23rd -25th September 2019
The concrete expanse in front of the main building of the Technical University (TU) seemed to stretch into infinity. Not a pupil in sight. Good. Time for a quick coffee. Refreshed I returned to see my colleagues waiting patiently, lists in their hand. I was very pleased to see that all the 148 pupils of the 10th grade at Schiller Gymnasium as well as a class from the Sophie-Charlotte-Gymnasium turned up almost punctually (or were excused) and were assigned to their different workshops. This was a first time event. After a meeting with Scientists For Future in spring, Nicole Langreder – a student in her final year at the TU, had decided to set up an ambitious project offering school pupils the opportunity to have hands-on experience with developing solutions to the impending climate catastrophe.
Workshops for Berliner school pupils
Nicole Langreder galvanised her fellow students, companies and teaching programs to come up with twelve different multidisciplinary workshops for the Berlin pupils – ranging from building earthships to designing comics for future. Some pupils calculated costs of solar powered water supply in developing countries, whereas others looked at the issues of reforesting. Some pupils were involved in developing a traffic concept for the Ernst-Reuter-Platz and learn ways of communicating their demands. Yet other pupils participated in upcycling food with the help of SirPlus.
The pupils were scattered around different rooms of the Technical University and worked hard on their projects for two days to develop tangible ideas which could be presented at the Klima Kongress Create Your Future which took place on the evening of Wednesday 25th of September.
Presentations of the Klima Kongress Create Your Future
The pupils were able to choose their workshop which they then worked at from 8 a.m. to 12.15 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday 23. and 24. of September. After creating tangible products, the pupils then reconvened in the “Lichthof” of the TU – an impressive forum to present their results in the form of a poster session, interspersed with talks.
The keynote speaker Dr. Carl Friedrich Schleussner from the “Integrativen Forschungsinstitut zu Transformationen von Mensch-Umwelt-Systemen (IRI THESys)” at der Humboldt University and representative of the research institute Climate Analytics arrived straight at the Klima Kongress from the IPCC meeting in Monaco. He gave a concerning speech, where he made it very clear that the summers of the century that we have enjoyed in 2018 and 2019 with their concomitant droughts, floods and fires are starting to manifest some of the impacts of a rise of 0.5 degrees Celsius. Dr. Schleussner made it clear that a 1.5 degree increase in global temperature will have drastic consequences, which will be unequally distributed, underlining the necessity that politicians must come to grips of reducing carbon dioxide emissions dramatically within the next twenty years in order to mitigate the worst outcomes of global heating. Dr. Schleussner made it very clear that these prognoses are based on thousands of peer reviewed scientific papers.
Representatives of SirPlus showed us the scale of the amount of food which goes to waste daily and were able to activate the pupils in creating delicious samples.
The social business Ecosia GmbH is a sustainable search engine, whose representatives supported the congress by offering to plant trees for every participant taking part.
There were several presentations by pupils to explain what they had done during the workshops.
Pupils from the 3D Printer workshop explained that it is possible to use 3D printers to manufacture small structures, to replace damaged elements, so that new items do not need to be bought. They also explained that it is possible to develop more sustainable materials for moulding the plastic.
Another group presented an alternative mobility concept for the Ernst-Reuter-Platz, which involved a lot more pedestrian use and planting trees.
The idea of Earthships caught the attention of pupils, who demonstrated that it is possible to build houses from recycled building materials. However, there are a lot of regulatory issues in Germany which need to be resolved first.
The Klimagerechtigkeitsgruppe (Fair play for the climate) looked at the development of a cyclic production system and how to increase a fair participation in the developmental process.
In addition to the speeches there was a poster session around the edge of the “Lichthof”, (Forum of light) where pupils, students and representatives of companies presented posters, models and further information to the topics raised.
All in all it was a busy three days but it was a great opportunity to…
“Listen to the Scientists!”