Headline: Blog

The IASS blog contains contributions from employees in all IASS departments and covers a huge range of themes. In addition to discussing the latest research findings and events, the blog authors comment on political developments.

 

Re-imagining the future through visual utopias

“We have to imagine a society before we build it”, Justine Norton Kertson says, “And when it comes to adapting and solving the climate crisis, defeating fossil fuel empires, and creating a relationship of harmony rather than conflict between humanity, technology and nature; then we have to move from the imaginary to the real, from theoretical to practical”. There is no doubt that we have a long road ahead to build a carbon-neutral environment and create sustainable ways of living in the near future. But more importantly, at least from my point of view, we need to decide on what we would like to change exactly and what kind of a world we want to establish in the first place. Otherwise, we will not be able to take life-changing steps that will have long-lasting results.

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Excursion to Feldheim

A Renewables Frontrunner in Brandenburg

We like to think of Germany as a trailblazer in the transition to a sustainable energy system. But the energy crises unleashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have highlighted the shortcomings in Germany’s energy policy. The truth is that when it comes to the energy transition, successive governments have dragged their heels and wasted precious time. Undaunted by this, many towns and villages have taken things into their own hands and created carbon-neutral energy and heating systems that power their communities and more.

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Berlin Science Week

Haptic Hortus in Berlin

Plenty of people talk to their plants. But what about touching them? Tracing the veins on their leaves, caressing their stems, holding them, moving them? And what about the many ways that plants - from trees to shrubs to water lilies and flowers - touch us? At the recent Berlin Science Week, IASS fellow, anthropologist and artist Susanne Schmitt teamed up with community gardeners Prinzessinnengärten and natural building lab Dis+Ko to create a unique space: Haptic Hortus.

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Friedrichstrasse

Lessons for participatory urban planning

Seit 2020 ist ein Abschnitt der Friedrichstraße für Menschen zu Fuß oder mit dem Fahrrad geöffnet und für dem Autoverkehr geschlossen. Das Berliner Verwaltungsgericht hat im Oktober verkündet, dass auf diesen circa 500 Metern der Friedrichstraße wieder Autos fahren sollen. Jenseits des Juristischen Streits dreht sich die Debatte darum, ob der Einzelhandel leidet, wenn Kunden nicht mit dem Auto kommen können. Aber diese Debatte greift zu kurz.

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Ocean Governance

Germany Calls for Precautionary Pause on Deep Sea Mining

Negotiations to regulate deep seabed mining are entering a critical phase with some states pushing back against the rush to mine the ocean floor. Germany has called for a precautionary pause on seabed mining. The Ocean Governance team at the IASS is supporting the development of high environmental standards to protect the ocean from harm that could be caused by seabed mining.

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Discussing future hydrogen geographies in Europe: a conversation that is overdue

The transition to renewable energy in Europe has evolved dynamically since the turn of the century. The share of renewable energy in the European Union more than doubled between 2004 and 2022. Nevertheless, renewable energy represents only 22 percent of overall energy consumption and 37 percent of electricity generation in the EU. In other words, Europe still has a long way to go, even when it comes to the relatively easy task of converting its electricity production to renewables.

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Energy transitions

The Politics of Just Transitions: Definitions Matter

Just Energy Transition Partnerships represent a novel approach to financing the energy transitions in emerging economies. Spurred by the announcement of the Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa at COP26, a host of other countries have since expressed interest in their own JETPs. Nonetheless, while COP27 may witness the announcement of several new JETPs, these partnerships will likely vary in scope, size, and ambition. This is especially true for “just transition” policies, which have real-world consequences for the inhabitants of recipient nations.

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Why we need ethnographic and artistic methods in climate research

Ethnographic methods teach us that we can better understand the various spheres of life of a human group by studying traits such as their language, religious beliefs, rites, social structures, and artistic expressions. In this blog article, I argue that ethnographic methods are underestimated in climate-related research and could easily be integrated with artistic methodological formats. I believe that these artistic forms can bring research projects a more participatory character and might be more effective in creating awareness and building public trust towards scientists, especially concerning the topic of climate change and environmental justice. This might also help academic researchers make their publications more memorable, and contribute to the ultimate aim of transforming society towards more sustainable pathways.

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IASS Focal Topic 2022

Turning debt into climate action: A Global South approach to the climate struggle

This year has made it abundantly clear that we are edging closer to climate catastrophe much faster than previously thought. Floods, heatwaves and wildfires across the globe have cost thousands of lives and destroyed the livelihoods of millions more. At the same time, global cooperation on climate change remains lacking. To the contrary, confronted with a steep rise in energy prices, as a result of an unexpected worldwide squeeze on energy supplies over the past year, Global North governments are undermining their own carbon emission reduction targets.

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New visions to support European youth on climate chaos

2018 marked the dawn of a new age of youth activism in Europe. Climate justice and the question of intergenerational justice are now taking centrestage. The slogans associated with the Fridays for Future movement capture the existential crisis of contemporary youth, triggered by the vision of “stolen futures” and the burdens they will almost certainly have to shoulder tomorrow if effective climate policies are not adopted in the present.

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