Symposium on „Climate Activism and Policymaking“

19th June 2024 from 15.15h-17h, University of Bern, UniS Room A022, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern

Ocean image

The Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research (OCCR) and the Institute of Political Science (IPW), both at the University of Bern, are happy to announce and organize the Symposium on "Climate Activism and Policymaking".
The symposium is organized around the book release of "Saving Ourselves" authored by Prof. Dana Fisher from the American University. "Saving Ourselves" presents a deep-dive into how we got into the "climate crisis" and what it will take to get to the other side. It focuses on how people power is our most likely way through the climate crisis.

Content and timetable

We’ve known for decades that climate change is an existential crisis. For just as long, govern-ments have struggled to meet even modest goals. Fossil fuel interests maintain a stranglehold on political and economic power. Even though we have seen growing concern from everyday people, civil society has succeeded only in pressuring decision makers to adopt watered-down policies. Is there any hope of achieving the systemic change we need? These questions are an-swered by different experts from political science, sociology, policymaking and activism.

15.15h Welcome by Karin Ingold, Vice-president of the OCCR and professor at the IPW
15.20h Keynote 1 by Dana Fisher: „How Do We Save Ourselves from the Climate Crisis?“
15.40h  Keynote 2 by Adrian Rinscheid: „Does radical protest strike back? An experimental study of public attitudes in Germany & the US"
16h Q&A
16.15h Panel with Sophie Fürst, Max Vögtli, Adrian Rinscheid, and Dana Fisher (Moderator: Karin Ingold) 
17h Drinks

Keynote Speakers and Panelist

Dana R. Fisher is the Director of the Center for Environment, Community, & Equity (CECE) and a Professor in the School of International Service at American University. Her research fo-cuses on questions related to democracy, civic engagement, activism, environmental ste-wardship and climate politics.  Professor Fisher has authored over 75 research papers and book chapters and has written seven books.  She served as a Contributing Author for Wor-king Group 3 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Re-view (IPCC AR6) writing about citizen engagement and civic activism. Fisher is currently serving as the chair-elect of the Political Sociology section of the American Sociological Association. 

Adrian Rinscheid started a position as Assistant Professor of Climate Policy & Decision Making (with Tenure Track) at the University of St.Gallen in February 2024. Previously, he was Assistant Pro-fessor of Environmental Governance and Politics at Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands). Besides, he conducted research projects at the University of Konstanz (Germany) and Princeton Uni-versity (USA). Adrian’s research centers on the political drivers and barriers of transformative change towards climate-resilient societies. This includes studies of citizens’ perceptions and their politically relevant behaviors, such as their willingness to support climate protests and participation in civil disobedience. 

Sophie Fürst is a founding member of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection and was its ma-naging director for more than five years. In this role, she built up the movement for the Glacier Initi-ative (political initiative) and led the voting campaign for the Climate Protection Law, the parliamen-tary counter-proposal to the Glacier Initiative. Prior to this, she worked in NGOs as a communications expert and as a personal assistant to Balthasar Glättli, National Councillor and former President of the Swiss Green Party. She holds a Bachelor‘s degree in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Fribourg and a Master‘s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of Lucerne.

Max Vögtli is a Zürich based Climate Activist and co-founder of the Climate Justice campaign DROP Fossil Subsidies where he works as a member of the Core Team. In his activism Max practices Non-Violent Direct Action, which seeks to disrupt the public space, for instance through road blocks or disrupting sports events, with acts of Civil Disobedience to bring awareness of government failure in the climate crisis and using the radical flank effect to shift the overton window. The DROP campaign highlights that in the middle of a climate crisis, the government continues to subsidies the Fossil eco-nomy with billions of Swiss Francs every year. The campaign calls for a socially just end to these subsi-dies with the money being used instead to support people in the coming turbulent climate transition

Drinks and Registration

Drinks will be served after the panel. For organizational reasons, please register here by June 10th 2024.

Partners and Sponsors

The Symposium is supported by the Oeschger Centre of the University of Bern and the Institute of Political Science (IPW).