When I decided to write my PhD thesis on the history of the nuclear Rhine in the summer of 2018, the front pages of the newspapers were dominated by news of the record summer and that several nuclear power plants on the Rhine had to be shut down.
To understand the politics of climate change and international efforts to address the issue, there is a concept of paramount importance: the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC).
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Universitas 21 Workshop on Planetary Health, a gathering of researchers of different backgrounds from twenty-one universities around the world – from Chile to Australia – who came together to discuss how to operationalize their concern for and interest in the growing non-discipline of Planetary Health.
Glaciers are marked by the contours of time. Flow lines and lateral moraines (ridges of accumulated dirt and rocks) demarcate the movement of ice with traces of debris incised into the glacier’s icy surface. Tributaries, rivers, and floods unfurl the flow of the ice into meltwater. As many of the world’s glaciers continue to thaw and no longer reproduce, they have been classed as an endangered species.
In 1986 at the Silva Conference for the Protection of the Trees and Forests in Paris, Burkinabé president Thomas Sankara delivered a speech remarkable for its foresight into the most pressing issues for Sahelians and global citizens that remain true even today.
When doing ‘environmental’ research, scholars are not only studying and analysing the developments that have led to the current crises of nature and climate but—being caught in the wheel of international academia—also actively contributing to them.
Since I began working on my dissertation project on the multiple ways the relationship between humans and nature is understood and enacted under climate change, one of the most important shifts in my thinking has been to see extinction not only as a scientific concept, but a social, cultural, and political phenomenon.
Now that I’m pursuing a doctoral degree in the highly interdisciplinary field of environmental history, I have come to embrace new research methods.