How do ecosystems change with rising temperatures? Where are potential flood plains in the Berlin-Brandenburg region? And how must cities and municipalities manage their (waste) water in order to protect people and the environment in the future? Researchers from the Einstein Research Unit “Climate and Water under Change” (CliWaC) are asking these and many other questions. And to better understand the regional changes in Berlin-Brandenburg related to water, they are asking visitors at the Humboldt Lab for help.
A new research station in the exhibition After Nature allows visitors to share their own observations on water-related risks of climate change in the Berlin-Brandenburg region with the research unit CliWaC. The acronym stands for “Climate and Water under Change” and is a research consortium made up of 52 scientists from various disciplines at Berlin universities and other research institutions. This combination of social and natural sciences enables an interdisciplinary perspective on the topic of water.
But the group is not only interested in combining different disciplinary perspectives, as social and cultural anthropologist Desirée Hetzel explains: “In CliWaC, we want to bring together experts in the field and everyday experts to think together about how we deal with water.” This is where the exhibition visitors come into play,” says Hetzel. “Local people are often the ones who can draw on direct observations and experiences. In addition, measures need to be integrated into social discourse and practices.”
The CliWaC researchers are currently investigating three case studies categorised as city, countryside and river. Specifically, researchers are studying heavy rainfall in the urban area of Berlin, the lake systems of Groß Gienicker See and Sacrower See in rural Brandenburg, as well as the Spree River and its catchment area.
The coloured slips of paper at the research station in the Humboldt Lab are based on these case studies and are further inspired by the German game “Stadt, Land, Fluss” (City, Countryside, River). On the slips, visitors can note down water-related problems that they have observed at a particular place in Berlin or Brandenburg and make suggestions for further research. The slips can then be rolled-up and stuck at the corresponding place on the map. In this way, an increasingly rich picture of the problems and data gradually emerges. Hundreds of suggestions have already been collected and sent to the CliWaC scientists.
“Science is no longer just about publicising one’s own research,” says CliWaC spokesman Jörg Niewöhner, explaining the purpose of the research station in the exhibition. Rather, the project aims to make research into public matters of concern. “That means we want to know how people think about water, about sustainability and about the future of their region,” Niewöhner explains. “These ideas and images need to be brought together with scientific knowledge in order to design feasible and equitable paths to the future together as a society.” The station makes a small but significant contribution to this.
Author: Alina Januscheck
|Date:||14. Februar 2023|