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Challenge Lab: Intergenerational Justice

Challenge Lab: Intergenerational Justice

Unlimited Progress

Occupied our imagination

With every generation, the great promise of the 19th century reassured us, the human condition would improve. With every generation we would inhabit a safer place and would be in a better position to pursue ‘the good life’. Of course, wars threw spanners in the work every once in a while. But for a long time,

we believed the promise, because we wanted to believe it.

An economic graph representing the idea of unlimited progress and growth.
German flag at the Platz Republik

The Promise


In the late 19th century, Germany was the first country in the world to turn this promise into a social agenda, many countries followed suit:

Discover the Social Agenda >

An unprecedented undermining...

...of structures of intergenerational justice

‘The tyranny of the contemporary’ as philosopher Steven Gardiner has called it. First, developments in capitalism have created immense pressure to operate within shorter and shorter time spans.

Moreover, human civilisation is increasingly faced with the consequences of anthropogenic ecological degradation.

Uncover the consequences >
A graphic representing the handover of the Earth to future generations


...with the work of one of the foremost philosophers working on the ethical implications of climate change

Stephen Gardiner (University of Washington) who will visit NU campus for a workshop on 28 October 2022.

Stephen M. Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. Oxford University Press 2013.

WELCOME TO CHALLENGE LAB: Intergenerational Justice

This Challenge Lab explores the ethical challenges of our present situation that is dominated by the conflicting narratives of technological progress and ecological precarity. Our aim is to analyse the human condition today through the lens of intergenerational justice

We will work on translating our insights into meaningful modes of translation into communities: How do I raise awareness to issues of political justice? What is my role in this as a young person and student? What are the structures that hamper intergenerational justice and what can I do to address them in my community, on campus, in my workplace?

“As a matter of public discourse, the geopolitical disaster has been facilitated by the fact that the current generation in the developed countries has spent much of the last two decades conveniently distracted and confused about the problem.

(Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm, p. 9)

The catastrophic potential of the ecological crisis seems difficult to explain away in any normal way. Unfortunately, in a perfect moral storm, it makes perfect sense.

(Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm, p. 9)

The temptation to pass the buck on to the future, the poor, and nature is very strong. So, the incentive to disengage is high.

(Gardiner, A Perfect Moral Storm, p. 9)

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences