Climate change, alterations in land use, as well as demographic and economic developments are intensifying the strain on global freshwater resources. Concurrently, the demand for water is escalating, leading to instances in which drinking water in particular becomes scarce, precipitating conflicts over water utilization – both within Germany and worldwide.
Global biodiversity loss continues relentlessly. Solutions for conserving and restoring biodiversity demand a deeper comprehension of the causes for biodiversity decline. This includes societal developments, such as demographic shifts, digitalization, or the change in values and norms, as these factors affect the utilization of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The confluence of climate change and demographic shifts presents unparalleled challenges to water infrastructures. Particularly during periods of heatwaves, droughts, heavy rainfall events, urbanization surges, and the depopulation of rural areas, the domains of water supply and wastewater management encounter serious trials.
To make our society sustainable, fundamental changes in consumption practices and supply systems are needed. Central to this endeavor is the question of how lifestyles within realms like mobility, housing, nourishment, and leisure, as well as engagement with green spaces, can evolve toward greater sustainability.
Transdisciplinary research intertwines the quest for social solutions to problems with scientific advancements in knowledge. A defining feature of this research approach is the integration of different disciplines as well as the fusion of science and practical application. This entails connecting various forms of knowledge, concepts, languages, goals, and temporal logics.
Mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is one of the pivotal challenges in achieving sustainable development. The decarbonization of our carbon-dependent society necessitates extensive transformations in our energy utilization practices. In our research on sustainable energy use, we therefore investigate how energy can be used in a sufficient way, i.e. economically, sustainably and flexibly.
The consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. This intensifies the pressure to adjust social-ecological systems to cope with these changes. Climate adaptation includes actions like effectively and proactively managing increasing occurrences of heatwaves, droughts, and heavy rainfall events. It also involves addressing gradual changes, such as the proliferation of invasive species.
Motorized traffic significantly exacerbates the climate crisis, environmental degradation, and the occurrence of health impairments . Consequently, our primary emphasis within mobility research lies in addressing how mobility cultures can be transitioned towards greater sustainability. The mobility culture approach serves as the cornerstone of our investigation, interconnecting rational, symbolic, and material dimensions of mobility and transportation.
Evidence from feminist research and gender studies suggests that gender plays a significant role in relation to environmental issues. This is exemplified by unequal access to economic resources and political decision-making, as well as by the outcomes of gender-based divisions of labour.
In recent years, environmental risk awareness has been steadily increasing in both politics and society. Topics such as microplastics in drinking water, persistent chemicals in our soils, or pharmaceutical residues in drinking water are being discussed intensively and often controversially. Conflicts between differing goals and interest groups frequently arise.