Statement of scientists at the University of Luxembourg
written by Constance Carr, Ariane König, Rachel Reckinger, Christian Schulz, Susanne Siebentritt, and Norman Teferle, and supported by over 180 researchers at the Uni Luxembourg
Picture sourced by Pixabay.com, a creative commons website
This article was published May 22, 2019, as a Letter to the Editor in the Luxemburger Wort. With their permission we reproduce it here.
The signatories, scientists at the University of Luxembourg wish to express their support to the young people of Fridays for Future. Scientific evidence shows: The human impact on climate is real and the progressive degradation of natural resources and pollution is threatening the health and survival of a wide range of life forms, including humans.
The students are correct: In our era, the Anthropocene, humans have significantly changed the functioning of the entire Earth system. There is an urgent need to prioritise the protection and integrity of both biosphere and atmosphere. This protection will require taking a hard look at the socio-political and economic relations of power and (in)equity, and the differential access to resources and knowledge that constitute them.
Climate change will only deepen biophysical and socio-economic pressures. To mitigate its severe effects, a drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is necessary. In order to prevent further massive loss of animal and plant species and keep our ecosystems in balance we need to fundamentally change our economy, our politics, our life styles, as well as our ways of thinking and acting.
At the University of Luxembourg, we address a range of sustainability challenges in our research and teaching; our activities focus on salient issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, inequality, as well as challenges in local and regional development (for a detailed overview, see https://wwwen.uni.lu/sustainability). Science has a role to play by providing analysis, critique, experimentation, observation and reflection.
Given the wide range of problems we need to engage in a broad approach that spans the natural and engineering sciences, social sciences and the humanities.
Research in the engineering and natural sciences is working towards innovations in renewable energy, energy efficiency, water management, sustainable construction, materials and deconstruction, as well as on tracking changes in sea level, the Earth’s crust and atmosphere.
In the social sciences, we teach and conduct research in the domains of urban and regional development, spatial justice, sustainable transitions and societal transformations, food systems, alternative economies, circular economy, urban policy and planning, and implications of digitalization. The aim is to examine socio-economic, political, ecological, regulatory and societal aspects of sustainability. Technological optimisations are necessary but not sufficient in themselves.
We also strive to better understand the complex interactions between society, technology, and the environment. Collaborative research can bring experts from the natural and engineering sciences, social sciences and humanities in conversation with practitioners, to develop more sustainable solutions together with the people and in the place where they can be implemented.
We are acutely aware of the concerns that the students have, we realise that there is so much more work to be done! For this reason, we applaud the students in Luxembourg for raising their voice and for insisting that our environment needs priority.
Scientists at the University aim to contribute to these discussions internationally, nationally, and locally. In this vein, we collaborate with schools to support education in and for sustainability.
Youth engaged in Fridays for Future are not prophets of doom. Their concerns are justified and well founded. It is our understanding, too, that a sustainable society and the protection of our life support systems require radical changes in policies, in business, and in personal life styles. They are right to demand real change.
This text was written by (in alphabetical order) Constance Carr, Ariane König, Rachel Reckinger, Christian Schulz, Susanne Siebentritt and Norman Teferle.
It is supported by Damilola Adeleye, Arghavan Akbarieh, Fernand Anton, Ali Arababadi, Panagiota Arnou, Susanne Backes, Vishojit Bahadur Thapa, Annette Barnes, Hélène Barthelmebs-Raguin, Tanja Gabriele Baudson (also from March for Science e.V.), Steffen Bechtel, Tom Becker, Iris Behrmann, Philipp Bender, Amelie Bendheim, Josh Berryman, Luisito Bertinelli, Anne Besslich, Jutta Bissinger, Andreas Bock Michelsen, Lorenc Bogoviku, Elouise Botes, Marlène Boura, Michelle Brendel, Pol Breser, Linda Brucher, Jean-Luc Bueb, Reginald Burton, Aurélie Cantoreggi, Geoffrey Caruso, Qiang Chen, Anne Christen, Brice Clocher, Laurence Colin, Joanne Colling, Ulla Connor, Alex Cornelissen, Phillip Dale, Marie-Alix Dalle, Conchita D’Ambrosio, Marleen de Kramer, Sebastien De Landtsheer, Till Dembeck, Angelika Dierolf, Jan-Tobias Doerr, Marlène Duhr, Florian Ehre, Elisabeth Epping, Nathalie Entringer, Helmut Erich Willems, Cíntia Ertel Silva, Estelle Evrard, Marielle Ferreira Silva, Vinicius Jobim Fischer, Katherine Ford, Kathrin Franzen, Sylvie Freyermuth, Zuzana Frkova, Daniela Gierschek, Peter Gilles, Giulio Giorgione, Oliver Glassl, Josip Glaurdic, Alyssa Grecu, Manfred Greger, Max Greisen, Christian Grévisse, Mael Guennou, Claude Haan, Andrea Hake, Andreas Heinen, Jack S. Hale, Miriam-Linnea Hale, Joachim Hansen, Jennifer Hausen, Thierry Heck, Simone Heiderscheid, Dieter Heimböckel, Andreas Heinen, Nicole Hekel, Malte Helfer, Markus Hesse, Paul Heuschling, Paula Hild, Rannveig Edda Hjaltadóttir, Sviatlana Höhn, Frank Hofmann, Kristina Hondrila, Addisu Hunegnaw, Venkata SR Jampani, Catherine Jones, Diane Kapgen, Steve Kass, Nikos Katsikis, Ulrich Keller, Claudine Kirsch, Andrea Klein, Sonja Kmec, Nicole Knoblauch, Maud Kobrissa, Harlan Koff, Helena Korjonen, Charlotte Krämer, Anja Leist, Jessica Levy, Tomer Libal, Nils Löhndorf, Ariana Loff, Alberto Lomuscio, Marei Lunz, Katinka Mangelschots, Sophie Martini, Charles Max, Michele Melchiorre, Christiane Meyers, Anne-Marie Millim, Marianne Milmeister, Simone Mortini, Volker Müller, Claire Muller, Elke Murdock, Nilanjan Nag, Sascha Neumann, Sylvie Nicolay, Birte Nienaber, Christoph Odenbreit, Ivana Paccoud, Claudia Paraschivescu, Anna Pax, Tahereh Pazouki, Ulla Peters, Ralph Petry, Isabelle Pigeron, Justin Powell, Jasmin Preis, Karl Pickar, Bo Raber, Omar Ramirez, Rhea Ravenna Sohst, Sandro Reis, Alex Redinger, Monique Reichert, Katharina Rischer, Robert A.P. Reuter, Estela Richter, Benoît Ries, Nathalie Roelens, Catherine Rolvering, Julia Ros Cuéllar, Martin Sacher, Roland Sanctuary, Violetta Schaan, Elisabeth Schaffner-Reckinger, Ariane Scheffer, Claude Scheuer, Michael Scheuern, Kerry Schiel, Benedikt Schmid, Thomas Schmidt, Marie Schneider, Magdalena Schobel, Isabel Sebastian, Kaarel Sikk, Kevin Simoes, Philipp Sonnleitner, Paula Souza, Conrad Spindler, Georges Steffgen, Camilo Suarez, Tiziana Tamborrini, Gerald Taylor Aiken, Sébastian Thiltges, Emilia Toczydlowska, Gian Maria Tore, Katalin Turai, Francesco Viti, Sara Volterrani, Danièle Waldmann, Yufei Wei, Florian Werner, Catherine Wong, Firat Yolacan, Benteng Zou