Headline: RIFS Blog

The blog of the Research Institute for Sustainability (RIFS) contains contributions from employees in all RIFS 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.

 

A win-win for cyclists – measuring effects of the transport transition on air quality

Recently, the team of the “Climate Change and Air Pollution” (ClimPol) project published an article in Environmental Research Letters detailing the results of a measurement campaign conducted along Kottbusser Damm in Berlin-Kreuzberg. In short, we found that the implementation of a protected pop-up bike-lane along the street reduced the amount of air pollution cyclists were exposed to by 22%. On its own this is a significant, but perhaps not unexpected result. However, to set these results in their proper context, first we need to rewind back to 2018.

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Book review

Out there, it’s different

It is not uncommon for the German name of the IASS to evoke confused looks on people’s faces: Institut für transformative Nachhaltigkeitsforschung – “I’m sorry, but what is ‘transformative’ supposed to mean, and what is ‘transformative research’?” A comprehensive yet straightforward answer is given in Jan Freihardt’s book “Draußen ist es anders” (“Out there, it’s different”), subtitled “Treading new paths towards a science of transition”.

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Energy Access, Water, Sanitation, and Food Security in Rural Areas: Insights from Rwanda

What kind of help do remote rural villages in developing countries need to sustainably improve their infrastructure? What is the state of electricity supply and services, the availability and quality of cooking solutions, and the quality of water access in these settlements? Is there a nexus between access to basic services and nutrition in these areas? And, if a project is implemented, how can progress made at the household level be monitored, reported, and evaluated? These questions are at the heart of the project “Action-Based & Impact-Driven Research: Establishing Collaborative Frameworks for Researchers, Impact Makers, and Sustainable Entrepreneurs (IMPACT-R).”

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Structures in Transformation – Lusatia in Focus

Since 2020 artist and photographer Sven Gatter has been documenting traces of decay and renewal in Lower Lusatia that are simultaneously new beginnings and occasions for discourse. He is now bringing the results of this work together in the artist's book "ECHO TEKTUR. Ruins and Models". IASS researcher Johannes Staemmler has penned a contribution to this publication, which we publish here in an abridged version. Sven Gatter's works will be shown at Brandenburg’s State Museum of Modern Art from 10 September through to 21 November 2021.

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Women, gender, and mobility

The subject of women and mobility has been widely discussed in media, at events, and in politics since 2019. Again and again the core message of these debates has been: “Women’s mobility is different to men’s. They have other needs and requirements”. But what does that mean exactly? How can these differences in be explained and what are the implications for the mobility transition?

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Workshop report

The Global South – From conceptualization to action?

On 31 May 2021, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies hosted an event under the title “The Global South: Where and what is it?”. The event was planned and organized by Alexandra Tost, Artur Sgambatti Monteiro, Flávio Lira, Natalia Realpe Carrillo, Pradeep Singh and Achim Maas. This online event was the result of several months of preparation among fellows and researchers at the IASS who had realized the potential for a discussion around this topic.

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World Ocean Day

Why financial regulators need to consider ocean biodiversity

As the largest and most complex ecosystem on the planet, the ocean plays a key role in efforts to address the interrelated challenges of biodiversity collapse and climate change. Despite this, its dynamics have only been inadequately included in financial approaches intended to mitigate them. Financial regulators are increasingly aware of the multiple links between the climate and biodiversity crisis and the financial system and how nature is impacted by financial flows. They now need to fully integrate ocean biodiversity into their approaches.

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The pandemic: An opportunity for transformation?

The response to the coronavirus pandemic has brought about changes that would once have seemed unthinkable. As part of its precautionary measures, the state has been permitted to limit freedoms in order to protect the health of its citizens. The flood of mass tourism has become a trickle and the number of people commuting to work has plummeted. As economies slow, so too do greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, Germany has reached its climate goals for 2020 after all. The pandemic has also seen a surge in solidarity, with citizens helping each other with the shopping, collecting donations for shuttered cinemas and much more. Parliaments have seen bipartisan support for bridging loans, debt moratoriums, and stimulus programmes to keep businesses afloat and support struggling families.

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Methane: A new hope? There is plenty of potential, but ambition is lacking

There is a lot on the international climate policy agenda in 2021. Most importantly, countries will finally have to submit their enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The European Green Deal will contribute to this process and will hopefully lead the EU towards a low-carbon economy with new climate protection targets and many other measures. With pressure growing to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil its international commitments, the EU is now examining the options around methane.

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The Aesthetics and Sustainability Fund (FÄN)

Connecting culture and sustainability to foster action

We need other, more sustainable, cross-cutting forms of funding to tap the potential of art and culture, advance society with new ideas, and enable cooperation with science.
The aim of the Fund Aesthetics and Sustainability |FÄN is to close this gap. The FÄN is intended to open up a further space of possibility and expand the artistic radius of action.

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