Bits & Bäume

The Conference for Digitalization and Sustainability

17th to 18th November 2018

in Berlin (Technische Universität)

123 days left


Call for Participation

Registration deadline: 19th August
Feedback Forum: 3rd September
Feedback program contributions: September

Submission of proposals

What does Bits & Bäume want?

We bring communities together!

In recent decades, socially-changing movements have steadily grown, each following its own utopias: They fight to preserve nature and our natural livelihoods, for world-wide fair working conditions without exploitation and for curbing the power of corporations. They are committed to democratic participation, sustainable modes of production and consumption, fair trade between the global South and North as well as binding rules for corporations in line with these goals. Other communities aim at shaping digitalization in such a way that civil rights, protection of privacy, data protection, sovereignty and democracy are safeguarded for an open society. They stand up for free access to the knowledge of the powerful for a culture of sharing, for a surveillance-free digital world, for flat hierarchies, global networking and decentralization, for self-determination and human rights in light of an age of artificial intelligence and global Internet monopolies.

Until now, these movements of environmental activists and digital human rights activists have often acted apart. They offer solutions and ideas for their own respective topics, which have now reached not only politics, civil society and the economy, but nearly every household. Both want to understand the world and, above all, actively shape it. They see that substantial changes are necessary for a 'good life' and a just and sustainable society. However, a democratic and sustainable society can only succeed together – to achieve this, these communities must come together, learn from each other, recognize the similarities of their utopias and implement them with new force!

The Bits & Bäume Conference provides a forum for identifying interfaces between sustainability issues and a prudent digitalization, finding visionary solutions as well as planning joint actions. Our key questions are: What role does sustainability play for stable tech communities? Which ecological opportunities do digital applications offer for climate and resource protection? What types of digitalization are opposed or even counterproductive to these goals? How can the digital society be democratic and just while peacefully preserving the basis of our lives on this planet?

With the Call for Participation, we invite people from civil society organizations, but also progressive actors from science, business and politics, to participate in shaping the conference with their own inputs! The more varied the themes and formats, the more colorful creativity and joyful energy arise. We want to offer space for discussion rounds as well as the planning of projects and campaigns that connect the different communities. We want to learn from each other - from lectures, in hands-on workshops, at activist info tables, on break sofas, at hackathons and much more. We invite initiatives and organizations to introduce themselves in our Forum, to share their knowledge and to get in touch with each other.

Bits & Bäume aims to politicize and give the prelude for a common position for a sustainable digitalization and against anti-democratic trends!

We look forward to your participation.

Download CfP as PDF (in German)

Program contribution (submission to the program)

How much does a bit weigh? The material basis of digitalization

  • raw material extraction for digitalization
  • sustainable production and supply chains
  • digital tools for the conservation of biodiversity
  • energy and resource efficiency through digital tools
  • power consumption of digital devices and infrastructures
  • resource intensity and rebound effects
  • responsibilities with regard ro global climate and digitalization effects

Sustainable niches, mainstream monopolies? Alternative economy

  • IT monopolies, platform capitalism, data accumulation
  • good sharing, bad sharing
  • cooperative platform economies
  • open source / free software
  • decentralized economy
  • re-regionalization of production chains
  • DIY, repair rights up to Global Village Construction Set
  • intellectual property rights, patents & licenses
  • price discrimination and increased consumption
  • changes in the agricultural and food industries
  • sufficiency-oriented marketing

Dare to go! Combining environmental and network policy

  • raw materials policy for new technologies
  • digital policy for transport, energy and agriculture transformation
  • distribution of automation gains
  • unconditional basic income, short full-time and care economy
  • digitalization in education and digital literacy
  • freedom of information, transparency, open data and open government
  • data protection and data economy
  • IT security, (software) liability and responsibility in the digital world
  • controlling with taxes - digital-ecological tax reforms
  • monopolies and competition law in the digital sector
  • advertising and manipulation regulation
  • regulation of automated decision-making systems

City, Land, Info-River? Design of digital infrastructures

  • local energy storage and infrastructures for the energy transition
  • vulnerabilities of digitized infrastructures
  • digital energy transition: storage, smart grid, smart home
  • automated energy management systems
  • "smart" mobility and ecological traffic turn
  • electrification and networking of households, transport, industry (sector coupling)
  • agricultural turnaround and new forms of agriculture
  • networked villages
  • eGovernment and digital citizen participation
  • digital city sovereignty
  • reclaim Smart Cities!

