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A few questions with… Tilla Künzli

Christoph Mani
Tilla Künzli in the Innovation Office at the University of Basel | Photo credits: © David Walter

You are the (co-)founder of many different organizations and initiatives: Urban Agriculture Basel, Plankton and Stielbruch to name a few. Where do you take your motivation from?

Well, the honest answer is, that I did many projects out of a panic that not enough is happening. For about 15 years I had a very strong sense of responsibility and the feeling that I had to do it, or no one else would. I didn’t necessarily choose these projects, but I had the feeling that I had to do this because I don't feel safe on this planet. So there is a deeply unhealthy part to that drive. In 2019, I decided to stop, take a break and for a year I did only things I really wanted to do. After this sabbatical, I restarted again in 2020 and created a new flower business “Stielbruch”, which is really my meditation project. I don’t really start projects anymore, but let others take the driver's seat or support their driving so we can move together. .


Can you tell us a bit more about Stielbruch?

Stielbruch is the flower-bouquet from here and now. Everything is super local. I get all the plants from broken down places, everything is done by bike and no additional flowers are imported. I don’t believe in the import of flowers and the industry behind it. People don’t talk about how unsustainable the flower production is. Even though they talk about it in the food sector, the same problems apply also in the flower industry.

Stielbruch is just my little project that I do. It’s really peaceful and small.


What are the main societal challenges that you are addressing with your activities?

To keep it short, my main activities are all about local climate justice and how to personally stay sane given the climate crisis and all the other things going on. There is somewhat of an inner and an outer goal. The inner goal would be, to stay healthy myself by fostering self-care. The outer goal would be to be politically active, for example in the “Klimagerechtigkeitsinitiative”, as well as in the organizations that were already mentioned before.


Where do you see main challenges in tackling the climate crisis?

One thing that I am worried about is, how we go about this crisis together. I am curious what spaces can be created, so that we can manage such crisis in a participatory way. In the end, it’s really something that we have to manage together. It’s not only up to people with money, the people who have ideas or farmers. It is really up to all of us.


If you look 30 years into the future, how do you see us living together in an urban context?

For me it’s clear that urban spaces are going to be super green! People will go to the forest over the weekend just because it’s nice, but people might as well just stay in the city because it’s going to be so beautiful. The future city is edible, extremely gorgeous to look at. It’s colorful and loud, because there are so many birds singing and all kinds of animals will be wobbling around. Animals and plants are part of the habitat and our neighbors. We will use and produce energy in a circular way and there are a lot more buildings and spaces- both inside and outside - with multifunctional uses. Old buildings will be re-used and reinvented instead of only building new houses.

Curious to learn more?

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