Cities as Urban Restoration. In N. Dunn and T. Edensor (Eds.), Dark Skies: Places, Practices, Communities. Routledge.

  • Stone, T. and van Wynsberghe, A. (in press). Repairing AI. In M. Young and M. Coeckelbergh (Eds.), Maintenance and Philosophy of Technology: Keeping Things Going. Routledge.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2022): Bioeconomy Beneath and Beyond: Persisting Challenges from a Philosophical and Ethical Perspective. In: Lanzerath, D.; Schurr, U.; Pinsdorf, C.; Stake, M. (Hg.), Bioeconomy and Sustainability – Perspectives from Natural and Social Sciences, Economics and Ethics. Cham: Springer, 343–377, 2022. DOI:

  • Stone, T. (2021). Towards a Darker Future? Designing Environmental Values into the Next Generation of Streetlights. In Technology and the City: Towards a Philosophy of Urban Technologies, 201-223.

  • Doorn, N., Michelfelder, D., et al. (2021). Reimagining the Future of Engineering. In Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Engineering, 736-744.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2020): Wildnis als naturethisches Leitbild im Anthropozän? Ein Antwortversuch auf den Spuren Aldo Leopolds. In: Farokhifar, K.; Neugebauer, H.-G. (Hg.), Nachlese. Philosophische Miszellen. Rheinbach: cmz, 109–132.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2020): Dem Anthropozän zum Trotz. Naturphilosophische, naturästhetische und naturethische Dimensionen von Wildnis im Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald. In: Heurich, M.; Mauch, C. (Hg.), Urwald der Bayern. Geschichte, Politik und Natur im Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald. Göttingen: Vandenheock & Ruprecht, 185–206, DOI: 10.13109/9783666360954.185.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2020): Naturgemäße Normativität nicht-humaner Lebensformen und naturethische Konsequenzen. In: Hähnel, M.; Noller, J. (Hg.), Die Natur der Lebensform. Perspektiven in Biologie, Ontologie und praktischer Philosophie. Paderborn: mentis, 17–34, DOI: 10.30965/9783957437280_003.

  • Janssens, E., Stone, T., Yu, X. & Bombaerts, G. (2020). LED Lighting Across Borders. In Energy Justice Across Borders, 195-216.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2013): Von Sinn und Un-Sinn einer ‚Würde der Kreatur‘ und moralischen Anerkennungsverhältnissen. In: Baranzke, H.; Duttge, G. (Hg.), Autonomie und Würde. Leitprinzipien in Bioethik und Medizinrecht. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 481–506.

Expert Reports

  • Pinsdorf, C. (forthcoming): Bioökonomie – Ethischer Teil. In: Sturma, D.; Lanzerath, D. (Hg.), Bioökonomie. Naturwissenschaftliche, rechtliche und ethische Aspekte, Sachstandsberichte des DRZE. Freiburg: Alber.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2016): Tiere in der Forschung – Ethischer Teil. In: Sturma, D.; Lanzerath, D. (Hg.), Tiere in der Forschung. Naturwissenschaftliche, rechtliche und ethische Aspekte, Sachstandsberichte des DRZE. Freiburg: Alber, 138–206, 2016, DOI: 10.23769/vka-2020-48761.


 Other activities

Film Projects

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2023): "Green Fire" („Grünes Feuer”)
    What is wilderness? Do we still need it? And where do we find it? A young film team approaches this question by exposing themselves to wilderness in Sweden - but also by letting proven experts have their say. For example, philosopher Christina Pinsdorf leads us through the history of wilderness, but protagonists such as polar explorer Arved Fuchs and ZDF TerraX editor Axel Gomille also have their say.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2020): "The Wild Woods" („Der wilde Wald“)
    Cinema documentary by director and producer Lisa Eder, made in co-production with the Bavarian Forest National Park, with the support of FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Deutscher FilmFörderFonds, Leir Foundation and in cooperation with SWR and arte.

  • Pinsdorf, C. (2019): "unscrupulous" („skrupellos“)
    Film project by media students of the BK-Rheinbach under the direction of filmmaker Bernd Siering.
    Complete Film:


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