Frankfurt Citizens University

“Water in the Anthropocene” – ISOE and Citizen’s University go virtual

In the Anthropocene – the age of man – the popular image of the natural water cycle no longer applies, as man has long since intervened in this cycle in many places. The consequences are sometimes massive and can be seen in changed precipitation patterns as well as in sinking groundwater levels. How can water of good quality and in sufficient quantities still remain available?  ISOE’s seminar on this topic “Water in the Anthropocene – Man’s Influence on the Natural Hydrological Cycle” as part of the citizens’ university was held as an online event on May 20, 2020.

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Aerial of aqueduct (© iofoto /
Aerial of aqueduct (© iofoto /

Since 2015, ISOE has continuously participated in the citizens’ university with its own events. But in the current summer semester it was for the first time not possible to invite citizens to a seminar due to the Corona pandemic. The Institute therefore decided to hold the event online.  

The web seminar started with a joint presentation by ISOE scientists Robert Lütkemeier and Stefan Liehr. The two water experts addressed the debate on the anthropocene and showed man’s influence on the natural water cycle using the example of national and international research projects. 

Insights into the science of social hydrology

The ISOE researchers also provided insights into “social hydrology”, which sees the natural water cycle as a system significantly influenced by man. Social hydrology thus has close links to social ecology. Both approaches integrate social processes as important control variables of water resources in their research with both material and symbolic levels being involved. 

Following the lecture, the question of how a sustainable use of water resources can look like and what concrete possibilities exist for shaping it, were jointly discussed. Online participants also had the possibility to ask questions and make suggestions in a parallel chat. 

Frankfurt Citizens’ University
Wasser im Anthropozän – Der Einfluss des Menschen auf den Wasserkreislauf
(Water in the Anthropocene – The influence of man on the water cycle)

Speakers: Dr. Robert Lütkemeier and Dr. Stefan Liehr

Date: 20.05.2020, 18:30–19:30

Event type: Web seminar

Hosted by: ISOE – Institute for Social-Ecological Research in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Birgit Blättel-Mink, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Institute for Sociology

The seminar was held in German.