Environmental Lecture Series SS24


One Home, One Chance: Time to Accomplish Sustainability Goals Before the Deadline

Have you ever wondered if our home, our planet, still has a chance? Or if we have already crossed the deadline? And what consequences will follow if we surpass it? Will the deadline become our DEADline?

One thing is clear – the world must become more sustainable. And it must happen now! In 2015, the United Nations urgently called on all nations, regardless of their level of economic development, to take action to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Yet, as we look around the world today, six years before the deadline, we wonder what has become of those calls. Where is the peace? Where is the equality? And where, please, is the climate action? Has anyone looked at the clock and noticed the ticking deadline?

Indeed, yes. Despite all the negative developments, we must not forget that there has been progress too. For instance, the number of people living in extreme poverty has decreased by more than half, dropping from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015. Additionally, effective HIV treatment has cut global AIDS-related deaths by 52% since 2010. These and other success stories are being achieved by humans out there who work tirelessly every day for a sustainable future. These humans, experts in their sustainability goals, will be our speakers and tutors for the lecture series this summer semester. So, let’s get inspired, let’s learn, let’s gain hope, and let’s unite for sustainability as the seventeenth goal, ‘Partnership for the Goals,’ asks of us. Because we have only one home. One chance.

For TUM students interested in earning 1 or 3 ECTS credits

For everybody else

temporary room change

Lectures #L07, #L08, and #L09, i.e. our lectures between June 19th and July 3rd, will take place in the lecture hall N 1189 (Hans-Piloty-Hörsaal), right next to N 1190

Lectures and events

  • 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm: Introduction Session
    A comprehensive overview of the lectures and course structure.
  • 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm: SDG Quiz
    Test your knowledge and learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with our engaging SDG Quiz.
  • 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Q&A session

Room: 2300 – Lecture Hall Friedrich von Thiersch | Floor: 2 | Building: 0503 Thierschbau | Arcisstr. 21, 80333 Munich

Seeking no one’s help and asking nobody’s permission, Russian geophysicist Sergey Zimov and his son Nikita are gathering any large wooly beast they can get their hands on, and transporting them, by whatever low budget means they can contrive, to the most remote corner of Siberia. They call their project Pleistocene Park. The goal: restore the Ice Age “mammoth steppe” ecosystem and avoid a catastrophic feedback loop leading to runaway global warming. Sergey would know: fifteen years ago he published in the journal Science showing that frozen arctic soils contain twice as much carbon as the earth’s atmosphere. These soils are now starting to melt.

While Zimov’s brilliance and charisma have won him friends and supporters, his oversized ego, lack of diplomacy, and cranky iconoclasm make him a challenge to work with. Nikita, Sergey’s son, is the last man standing to deal with his father’s idiosyncrasies and carry forward his vision.

Nature doesn’t cooperate, equipment breaks, bureaucrats meddle, animals run away, there is never enough money, and constant media coverage nets them unsolicited advice from around the globe, but no concrete support. After years of backbreaking labor and risking their lives on shoestring expeditions to bring animals to Pleistocene Park, it remains an extremely funky operation, dominated by swarming mosquitoes and mud pits rather than vast thundering herds.

The clock is ticking. Impacts of climate change – hurricanes, wildfires, heat waves and floods – are being felt sooner than anticipated. Sergey and Nikita find alarming evidence that permafrost is reaching its tipping point now, rather than in thirty years as they predicted. On a global scale, progress addressing the root cause of climate change – anthropogenic carbon emissions – is as elusive as ever.

Can two Russian scientists stave off a worst case scenario of global environmental catastrophe and reshape humanity’s relationship with the natural world?

Documentary screening in collaboration with DOK.fest

DOK.fest is the largest film festival in Germany dedicated solely to documentaries. The 2024 edition starts on Wednesday, May 1st, and shows more than 400 screenings, expects some 400 directors and producers, and protagonists, presenting more than 100 films and events in cinemas all across Munich and online. Some events are free for all – as e.g. the industry talk of DOK.forum or Jan’s secret tipp: the Masterclass of the 2024 Guests of Honor the Dutch Couple Petra and Peter Lataster on Sunday at the festival centre at HFF, Munich. If you’d like to know what it takes to make a documentary, this is the event you would not want to miss!

Jan Sebening is a filmmaker, lecturer, father, and member of the DOK.fest Team – albeit not always in that order. With a background in documentary filmmaking he loves to mentor students’ projects and to organize the Student Award @DOK.fest.

    Shared Session with Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences

Lecture Hall R 1.046 | Lothstraße 64 or online via Zoom Meeting-ID 947 3715 4657 with password 631726

Concrete is generally regarded as a climate-damaging building material. The presentation wants to show that the building industry doesn’t work without concrete. Concrete can also be sustainable and resource-saving if the right ingredients were used.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andrea Kustermann is a professor of Building Chemistry, Building Materials, and Building in Existing Structures at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Munich University of Applied Sciences since October 2013. At the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich, she served as an Academic Director (5/2013 – 9/2013), Scientific Laboratory Manager (2005-2013), and Research Assistant (1998-2005) at the Institute of Construction Materials. Following her apprenticeship as a carpenter (1990-1992), Andrea Kustermann studied Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (1992-1997). Since 1999, she has run her own engineering office for building damage assessments and material analysis and has been a partner in the construction company for renovation and remodeling work, Kustermann & Herz GbR, since 2003.

Join our workshop to learn more about the project and the situation in Munich. We will do some creative work together and explore the university’s neighbourhood.


Einmal ohne, bitte is a project founded in Munich by rehab republic e.V. with the main goal of enabling package-free shopping by using one’s own cup, container, or bag.

The number of participants is limited!

Where: Marsstraße 20/22 – Building 2907, 1st floor, room 129

    Shared Session with Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences

Lecture Hall 0980 (AUDIMAX, Siemens-Hörsaal, Auditorium Maximum), Ground floor | Arcisstraße 21 or online via our Zoom link

Did you know that everyone has a strong impact on “Life below water” and our marine ecosystems, even though we here in Bavaria live so far away from the ocean? Do you want to learn how and why we need to act now for our oceans and marine life? Then join this lecture by Frank Schweikert, Founder and Director of the German Ocean Foundation. He will explain how the daily work of the institutions he is involved in contribute to a meaningful status improvement of the world’s largest ecosystem – the ocean. Although we humans depend on a healthy ocean to survive on planet Earth and the ocean is connected to all our rivers, we nearly know nothing about it. So, let’s dive into this amazing and still unknown ecosystem, allow ourselves to be inspired to change how we think, act, and feel about the ocean, and learn how we, even as students, can sustainably impact the future of “Life below water”.

Frank Schweikert is the founder and director of the German Ocean Foundation, President of the German Marine Litter Association, and Vice President of the German Society for Marine Research. He is the founder of Hamburg Climate Week (since 2009) and an associated member of the German branch CLUB OF ROME and ALDEBARAN Marine Research and Broadcast. He was a member of the European Union Assembly Mission Board “Climate Change Adaptation, including Societal Transformation” (2019-2022) and an honorary member of the Rotary Club Passport ECO Planet. He studied Biology with a diploma at the Universities of Stuttgart and Munich.

Countries are not on track to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Although SDGs aim to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path, countries are not yet able to make transformative changes for long-term sustainability that require building social prosperity and foundations within planetary boundaries. Failing to achieve SDGs will negatively affect billions of people and worsen environmental conditions and socio-economic problems. Therefore, BeyondSDG aims to understand the necessary conditions for long-term sustainability, including achieving SDGs, based on the following specific objectives:

  1. identify critical targets for prioritizing SDGs;
  2. investigate the effects of (under)achieving SDGs on long-term sustainability beyond 2030; and
  3. identify sustainability targets for the post-2030 development agenda. For this, BeyondSDG applies a threefold scientific approach that combines statistical analysis of empirical and modelled data, qualitative analysis of literature, and knowledge co-creation with stakeholders, including sectoral experts and policymakers, based on systems thinking.

This combination of three approaches is complementary and essential to deal with the complex topic of long-term sustainability.

