Transformative Change towards Sustainable Futures

ERN-Environmental Engagements : talks

Wassertropfen in gelbem und blauem Licht

„Transformative change means doing things differently—not just a little more or less of something we’re already doing.”
(Chan, 2019: IPBES online)

The complexity and multiplicity of sustainability crises humanity is facing requires a specific scientific expertise: a combination of sound yet cutting-edge basic research, increased connectivity of knowledges through inter- and transdisciplinary research, and the responsible communication of both. Only by integrating and engaging with perspectives from all disciplines are we able to grasp the bigger picture, understand the depth of the problem, and critically consider the pathways of transformative change we need within the nexus of the social, ecological, and economic sphere towards more sustainable futures. This is what the “Environmental Engagements: talks” format hosted by the Environmental Research Network of the University of Vienna aims for. Giving a platform to researchers from all disciplinary backgrounds conducting cutting edge environmental research at the University of Vienna through engaging, highly timely talks, it caters to a broad audience beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Wo: Zoom [Zoom Links unter den entsprechenden Veranstaltungen, siehe unten] - keine Registrierung notwendig


03.03.2021, 17:00-18:30, Sabine Pahl: The role of human perception and behaviour in plastic pollution (english)

24.03.2021, 17:00-18:30, Stefan Wallner: Light pollution - An interdisciplinary view on the impact of artificial light at night (english)

21.04.2021, 17:00-18:30, Alexandra Brausmann: The economics of the Climate Challenge (english)

12.05.2021, 17:00-18:30, Andreas Richter: The times they are a-changing: on feedbacks, thresholds, and tipping points in the climate system (english)

26.05.2021, 17:00-18:30, Antje Daniels: "Climate Justice Now!" Fridays for Future as a new wave of environmental activism (english)

16.06.2021, 17:00-18:30, Gerhard Herndl: Towards sustainable ecosystem services of the ocean (english)


>>> Veranstaltung verpasst? Kein Problem! Unter "Vergangene Veranstaltungen" finden Sie alle Talks inklusive Link zur Aufzeichnung.

Vergangene Veranstaltungen

03.03.2021 Sabine Pahl: The role of human perception and behaviour in plastic pollution

Sabine Pahl

Aquatic plastic pollution is entirely due to humans. Throughout the whole life cycle of plastic, from production via consumption to disposal, it is human decisions and behaviour that ultimately lead to plastic ending up in aquatic environments. Every sector, every individual plays a role in the fate of plastic waste. For example, designers and producers make decisions about materials, appearance and functionality; consumers make purchasing decisions and dispose of items after use; policy makers decide on regulation and legal frameworks. These processes can be documented and explained using theories and methods from the social and behavioural sciences. More importantly, these insights can guide social change processes systematically and help develop and evaluate effective communication and behaviour change interventions. This presentation will summarise recent work on the human dimension in aquatic plastic pollution. The focus will be on relevant literature from social and environmental psychology on risk perception and behaviour change. The talk will draw on interdisciplinary and international work to highlight challenges to such integrative research and misunderstandings between disciplines. It will include research on macro- and microplastics and a range of stakeholders, e.g., fishermen and young people. This will be complemented by a brief discussion of the research-policy interface in the context of plastic pollution, drawing on recent work with the EU Chief Scientific Advisors and UNEP.

Vortragssprache: englisch

Über die Vortragende:
Sabine Pahl is a Social Psychologist engaged in basic and applied research and her applied work focuses on the human dimension in environmental issues. Since October 2020 she holds the new professorship of Urban and Environmental Psychology at the University of Vienna, while still holding an Honorary Professorship of Applied Social Psychology, University of Plymouth, UK. She investigates perceptions and behaviour change, particularly in the area of protecting marine environments, marine litter and microplastics and energy efficiency.

Wann: 03.03.2021, 17:00-18:30; mit Eröffnung von Jean-Robert Tyran, Vizerektor für Forschung und Internationales

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Passwort: r49wge.f]

24.03.2021 Stefan Wallner: Light pollution - An interdisciplinary view on the impact of artificial light at night

Stefan Wallner

The term ’light pollution’ characterises the influence of artificial light on the natural dark sky. It is a worldwide issue and can be dated back at least to the beginning of the 20th century, caused by light coming from the ground and comprises phenomena like light trespass, light scattering in the atmosphere and huge 'domes' of light around cities. The ever-worsening phenomenon impairs not only the visibility of objects on the night sky, but also inhibits the dormancy of plants, disrupts nocturnal activities of animals and provides negative effects on human health. In the last decade, light pollution research became of major importance and grew to be highly multi-disciplinary. The talk will elucidate the topic from several perspectives, including from an astronomical, ecological and environmental point of view, its global status, legal situation, results of current research activities and potential actions against further increases.

Vortragssprache: englisch

Über den Vortragenden:
Stefan Wallner is an astrophysicist, currently working at the Department of Astrophysics, University of Vienna (Austria) and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava (Slovak Republic). His research field is the topic of measuring, modelling and quantifying light pollution, skyglow and atmospherical effects. Since 2019 he is the project manager for light pollution research at the University of Vienna.


