Welcome to 2016, which has been declared the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU).  For more information visit: http://www.global-understanding.de  This is an IGU initiative led by Professor Benno Werlen at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena.

What are the key elements of IYGU?

Linking the global and the local

  • Everyday actions matter for global climate change.
  • Everyday decisions depend on lifestyle.
  • A global view reduces the risk of regional conflicts.

Our world faces social, cultural, and economic change, as well as a changing climate. Human actions play a key role in creating such worldwide challenges. However, human actions also provide solutions. If individuals know what their day-to-day routines mean for the planet, they can take appropriate action. Global understanding helps overcome the knowledge-action gap and supports policy decisions that promote sustainability.


People’s Practices

  • Global problems require sustainable solutions.
  • Sustainable change should emerge from the bottom.

Global challenges require swift, yet considered, goal setting and political action. We cannot afford to wait for the ideal decision-making body or a global jurisdiction – it may never happen. Instead, change should come from the bottom. Individuals make choices, vote, and drive policies at the local, regional, and national levels. Widespread global understanding embeds awareness of the global consequences of individual choices. IYGU wants sustainable change that starts from the bottom.


Science and everyday life

  • Everyday life and science belong together.
  • Global understanding is based on joint social and natural science research.
  • Research should address the logic of everyday life.

Global understanding calls for the reconciliation of the global and the local, of science and everyday lives. The IYGU focuses on essential daily activities such as eating, drinking, housing, working, travelling, and communicating. Why do we make the choices that we do? Which societies – rich and poor – make more globally sustainable choices? Natural and social scientists will jointly provide answers.


Sustainability and understanding

  • Climate change is an example of the links between global and local effects.
  • Global change may be climatic, social, cultural and economic.
  • Societies need global understanding to manage change sustainably.

Global sustainability cannot come about without local sustainability. Actions and thoughts that may seem disconnected in space and time are often fundamentally linked. True global understanding empowers people to make such connections. Many people know about the need for sustainability, but few make the corresponding decisions. The IYGU’s main goal is to promote global understanding so that actions and decisions yield sustainable outcomes, every day, all over the world.