Research Theme 5

Regional cultures of response to climate change and extreme events

 (Hereon, KIT, UFZ)

As an abstract concept, climate change isn’t something we can experience directly. However, it can be connected to local and regional cultures and the immediate life-worlds of their populaces, and be conveyed through these outlets. The attachment of importance to, development of attitudes towards, and taking action against place-specific extreme events, long-term changes like sea-level rise, and coupled effects of climate change are to a great extent shaped by cultural, socioeconomic and political-institutional factors. These locally and regionally anchored perceptual and behavioural structures (practices) have proven to offer an excellent point of departure for promoting climate awareness, for arriving at new climate knowledge, and for implementing effective measures to combat climate change.

Key questions for RT5:

  • How is regional climate ‘knowledge’ structured and what climate-related practices are there?
  • How can we develop new concepts and methods for the empirical analysis of regional responses to climate change risks and the anticipated impacts of climate change?
  • What sociocultural and economic potentials can we tap in order to achieve behavioural changes and encourage new everyday routines that support national and international climate protection policies?

RT5 Speakers

Prof Dr Beate Ratter
Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
Max-Planck-Strasse 1
D-21502 Geesthacht
E-mail: beate.ratter(at)

Prof Dr Reimund Schwarze
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ)
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig
E-Mail: reimund.schwarze(at)