What world do we want to live in? The very big questions!

  • power asymmetries and decentralization
  • automation of workstations
  • workers' rights*and the future of work
  • belief in technology - technophilia - technocracy
  • surveillance and manipulation vs. freedom of action
  • democratic participation and emancipation of citizens
  • access to information and knowledge commons
  • nudging and Big Data-based incentive systems
  • consequences of imperial digitalization
  • re-Feudalization of the Internet

What should I write? (title, description, formats, time slots, room requests)

Abstract, description & links

The "abstract" will later be your teaser - so please formulate your topic, your theses and your short bio very concretely but briefly. What is this about? Why is your submission interesting for the conference? You will have more space in the detailed description. Please make sure to include links to presentations, papers, etc. that you have already given/written elsewhere or links to your website, if this helps us to better understand your topic, your presentation style and your expertise.

Conference formats

We welcome the greatest possible variety of different formats, e.g.:

  • workshop: hands-on-workshop, creative workshop, small group work, hackathon (also available in English, but without translation)
  • panel: panel, interview, "fireside chat", fishbowl or panel discussion
  • lecture: Impulse-/Lecture, Lightning Talk
  • science session: presentation of your scientific paper
  • world café, thematic FAQ rounds
  • or whatever comes to your mind

(If not workshop, discussion or lecture, please select "Other" and specify the format in the description.)

Space and Time

Please choose the duration of your format. Successful submissions usually receive a slot of 20, 40 or 60 minutes in the program, interactive formats such as workshops 90 minutes (plus set-up and dismantling). On request and depending on the concept, more time may be available. The more dialogical and discursive a format, the more time you can demand. Please also specify individual space requirements (size, technology, furniture, etc.) if necessary.

Forum (creative area on the conference area)

We are an initiative/organization/institution/network... and would like to be present and active on site. How does this work?

On both days there will be space for socio-ecological/technical/activist initiatives, associations, organizations or networks beyond the specific program, so that a common place for exchange can emerge: our Forum. Simply use the Call for Participation and submit it as a "Forum" format.

What should we write?

In the "abstract" (short and concise) and the description (detailed and with links to you) please explain who you are, how your organization finances itself, which actions you imagine on site, how much space you need and if necessary your need for technology (especially electricity) and furniture. Please select the format: "Forum", ignore time field.

How can we design the Forum?

Here are some suggestions on how to design your place in the Bits & Bäume Forum

  • information or discourse sofa
  • kitchen discussion at table + chairs
  • regulars' table with beer table + benches
  • fixed DIY corner
  • microexhibition
  • microcinema
  • hackathon
  • secret flash mob area
  • or whatever comes to your mind

Note: We will provide you with space, table and chair, but you will have to look after your own area.

The Bits & Bäume-Sporangium (special format)

Just as ferns catapult their spores out of the capsule at speeds of up to 10m/s into the world, so that they fall onto fertile ground there, we want to pass on our nerd- and technical knowledge spectacularly, effectively and entertainingly at prime time on Saturday evening! Science slams are a great format for this, but we don't want to compete, we want to inspire each other (!) to deal with all the new territory (!!) that surrounds us.

Do you have a topic that fits the conference, a loose tongue and fun with your expertise? Great! We give you and your microcosm 8min, if you can convince us that you are right on stage for the most important, informative and at the same time most entertaining lectures, which can be given at Bits & Bäume!

We look forward to receiving your application (please don't forget your link(s) to sample presentations)! Submission via Call for Participation in the Sporangium format.

Please find suggestions for topics and other assistance for submission above under program contribution.

Bits & Bäume is organized by:

Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), Brot für die Welt, Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Deutscher Naturschutz Ring (DNR), Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung e. V. (FIfF), Germanwatch e.V., Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany e. V. (OKF), Technische Universität Berlin.

Media Partner:

Funded by: The event is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and via financial support of specific projects from the Organization committee co-financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

If you have any questions, please contact