Berlin universities cut meat from the menu
There will be no more meat on the table on Mondays and schnitzel and the like will be in the minority: Starting in the winter semester, the food in Berlin's refectories will become even more ecological. "The new nutritional concept was developed in particular because students repeatedly approached us with the wish to make the food on offer in the dining halls even more climate-friendly," explains Daniela Kummle from the Studierendenwerk.
Climate protection is becoming increasingly important at Berlin universities. This is also noticeable on the students' plates in the refectories. (Archive photo)
In future, meat and fish will only make up four percent of the menu, the rest will be vegetarian or vegan. According to Kummle, a vegan, so-called climate meal, made from fresh, seasonal main ingredients, has already been served daily in the large refectories for almost ten years. "This is characterised by a particularly low Co2 footprint." At the moment, however, the canteens are closed, and food is available to order for pick-up.
Climate protection is becoming more important at Berlin's universities
And this is not only noticeable on the plates. Many universities are drawing up comprehensive climate protection concepts. The Technical University (TU), for example, has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045. Among other things, buildings are to be renovated for energy efficiency. Hundreds of employees also want to avoid short-haul flights for business trips and have signed a voluntary commitment to this end. "Over the past four years, we have clearly pushed the issue of climate protection to the forefront," says Hans-Ulrich Heiss, TU Vice President for Teaching, Digitisation and Sustainability. The commitment became particularly visible to the outside world when members of the presidium took part in the Fridays for Future demonstrations.
Study programme "Sustainable Management" in high demand
Currently, the "Climate Change Center Berlin Brandenburg" is an important project. In the new climate impact research centre with scientists from 34 institutions under the leadership of the TU, the economic and social consequences of climate change are to be researched, among other things. At the university, there are also hundreds of research projects and many courses of study that deal with climate protection issues. "For example, "Sustainable Management", a business programme with a green touch, is in great demand," says Heiss. "When we launched it, 600 applicants applied for 50 places at once.
Sustainability now a guiding principle of teaching
Any student could enrol in a relevant certificate programme, he said. "We believe that we need to prepare all our graduates for the next decades, not only for work, but for life in general. Climate change will be a major topic there," says Heiss. Accordingly, the students themselves have also been setting up their own courses on sustainability in project workshops under the auspices of professors for many years - from photovoltaics to beekeeping to climate-friendly architecture. "It's amazing the imagination and inventiveness they develop," says Heiss.
Humboldt University hires two climate protection managers
At the Humboldt University
, students are also getting involved: the projects of the "Sustainability Office" include the podcast "Nachhall", the teaching programme "Studium Oecologicum" and Urban Gardening. The university wants to become climate-neutral by 2030 and has now hired two climate protection managers. One of them: Martin Herrmann. Together with his colleague, he first wants to draw up a climate protection concept and develop measures together with university representatives to significantly minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
HU with electric charging station on Campus
"Of course, we are not starting from scratch. There are already a wide variety of activities, such as photovoltaic systems on roofs. The HU also gets more than 90 per cent of its electricity from green power," says Herrmann. In addition, a first electric charging station has been installed on campus. And since business trips by plane are a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions, more than 500 employees have agreed to forego short-haul flights that can be covered within twelve hours by alternative means of transport.
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Freie Universität wants climate neutrality by 2025
In the view of climate manager Herrmann, "it makes little sense to refer only to the university itself. With its research on sustainability, it naturally makes a very important contribution. "It is also important to communicate the results of research to the outside world. "In December 2019, Freie Universität became the first German university to declare a climate emergency," a staff member shared. One of its goals: Climate neutrality by 2025. Active climate management has already been in place for 20 years. Since then, the use of heating oil has been reduced by 98 per cent, heat consumption by 35 per cent and electricity consumption by 19 per cent - among other things through building renovations, a bonus system for the departments, the university's own photovoltaic systems and combined heat and power plants.
Last edited: Saturday, 28. August 2021 17:57 Uhr