TEDx Bonn 2021 –  #TURNITAROUND – Stories of Sustainability

It’s hard to create a sustainable future if we can’t even picture it. The prevailing communication on the climate crisis is dominated by gloomy narratives. Of course, renunciation and degrowth will play a crucial role in overcoming it, but in the end, the main question will be how we rethink our social coexistence. A new, creative debate on climate change is needed. All areas of public life must participate: science, art and business. At this year's TEDx event, we met visionaries who showed us ways how a sustainable future could look like. Inspiring stories, exciting visions, groundbreaking strategies: ideas that can shape the future and make this world a better place!

All talks were in English.


Dr. Monika Griefahn (founding member Greenpeace & former environment Minister)

Think comprehensively and reinvent products and services so that they are good for the environment and the people (cradle to cradle). Dr. Monika Griefahn is a founding member of Greenpeace Germany, where she was Co-Director from 1980 to 1983, organizing campaigns against chemical pollution of oceans and rivers. From 1984 to 1990, Monika Griefahn was the first woman to serve on the International Board of Greenpeace. From 1990 to 1998, she was Environment Minister in Lower Saxony in Gerhard Schröder's cabinet. She was subsequently a member of the German Bundestag (1998-2009).

Then as now, she campaigned for a new energy policy: for renewable energies and the phasing out of nuclear energy, as well as a broad improvement of products according to Cradle to Cradle (C2C) and corresponding production processes.
Monika Griefahn is head of the advisory board of the NGO Cradle to Cradle. C2C NGO links business, science, education, politics and civil society. The school of thought of Cradle to Cradle is that one can be a beneficial organism and part of nature. At TEDxBonn Monika Griefahn will talk about culture as a key to sustainable development.


Photo Credits: Bianca Schüler

Marina Ponti (Global Director der UN SDG Action Kampagne)  

Sustainability is the key to a green and just future for everyone. It furthers human development in all aspects of our lives and can drive progress on peace and resilience in the face of global challenges. We must seize this moment of transformation and reimagine a better - and sustainable - future for generations to come.

Marina Ponti is the Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign. As one of the main architects of the UN Millennium Campaign - the predecessor of the UN SDG Action Campaign - Ms. Ponti served as Global Deputy Director and Regional Director for Europe for over a decade and was at the vanguard of innovative campaign initiatives, building multi-stakeholder coalitions, mobilizing resources and forging long-term partnerships between civil society organizations, Local Government, parliamentarians, media, the private sector and the UN.

Ms. Ponti has published several articles for newspapers, magazines, online publications and blogs on the Millennium Development Goals, on the Sustainable Development Goals, on aid effectiveness, financial speculation, gender equality, social development, local development, debt-relief, human rights, and trade.


Moritz Zielke (actor & ecological interior designer)

Studio W

Sustainability means to me: Taking the journey to simplicity....

Moritz Zielke is an actor, best known for his role of Momo in the series "Lindenstraße". For a long-standing period, however, the graduate designer not only draws attention to himself through his television appearances but as well with his work as ecological interior designer. Together with Wibke Schaeffer he runs their "Studio W" for sustainable design and ecological interior design in Cologne. Moreover he holds a lectureship for design history at FH Dortmund.

Studio W plans and builds for the organic gastronomy and hotel industry, for organic and world stores, designs products for private and commercial projects and designs spaces with a focus on sustainability, light and color since 2011.

At TEDx Bonn, Moritz Zielke discusses his visions on the question How design can save the world.


Photo credits: Hassaan Hakim

Prof. Dr. Gesa Ziemer (professor & director City Science Lab)

HafenCity University 

Cities are producing more digital data than ever before. How can we curate these data to design new forms of collaboration in people-centered smart cities?

Gesa Ziemer (Prof. Dr. phil.) directs the CityScienceLab at HafenCity University, a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, MA, USA), which conducts research on the future of Cities (with a particular focus on digitalization). HCU's CityScienceLab researches the transformation of cities in the context of digitalization with partners from civil society, politics, business, and science. Furthermore she is academic lead of the technology and innovation lab UNITAC Hamburg for the United Nations which deals with the use of data in informal settlements.

In addition Gesa Ziemer is currently a fellow of the Humboldt Foundation (Feodor-Lynen Program) at the Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA, USA and holds a Guest Lectureship at the Lucerne School of Art and Design in Switzerland.

At TEDx Bonn, Gesa Ziemer will talk about New Forms of Collaboration and how to create people-centered digital cities.



