Sino-Swiss Explorations of Environmental Coexistence

We had the great pleasure of launching our Planetary Thinking campaign alongside the official Swiss Science delegation led by Jacques Ducrest, the Head of the International Relations Division at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI, as well as Luciana Vaccaro, Michael Hengartner , Martin Vetterli, Sébastien Castelltort, Matthias Egger, Barbara Fontanellaz, Thomas Gfeller, and Régis Nyffeler.

The event “Sino-Swiss Explorations of Environmental Coexistence” was specifically tailored for our Swiss scientific delegation visiting China. We invited five Chinese planetary thinkers dedicated to each element of Wuxing who prioritize planetary thinking in their daily work in science, art, entrepreneurship, or at NGOs to give a short pitch. In between, we heard four academic presentations from Swiss and Chinese professors.

We learned about the significance of maintaining a balance between herbivores and predators to avoid disrupting restoration efforts. We also discussed new approaches to community and neighborhood management, and explored the ocean ecosystem, among other topics.  We are looking forward as we further explore these ideas to foster global cooperation and balance human and non-human interests.

Planetary Thinking

The Planetary Thinking campaign is part of the Swissnex for the Planet initiative, which aims to rethink our intellectual traditions and narratives of progress. Instead of seeing humans as separate from nature, our projects will emphasize our connection to the biogeochemical system that supports all forms of life on this planet, including ours. Swissnex in China decided to explore planetary thinking through Wuxing - a concept familiar to every Chinese child. Wuxing (Wu = 5; xing = elements) is a fundamental concept ingrained in Chinese culture, encompassing philosophy, traditional medicine, and cosmology. Wuxing explains how nature organizes and balances itself. Its five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.

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