Bringing the Goal of a Climate-Neutral University into Focus

In order to honor its societal responsibility with regards to climate change, the IPU has decided to take measures towards reducing the emissions of university life as much as possible.

“It’s really not possible to become completely climate-neutral,” says the acting president, Prof. Dr. Lilli Gast. The IPU’s activities are oriented more towards living up to its societal responsibilities: “Our efforts are aimed at minimizing our environmental impact as much as possible.” To this end, IPU’s yearly CO2 emissions have been calculated in order to gain an overview as to which emissions are avoidable and which can be supported through compensatory measures to protect the environment. For the calculated emissions from 2019 of 626 tons of CO2, the IPU made a donation of 8,000€, which will continue in future years. The donation was made to the Panguana Foundation for climate protection.

Panguana Obtains and Expands Nature Reserves
The project operates through the oldest natural science research center with a private nature reserve in the Peruvian Andes on the nearby lowland rainforest of the upper catchment area of the Amazon. Through its donation, IPU is supporting the preservation, fostering, and expansion of the Panguana nature reserve and its primary rain forest, its secondary sections of forest, and its research center.

The foundation’s main goals are protection of the Panguana rainforest, the biological, ecological, and geoscientific study of its biodiversity, as well as the dissemination of knowledge regarding this endangered habitat in order to, among other goals, make a contribution to nature and climate preservation. Panguana strives to expand through purchasing new pieces of land so that a larger reserve and buffer zone can be formed to combat the human destruction of nature and for the creation of a more extensive research area.

The Discourse on Climate Protection from a Psychoanalytic Perspective
Within the buildings of the IPU, climate and environmental preservation have come more into focus this semester and have become a part of the teaching curriculum. “As a university, we are one of the places, in which this discourse must be faced,” explains Lilli Gast. “What we can do is address issues of climate protection from a psychoanalytical and cultural-scientific point of view and organize related events and courses.” The extracurricular studies available at IPU provide the perfect framework for this. The courses are open to all students and are based on Humboldt’s idea of holistic education.

At this time, IPU is working on conceptually anchoring climate protection within its extracurricular studies. Prof. Dr. Susanne Lanwerd set the ball rolling in the Winter 2020/2021 semester with the seminar Corona During Climate Change. Psychoanalytic and Societal Reflections. In addition to research relating to this topic, organizational knowledge will also be shared. Furthermore, four explorative symposiums with experts have been planned for the Summer 2021 semester.