“CIPSEM Day” in Nairobi

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Without having any appointment, Louisa Mwenda (Kenya, left) and Isabela Mkude (Tanzania, right) met in the vicinity of the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Enevironment Asembly (UNEA-3) in Nairobi, both are alumni of the “68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Waster Resource Management and Health” – sustainability thinking connects!

photo by Louisa Mwenda

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Culture, history and (cleaner) production

There is one of the largest remaining continuous floodplain forests in central Europe – and that’s surprisingly within an urban setting – the city also hosts the second oldest university of Germany (funded in 1409) and was domain to world famous artists like Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, where the ladder was not only a student of the university, but also called the city his “Little Paris” … Leipzig.

The SC-73 course visited the city to get some insights in recent German history in the Forum for Contemporary History in the exhibition “Division and Unity, Dictatorship and Resistance”.

In the afternoon the group had a look into large scale car manufacturing at the BMW production site in Leipzig and according sustainability measures.

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Exploring resource efficiency in Dessau

The participants of the 73rd UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management have received a warm welcome at the German Environment Agency in Dessau… as well as lots of input with regard to the topic of our training programme. Please see the image caption for details.

Increasing​​ resource efficiency

Meet the participants of our 73rd UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management:

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Today we have embarked on a 4-week-journey of learning from an with each other how we can move towards a more resource efficient world, in the context of our different countries, communities and institutions.

There is a sense of urgency, as Prof Jeffrey Sachs has pointed out in his keynote talk during this year’s conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy, PAGE.

 

Dealing with contamination

Freiberg has a long mining history. Naturally high background values, mining and ore processing have led to high concentrations of heavy metals in the area, as well as in the downstream flood plains. During our visit to the Saxon State Agency for Environment, Agriculture and Geology, Dr Ingo Müller and Dr Natalja Barth have elaborated on the historic development, as well as monitoring and soil protection efforts by the State Agency. We have received a good overview on farming activities on soils with high heavy metal concentrations and also learned a good deal about the set up of the agency and its interactions with key stake holders.

Soils and agriculture

On Monday, we went to visit the Centre for Agriculture and Environment in Nossen. There, we received a warm welcome by Dr Bergfeld, head of the Agriculture Department of the Saxon State Agency for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG). After an introduction into the agency and its responsibilities, we got to follow the way soil samples take in the laboratory (see captions for details).

After lunch, Dr Trapp and her colleagues introduce us to the test done in Nossen and in other facilities of the LfULG, for example, to give recommendations on the varieties most suitable for local conditions.

The bigger picture

During our visit to the Helmholtz-Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences we could upgrade our understanding of how soils and modern landscapes are a highly interconnected part of the Earth system. As director, Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Reinhard Hüttl introduced the manifold research activities of GFZ. Later, we got to build our own Earth system with the fantasic support of Prof. Dr Nils Hovius.

In the end of our stay, we could see firsthand, how climate proxies are being analysed in the GFZ laboratories.