Science Year 2012

Bild Frau mit Fahrrad und Erdkugel

The Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” is dedicated to research for sustainable development. Sustainability research is the key to the future. We need to find a research approach that encompasses economic, ecological and social aspects – without solving one problem at the expense of another.

Climate change, demographic change and the loss of biodiversity are global challenges which will have to be solved in coming years. Researchers in the fields of environmental research, energy research, economics and the humanities are working on preserving the planet for future generations.

The Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” is dedicated to sustainability research, thus continuing the tradition of interdisciplinary dialogue on issues that are vital for the future of society.


Research that transcends disciplines and continents

The Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” poses questions that have more than one correct answer: How do we want to live? What will we live on? And how can we preserve our environment? All these topics are related to sustainable development. The Federal Government’s Sustainability Strategy provides a definition of sustainability: cutting only as much wood as can grow back again, and living off the harvest rather than the seeds. In other words, each generation must solve its own problems and not burden the next generations with them.

Twenty years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the international community will meet again in the same place in 2012 to develop sustainable solutions to complex changes in our global ecosystem. This, the 13th, Science Year will focus on precisely these areas. It is setting out to show how research results create the basis for decision-making in politics and society. German researchers are involved in international missions across the world: the Neumayer Station in the Antarctic, land and water management projects in Asia and Africa, and the “Polarstern” icebreaker, to name but a few examples. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research currently funds more than 500 international sustainability research projects in 62 countries across five different continents. 


An invitation to join in

The Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” will not just focus on international cooperation, but will also address regional aspects of research. The general public will be included and given the opportunity to experience how research affects the life of individuals. Several hundred partners will carry out their own information activities and interactive events: exhibitions, competitions, lecture series and discussions.

The activities carried out as part of the Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” will themselves be sustainable: they will continue to have an effect far beyond the end of the Science Year. An example is “ZukunftsWerkStadt”, a project initiated by the Science Year in cooperation with the German Association of Cities, in which people, associations, community initiatives and local media can share their visions of sustainable development in their cities. The ideas and concepts will then be developed and prepared for implementation with the help of scientists, researchers and planning experts.

The priority topics of the Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” are sustainable consumption, finance, the climate, raw materials, energy and biodiversity. The Science Years are organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in cooperation with the Science in Dialogue (WiD) initiative as well as numerous partners from the spheres of science, business, politics and culture.  


Overview Science Year 2012 "Project Earth"

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