Prajal Pradhan, an Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen, studied agricultural engineering and environmental management. He has received the ERC Starting Grant 2022. Prajal was a lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. He has experience designing relevant research on sustainable development, climate change, and food systems. His current research focuses on understanding the necessary conditions for long-term sustainability, including achieving SDGs, urban transformations, and climate resilience. He is also a Visiting Scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

If you are coming from Munich, meet us at Munich Central Station, platform 26, where we will take the 11:31 am regional train. Upon arrival at the TUM Weihenstephan campus, we will join the Freising students for lunch in the Mensa.

As for our program, you are free to attend the workshops or lectures of your choice, as long as you have registered in advance (see registration link below).

Finally, you are free to return to Munich whenever you wish.

  Workshop with Plant a Seed: 10 Ways to Add Biodiversity to the Garden – Pinja Pöytäniemi
When: 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm | Meeting point: In front of Mensa (Maximus-von-Imhof-Forum 1, 85354 Freising) | Register herethe number of participants is limited!
Worried about the decline in biodiversity? You’re not alone! Nowadays, lots of gardens are turning into ecological deserts, missing out on the variety of plants and critters vital for a healthy ecosystem. Let’s tackle this together! Come join our workshop where we’ll dive into real solutions. We’ll get hands-on exploring how to boost biodiversity, using our campus raised beds as a starting point. Forget boring lectures – this is all about teamwork! Together, we’ll brainstorm ideas and find ways to make your outdoor spaces into bustling hubs for biodiversity. Ready to become a biodiversity hero in your own backyard? Let’s do this!

Plant a Seed is an innovative sustainability project at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) focused on the water-energy-food nexus. Through our campus garden and activities, we promote awareness of sustainable consumption, biodiversity conservation, green urban spaces, microclimate mitigation, and food sovereignty. Originating as a study project in environmental engineering, it has blossomed into a campus-wide movement, engaging students across disciplines in practical, sustainable campus development. Backed by TUM’s academic expertise, we foster transdisciplinary collaboration and research while piloting circular economy concepts. Join us in sowing the seeds of change for a greener future!

Shared Session with the TUM Green Office Weihenstephan and SRM Talks

We joined the Green Office in their inspiring program Biodiversity Week Weihenstephan for a day of immersion in SDG 15 Life on Land. Check out the full program for the week, which runs from May 13-17.

Knosporus Bioblitz – Biodiversity in the Campus Garden
When: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm | Meeting point: Campus garden “Knosporus”, Lange Point 14, 85354 Freising | Register here
Together with the CampusAckerdemie students, we explore the flora and fauna in the campus garden and immerse ourselves in the hidden wonderland of nature in the Knosporus microcosm. Whether you are young or old, whether you are a species expert or just like to spend time outside, come along and join our colourful bioblitz!

  Reintroduction of Species and Species Conservation
When: 5:00 pm | Where: Lecture Hall 15 (Carl-Lindner), Maximus-von-Imhof-Forum 6, 85354 Freising | Register here until May 12th

  • Hands-on or Hands-off – What is the best Approach in Species Conservation? – Dr. Norbert Schäffer (LBV Chairman)
    Dr. Norbert Schäffer, chairman of LBV (Society for the Protection of Birds and Nature in Bavaria), will delve into the multifaceted approaches utilized by organizations like LBV in species conservation. In his presentation, he will draw upon various examples of species protection initiatives in Bavaria to illustrate the range of methods, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Species Conservation in Transition: Climate Change is Becoming a Challenge for the European Bald Ibis – Johannes Fritz (Project Manager LIFE Project)
    Johannes Fritz will discuss the ongoing project of reintroducing northern bald ibises, supported by the European LIFE program, which has successfully reintroduced around 250 birds into the wild. However, delays in autumn migration due to longer warm periods from global warming threaten their survival, prompting efforts to establish a second migration route to Andalusia, Spain. This highlights the significant impact of climate change on wildlife and the challenges for conservation projects.
  • Discussion and Networking Dinner
    Following the talks, there will be a moderated discussion where attendees can engage with the presenters and explore topics further. This will be followed by a vegan networking dinner, allowing attendees to connect, exchange ideas, and build relationships in a relaxed setting.

