Climate change, demographic change and the loss of biodiversity are global challenges which will have to be solved in coming years. Researchers - not just in the fields of environmental research and energy research, but also in economics and the humanities - are working on preserving the planet for future generations.
The Science Year 2012 "Project Earth: Our Future" was dedicated to sustainability research, thus continuing the tradition of interdisciplinary dialogue on issues that are vital for the future of society.
The Science Year was opened on 8 February with the launch of the ZukunftsWerkStadt initiative.
Urban and rural communities need new approaches for establishing carbon-neutral and energy-efficient structures in order to become more sustainable and improve their prospects for the future. On the one hand, efforts need to be made by the research community: Researchers support the necessary change towards sustainable urban development by providing new approaches and a basis for decision-making. On the other hand, people are encouraged to become involved and make an active contribution to the change process. This is the central idea of the ZukunftsWerkStadt, a competition of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
For further information and profiles of the participants please click here. Pictures for download and further press material on the ZukunftsWerkStadt is available in the Press Section of the Science Year 2012.
The Science Year 2012 "Project Earth: Our Future" poses questions that have more than one correct answer:
How do we want to live?
What will we live on?
And how can we preserve our environment?
All these topics are related to sustainable development. The Federal Government's Sustainability Strategy provides a definition of sustainability: cutting only as much wood as can grow back again, and living off the harvest rather than the seeds. In other words, each generation must solve its own problems and not burden the next generations with them.
Twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the international community will meet again in the same place in 2012 to develop sustainable solutions to complex changes in our global ecosystem. This, the 13th, Science Year will focus on precisely these areas. It is setting out to show how research results create the basis for decision-making in politics and society. German researchers are involved in international missions across the world, for example the Neumayer Station in the Antarctic, land and water management projects in Asia and Africa, and the "Polarstern" icebreaker.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research currently funds more than 500 international sustainability research projects in 62 countries across five different continents.
The Science Year 2012 "Project Earth: Our Future" will not just focus on international cooperation, but will also address regional aspects of research. The general public will be included and given the opportunity to experience how research affects the life of individuals. Several hundred partners will carry out their own information activities and interactive events: exhibitions, competitions, lecture series and discussions. Click here to find Science Year events in your region: www.zukunftsprojekt-erde.de/veranstaltungen
The activities carried out as part of the Science Year 2012 "Project Earth: Our Future" will themselves be sustainable: they will continue to have an effect far beyond the end of the Science Year. An example is "ZukunftsWerkStadt", a project initiated by the Science Year in cooperation with the German Association of Cities, in which people, associations, community initiatives and local media can share their visions of sustainable development in their cities. The ideas and concepts will then be developed and prepared for implementation with the help of scientists, researchers and planning experts.
The priority topics of the Science Year 2012 "Project Earth: Our Future" are:
The Science Years are organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in cooperation with the Science in Dialogue (WiD) initiative as well as numerous partners from the spheres of science, business, politics and culture.
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