Wann: 24.03.2021, 17:00-18:30

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Passwort: dY?3yyH+]

21.04.2021 Alexandra Brausmann: The economics of the Climate Challenge

Alexandra Brausmann

Is it possible to sustain a positive rate of economic growth, while at the same reduce GHG emissions? How expensive and feasible is climate policy really? How can we use scientific knowledge to support adaptation to changing and variable climate? The talk will shed light on these questions and other challenges that climate change poses for economic systems.

Vortragsspreche: englisch

Über die Vortragende:
Alexandra Brausmann is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Economics at the University of Vienna. She holds MIS in International Economics from The Graduate Institute (Geneva) and PhD in Economics from ETH Zürich. Her research interests include macro and micro impacts of climate change, environmental migration, exhaustible resource management and climate policy, agricultural economics, growth and sustainability.


Wann: 21.04.2021, 17:00-18:30

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Passwort: f$.Q1#hJ]

12.05.2021 Andreas Richter: The times they are a-changin’: on feedbacks, thresholds and tipping points in the climate system

Andreas Richter

Global warming is breaking records year after year, fueled by ever-increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. How can we limit warming to 1.5 to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels? This strongly depends on feedbacks between the climate and natural ecosystems, many of which are not well understood in their dimension and mechanisms. Additionally, the cumulative impact of global warming may also cause parts of the global climate system to cross tipping points, where changes become irreversible and the Earth may enter a new state, often described as the Hothouse Earth. I will review several such potential tipping points and discuss what they mean for risk assessment and climate change mitigation strategies.

Vortragssprache: englisch

Über den Vortragenden:
Andreas Richter is an ecologist at the University of Vienna. His research aims at understanding how microorganisms respond to and shape their abiotic and biotic environment, and what consequences that has for the functioning of the Earth’s ecosystems, in the current and in a future climate. One of his research interests is the permafrost-climate feedback, an area in which he has published extensively. He is the head of the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, guest senior research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and executive secretary of the Austrian Polar Research Institute.


Wann: 12.05.2021, 17:00-18:30

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Passwort: GfmY8#k+]

26.05.2021 Antje Daniel: "Climate Justice Now!" Fridays for Future as a new wave of environmental activism

Antje Daniel

The "Fridays for Future" climate movement started with the protest of Greta Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament and grew to a global movement, which was able to mobilize more than 1.6 million people around the globe in March 2019. Under the banner "Fridays for Future" millions of schoolchildren and students worldwide are mobilizing for climate justice. Never before so many young people were on the streets by using school strike as a form of civil disobedience. Public and political attention has been substantial in European countries and Greta Thunberg became the movement’s icon. A new generation has became political, representing a historical turn in climate activism. This wave of climate protest mobilization is unique in its tactics, appeals to pupils and students, represents young women and includes adults likewise. The presentation reveals the activism, the demands and the socio-demographic composition of the Fridays for Future movement in Austria and analysis its particularity as a new wave of environmental activism.

Vortragssprache: englisch

Über die Vortragende:
Dr. Antje Daniel ist Protest- und Bewegungsforscherin am Institut für Internationale Entwicklung der Universität Wien. Sie beschäftigt sich mit unterschiedlichen sozialen Bewegungen in Europa, Lateinamerika und Afrika, vornehmlich im Bereich sozialen Wohnungsbau, Bildung und Umwelt. Seit der Gründung der Forschungswerkstatt Proteste stehen stehen die jungen Umweltaktivismen in Österreich im Vordergrund.

Wann: 26.05.2021, 17:00-18:30

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Passwort: C9+vxfP9]

16.06.2021 Gerhard Herndl: Towards sustainable ecosystem services of the ocean (english)

Gerhard Herndl

The ocean covers about 70% of the Earth surface and has taken up more than 95% of the heat generated by fossil fuel burning. Marine heat waves are only one consequence of that leading to mass mortality of corals.  Only about 30% of the tropical coral reefs are considered intact. Overfishing, deep-sea mining and plastic pollution are representing threats to the ocean potentially changing its functioning severely if no countermeasures are undertaken. In this talk the major environmental problems the ocean is facing are highlighted as well as ways to mitigate these problems, which could potentially lead to a sustainable use of the ocean.

Vortragssprache: englisch

Über den Vortragenden:
Gerhard J. Herndl is Professor of Aquatic Biology at the Dept. Functional and Evolutionary Ecology of the University of Vienna. Over the past 25 years, his team focused its research on the microbial oceanography and biogeochemistry of coastal and open oceans, particularly on the biogeochemical processes in the deep ocean. Gerhard J. Herndl has published more than 270 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has received a European Research Council Advanced Grant, the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the GE Hutchinson Award of ASLO and is Full Member of the Austrian Academy of Science.


Wann: 16.06.2021, 17:00-18:30

Link zur Aufzeichnung [Kenncode: C6&mn?B*]