What does it take to use our economy as a lever to shape the sustainable transformation? And why are we still working with paradigms that are outdated? The talk will give an overview of future needs and obstacles on the way. How can we shape our economy to operate within planetary boundaries? And how do we need to shift our way of thinking about things?

Antonia is advocating for a regenerative and just new economic thinking. She is currently studying the M.A. Responsibility in Science, Engineering and Technology at TU Munich, working at the sustainability consultancy Agentur2020. Furthermore, she is a fellow and coach at the think-tank CRITICAL FRIENDS, where they actively want to create a beautiful economy.

What has been achieved in efforts to address climate change in past Conference of the Parties (COPs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and what can be expected from COP29 in Azerbaijan. Are we making progress? What are the big hurdles that need to be overcome? How might political developments impact on climate change progress? This talk will provide a broad overview of major trends in climate policy.

Prof. Miranda Schreurs (PhD University of Michigan) is Chair of Climate and Environmental Policy at the Bavarian School of Public Policy, Technical University of Munich. She investigates environmental movements, green politics, and climate policy making both comparatively and internationally. She has lived and researched in Europe, the United States and Asia. She also specializes on the politics surrounding the disposal of highly radioactive waste. In 2011, Prof. Schreurs was appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a member of the Ethics Committee for a Secure Energy Supply. In 2016, she was appointed by the German Bundestag as a member of a committee established to bring citizens’ voices and ensure greater transparency in the search for a disposal site for highly radioactive waste. She was a member of the German Council on the Environment (2008-2016) and served both as Vice Chair and Chair of the European Advisory Council on Environment and Sustainable Development. She was a Fulbright Fellow to Japan and Germany and spent three years studying at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also worked as a professor of comparative politics at the University of Maryland. From 2007 to 2016 she was Director of the Environmental Policy Research Center and Professor of Comparative Policy at the Free University of Berlin.

Women worldwide face significantly more barriers to becoming entrepreneurs or employees compared to men. The latest Women, Business, and the Law report offers a comprehensive picture of the obstacles that women face in entering the global workforce and contributing to greater prosperity – for themselves, their families, and their communities. It expands the scope of its analysis, adding two indicators that can be critical in opening up or restricting women’s options: safety from violence and access to childcare services. When those measures are included, women on average enjoy just 64% of the legal protections that men do – far fewer than the previous estimate of 77%.

Women, Business and the Law is a World Bank Group project collecting data on the laws and policy mechanisms that measure the enabling environment for women’s economic opportunity. Women, Business and the Law 2024 introduces a new framework with three pillars – legal frameworks, supportive frameworks, and expert opinions – to measure the differences on access to economic opportunities between men and women in 190 economies. Adopting laws that strengthen women’s rights and opportunities is an essential first step toward inclusive, resilient, stronger societies. Equal treatment of women under the law is associated with more women entering and remaining in the labor force and rising to managerial positions. It generates higher wages for women and facilitates business ownership by women.

The analysis reveals a shocking implementation gap. Although laws on the books imply that women enjoy roughly two-thirds the rights of men, countries on average have established less than 40% of the systems needed for full implementation. For example, 98 economies have enacted legislation mandating equal pay for women for work of equal value. Yet only 35 economies – fewer than one out of every five – have adopted pay-transparency measures or enforcement mechanisms to address the pay gap. Even in high-income countries with high scores for treating women equally under the law, the implementation of these laws is lacking.

Daniela Behr is an Economist at the Women, Business and the Law project at the World Bank. She currently leads the team’s research efforts on women’s legal capacity regarding property rights, financial inclusion, and entrepreneurship. Daniela has worked in various capacities at the World Bank Group since 2018 co-leading a research project on affordable housing, conducting impact assessments of IFC’s investments in financial institutions, and working on indicator development related to agribusiness regulations. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Daniela was a research fellow at University of Konstanz and George Washington University and a human rights and gender specialist with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Daniela studied in Konstanz, Madrid, and Toronto and holds a PhD in political economy from the University of Konstanz.

TUM is committed to a sustainable future and activates the resources of the entire university community for TUM Sustainability Day!

An extensive and exciting program is waiting for you that will definitely inspire you on every level. 

