Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society


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Asia and the Pacific: Environments—Cultures—Histories

Workshop Report (LMU-ChAN Satellite Conference, 3–5 November 2017, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany)

by Travis Klingberg

(All sketches by Libby Robin)

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Group picture of the workshop participants.

Flood-proof cities. The social costs of waste incineration. Water level changes in the Pearl River Delta. The environmental impact of nineteenth-century Chinese immigration across the Pacific. These are a sample of the topics discussed during the “Asia and the Pacific” workshop, hosted by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in early November.

The workshop was was organized by the Rachel Carson Center in collaboration with the LMU China Academic Network (LMU-ChAN) and it received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service. Continue reading


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Communicating the Climate: How to Communicate Scholarly Findings on Climate and Weather in a Controversial Time

Workshop Report (Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany, 18 August 2017)

by Katrin Kleemann

climate-cold-glacier-iceberg

On 18 August 2017, the RCC hosted a workshop on the challenges and goals of communicating climate research. The workshop was organized by two RCC doctoral candidates, Jeroen Oomen and Katrin Kleemann, and financed by the European Commission through the Marie Curie ENHANCE ITN Program.

The workshop’s call for participants was mainly aimed at early-stage researchers working on climate-related issues from social science and humanities perspectives. The workshop’s goal was to discuss how to effectively communicate climate science, climate research, and other issues relating to climate change, as well as how to engage with climate science from a humanities perspective, and most importantly, how to communicate work in this field in a way that could make a difference.

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Ecopolis München: Ecopolis Night

“A Student Exhibition on Munich’s Environmental Histories”

All photographs courtesy of Florin Prună.

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In late July, students of the RCC’s Environmental Studies Certificate Program organized Ecopolis München: Umweltgeschichten einer Stadt. This interactive multimedia exhibition showcased Munich’s environmental histories through the students’ final projects, and was curated by doctoral candidate Sasha Gora, research assistant Raphaela Holzer, and the Deutsches Museum’s exhibitions curator Nina Möllers.

Over 200 people attended the special evening, among them prominent guests including professors from various universities, city representatives, journalists, Selbach Umwelt Stiftung founder Karl Heinrich Selbach, and Green party leader Margarete Bause.

The evening opened with an informal welcome from RCC director Christof Mauch and a number of students involved in the organization of the exhibition. President of LMU Munich Bernd Huber then gave the official opening address, remarking on the fantastic work the students had done. Continue reading


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Day 7. Danube Excursion: Bratislava—Munich

by Lea Wiser


Bratislava → Munich


 

Spending a night on a boat and waking up to views over the glimmering river is not something that happens every day. After a long night, a hearty breakfast helped us to regain our energy for the last guided tour with Peter Pisut, who specializes in the historical geography of Slovak rivers. Even though we did not have much time, it is mandatory to walk up to Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the Danube.

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Day 6. Danube Excursion: Vienna—Bratislava

by Laura Kuen


Vienna → Orth → Gabčíkovo → Bratislava


Traveling from Vienna to Bratislava, our day’s topics branched in quite different directions: water power and nature conservation. We first visited the Austrian National Park Donau-Auen in Orth and later the Gabčíkovo Dams, Slovakia’s biggest hydroelectric plant.

Conservation in the Donau-Auen

The national park, which spans the distance between Vienna and Bratislava, finds its roots in a story of resistance, years of struggle, and constant negotiations between opposing forces. Our guide, Manfred Rosenberger, whose personal biography is deeply interwoven with the park, vividly recounted the park’s history.

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Map of the Donau-Auen National Park, reaching from Vienna to the Slovakian border near Bratislava.

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Environmental Histories of Architecture

Workshop Report (Rachel Carson Center, 28–29 June 2017).

Written by Daniel A. Barber (University of Pennsylvania), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation advanced research fellow and former RCC visiting fellow. Daniel also organized the workshop.

College of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung), Ulm. Architect: Max Bill. Photo: Andreas Bohnenstengel, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE. The college is considered by some as a founding institute in the fields of visual comminication and information and building and industrial design.

 

The relationship between environmental history and the history of the built environment has only recently begun to gain substantive attention in the field of architectural history. This Workshop brought together leading scholars to discuss the interpretive and analytic methods relevant to Environmental Histories of Architecture, and to assess the conceptual challenges presented to the field.

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Day 5. Danube Excursion: Krems—Vienna

by Christoph Netz


Krems → Vienna


Research Channels, Sterlets, and the Danube Island of Vienna

With another early start, it was lucky that the memorable apricot jam, a local specialty, provided a good incentive to get up in time for breakfast. Only five minutes behind schedule, we departed from Krems, with its beautiful historic center and surrounding vineyards, for Vienna.

Nussdorfer Lock and Weir

Our first stop was the Nussdorfer Schleuse, a lock and weir where the Danube canal branches off from the Danube in the northern outskirts of Vienna. Between the canal and the main river lies an outdoor research channel that is used to investigate the flow dynamics of different riverbeds and flood plains. Here, we met with Christine Sindelar of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (BOKU), who conducts her research at the outdoor research channel. The building of the research channel was part of the DREAM project (Danube River Research and Management), which was cofinanced by the City of Vienna and the European Union. The slope between the Danube and the canal allows the scientists to experiment with flow rates of 10 cubic meters per second, and hence provides unique opportunities to make 1:1 scale simulations of river flow and sediment dynamics.

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