Photo credits: Benno Tobler, Schweiz

Angela Asomah

Locals United (BUND Jugend)

 We just achieve a sustainable future if we decolonize our acting and thinking. We have to fight exploitation of the people and the planet equally.

Angela Asomah supports and consults the project "Locals United" on topics such as intersectionality resistance fighters, empowerment and decolonize perspective. Previously, Asomah studied "natural resource management" and has been involved in political education on discrimination since April 2019. 

At TedxBonn, Angela Asomah and Lea Dehning will talk about how we can make a change and will show multiple perspectives on sustainability.


Photo credits: private

Lea Dehning

Locals United (BUND Jugend)

Since May 2019, Lea Dehning has been in charge of the project "Locals United." Dehning studied environmental science, is interested in intersectionality and is active in the climate justice movement.

Locals United is a project of BUND Jugend which is part of the international youth network “Young Friends of the Earth Germany”. The motto of Locals United / BUND Jugend is "Climate Justice = Social Justice".

The representatives of the association are of the opinion that in the course of the struggle for more climate justice, the connections between the climate crisis and social struggles must be made visible. People who are affected by (multiple) discriminations such as sexism, racism, queer hostility, classism also suffer more from the consequences of climate change.

At TedxBonn, Angela Asomah and Lea Dehning will talk about how we can make a change and will show multiple perspectives on sustainability.


Photo credits: private

Stefanie Kuhnhen (author & managing director)

Grabarz & Partner

Sustainability will be “The Good Normal”. It’s time to embrace this new mindset, especially for green brands, to drive the needed system change even better....

Stefanie Kuhnhen is managing partner of the Grabarz & Partner agency group, one of the leading creative brand agencies in Germany. She has also initiated Green Radar, Germany's first sustainability screening with a subsequent gap and opportunity analysis. It helps companies identify risks and opportunities and derive a clear green strategy with actionable measures. In 2018, she co-founded kokoro, a start-up that measures a new understanding of well-being and forsters healthy performance of teams at work. Stefanie Kuhnhen is a mother of two and published her first book "The End of Incompatible Opposites" in spring 2018.

At TEDx Bonn, Stefanie Kuhnhen talks about "The Age of Good Corporations" and the path from a green to a good mindset.



Photo credits: Grabarz & Partner

Daniel Breitfelder (actor & activist) – Rhein Ranger

Sustainability means to me waking up. And returning to the essentials of being. It's not just about us. Let's regain humility, frugality, respect and joy.

Corona changed his life. While theaters were closed, the artist Daniel Breitfelder , who previously worked as an actor, decided to clean up the Rhine shore on his twelve-kilometer jogging route in Bonn. Every day since January. Till today.

He decided to live packaging-free and vegan from now on. And realized that there is no alternative. His old profession expanded. Renewed itself. Turned. A figure was created: the RHEIN RANGER. A figure who, in addition to the cleansing of the Rhine, primarily wants to enlighten people - Wants to convince. Wants to animate. Wants to touch. With arguments and positive energy. With performances, conversations and inspiration.

The RHEIN RANGER as a symbol of a protector of our planet and an example of how one can do something to save our beautiful planet as an individual.


Photo credits: private

Moderation: Liz Shoo (journalist & presenter)

Sustainability means to me: Buying second-hand clothes whenever possible

Liz Shoo was born in Germany, but grew up in Tanzania. After she returned to Germany’s Rhineland to attend college, she took part in DW Akademie’s trainee program – and she hasn’t left since. She's the presenter of DW's TV shows "Focus on Europe" and "The 77%". She is also working at the German public broadcaster WDR as a journalist and presenter of the news format “WDR aktuell”.


Photo credits: Herby Sachs

Musician: Alin Coen (singer)

Sustainability means to me: To do all we can to make sure our children have a world to inhabit

Alin Coen is the lead singer of the group "Alin Coen Band". The Alin Coen Band is a German singer-songwriter formation, which is musically between pop and folk. The musicians met and founded the band 2007 in Weimar, where Coen enrolled in 2003 to study "environmental protection engineering".

In 2014, Alin Coen has already worked with SAVE THE WORLD e.V. as part of their first festival in Bonn.



Photo credits: Sandra Ludewig

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission as a independent internet platform around the globe for all curious and inquisitive people. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. TED Talks are then made available for free at TED.com.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, in the spirit of ideas worth spreading. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.