Sustainability and climate protection are the major challenges for the global society. The online lecture series “Give earth a chance – paths to sustainable living” will look at the subject from five different angles. The series is open for all interested persons: citizens, students and university staff members.

Five YUFE universities, University of Antwerp, University of Bremen, University of Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun (NCU), have gathered researchers and experts from various fields that give an insight into their perspective on sustainability.

The lecture series takes place online and in English. The participation is free of charge.

Registration, detailed programme and information about the speaker: //

Sustainable building – from theory to practice

12/10/2022, 17:00 – 18:30 CET

We all know that the built environment’s sustainability should increase to reach climate targets. But how to achieve this? This presentation combines academic insights with concrete innovative examples from industry. Where the first stresses the importance of quantitative assessment techniques to support informed decision making, the latter shows that slowly but surely things are moving in today’s building practice.


Matti Buyle (University of Antwerp)

Jona Michiels (Van Roey)

Sustainable tourism for sustainable society

19/10/2022, 17:00 – 18:30 CET

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world. It is also an indicator of our society in many ways. There is a dire need for the society to rapidly become environmentally friendly, even regenerative, while at the same time taking into account economic and socio-cultural sustainability. This pressure is changing tourism. In this webinar the main aspects of sustainability are examined in the tourism context. This elaborates how tourism as an industry can provide pathways for the whole society to become sustainable in the long run.


Juho Pesonen (PhD) (University of Eastern Finland)

The Impact of environmental degradation on human migrations

26/10/2022, 17:00 – 18:30 CET

The lecture is a richly illustrated journey from prehistoric times to the present day, answering a few fundamental questions important from the point of view of current environmental changes:

  • How did soil cover influence the rise and fall of great civilizations?
  • Are the soil resources finite?
  • How does Anthropocene scalp the Earth?
  • Who are the environmental refugees and how much are they connected with soil degradation?

The presentation will show the effects of environmental degradation from ancient Mesopotamia to the contemporary problems of the Sahel zone. The causes of the disappearance of the Aral Lake, the formation of Dust Bowls and the floods in the Far East and Central America will also be shown. Examples of ways to deal with the above environmental problems will also be shown.


Dr hab. Marcin Świtoniak (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń)

Sustainable development and poverty reduction – interconnected causes, multidisciplinary research and integrated policies

09/11/2022, 17:00 – 18:30 CET

The first two decades of the 20th century have challenged the ways in which the global scientific and political communities define their goals and paradigms. The new scenario incorporates an increasing amount of evidence on unexpected consequences of the complex interactions between human actions and environmental changes. Sustainable development is not only a useful idea to define common goals and expectations (embodied in the SDGs) but it also represents a substantial departure from many traditional scientific methodologies and political designs. One of its main innovations is the multidisciplinary approach. In this talk, we will discuss how the very well-known economic goals of reducing poverty and inequality are substantially transformed when they are understood together with other complementary non-economic goals like preserving biodiversity and mitigating climate change.


Esteban Nicolini (PhD) (University Carlos III of Madrid)

How climate change drives biodiversity loss – and how to counteract it

16/11/2022, 17:00 – 18:30 CET

The earth currently experiences a loss of species richness – biodiversity – at an unprecedented speed. This biodiversity crisis also applies to Germany and other parts of Europe. The drivers of this change are manifold: the loss of natural habitats, more intensive land use, the application of pesticides and too many fertilizers, but increasingly also climate change. There is growing evidence that plants and animals are already responding to altered regimes of temperature and rainfall, and will increasingly do so in the near future.

The presentation will highlight the main changes in biodiversity and their underlying causes, using data from both long-term observations and experiments, looking at plants, but also birds, insects and other animal groups. Although the net effects of climate change on plants and animals are negative, some species may profit from the changes – and a conclusion of the talk will be that it is not too late to take counteracting measures to halt biodiversity loss.


Prof. Dr. Martin Diekmann (University of Bremen)