Among the more than 100 TUM initiatives at the Fair of Opportunities and the 50+ workshops, talks, and panel discussions at the Impulses for Sustainability, the Environmental Lecture Series team holds 3 different activities:

  1. Visit our booth at the Sustainability Fair from 12:00 noon to 6 pm.
  2. Find our Mascot roaming the festival area and get some of the coolest free beer mats!
  3. Engage in our talk series at the Impulses for Sustainability, from  2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Two programs will run simultaneously in rooms 1801 (Ernst-Schmidt-Hörsaal) and 0350 (Egbert-von-Hoyer-Hörsaal) with a new talk starting every half an hour. Check it out:

Join us for an outstanding Sustainability Festival, where you have the chance to not only learn but experience sustainability in all dimensions!

Key Facts – TUM Sustainability Day
  • Where: Boltzmannstraße 15, Research Center Garching (Mechanical Engineering building)
  • Language: English (some workshops in German)
  • No registration necessary
  • Find the full program here.

    Shared Session with Protect the Planet

Registration is required!

Bitte unbedingt hier registrieren.

Standort: SHK-Innung, Bildungszentrum, Rupert-Mayer-Str. 41, München (U Obersendling)
Online: Zoom-online sowie YouTube-streaming

Das seit 01.01.2024 geltende Wärmeplanungsgesetz schafft die rechtliche Grundlage für die Einführung einer flächendeckenden Wärmeplanung in ganz Deutschland. Als wegweisendes Instrument soll die kommunale Wärmeplanung auf aufzeigen, wie künftig die Wärmeversorgung auf die Nutzung von Erneuerbaren Energien umgestellt werden kann. Das Wärmeplanungsgesetz enthält auch zeitlich gestaffelte Vorgaben an die Wärmenetzbetreiber zur Dekarbonisierung ihrer Netze: Ab Januar 2030 im Regelfall mit mindestens 30 %, ab Januar 2040 idR mind. 80 % erneuerbare Energien. Für München heißt das: „Dezentrale“ Wärmeversorgung mit Quartierslösungen (zB auf Basis Grundwasser-Wärmepumpen) und „zentrale“ Wärmeversorgung mit Umbau der fossilen Fernwärme auf Geothermie. Ob und wie dabei das Ziel „Klimaneutralität 2035“ erreicht wird, darüber werden die beiden Verantwortlichen aus der Stadtverwaltung, Dr. Tilman Rave, und von den Stadtwerken München, Dr. Herbert Koschel, aus erster Hand berichten.

Dr. Tilman Rave ist Leiter des Sachgebiets „Wärmestrategie und Quartier“ im Referat für Klima- und Umweltschutz (RKU) der Landeshauptstadt München, zuständig für die kommunale Wärmeplanung und die energiefachliche Umsetzung auf Quartiersebene in München; zuvor einige Jahre beim Ifo-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Umwelt-/Energiebereich; studierter Dipl.-Volkswirt.

Dr. Herbert Koschel ist bei den Stadtwerken München GmbH (SWM) im Bereich Netzanschlussmanagement und Marktkommunikation tätig, mit den Schwerpunkten: Strategische und konzeptionelle Ausbauplanung Fernwärme und Fernkälte, Transformationsplan Fernwärme, Netzkunden. Nach Studium und Promotion der Physik ist er seit 20 Jahren bei den SWM.

A healthy ocean is essential to global well-being, biodiversity, and includes critical ecosystems underpinning all life on earth. Despite its values, the ocean is under immense pressure from human activities, threatening its ability to support human well-being, with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities. The majority of these pressures come from economic activities related to the ocean (“ocean economy”) such as fishing, aquaculture, coastal development, and shipping. Globally the ocean economy is worth over $4t AUD/yr and is expanding at twice the rate of the mainstream economy. At the same time, the gap in funding to protect and manage ocean health is at least $266b AUD/year and growing rapidly. Not only does this put the future of the ocean at risk, it also risks the entire global economy: over two-thirds of all publicly listed companies are at risk due to ocean decline.

Investing a sustainable ocean economy (SOE) however can reduce economic losses by $8t AUD by 2037, yield six times more food and create 12 million new jobs by 2030. In a SOE, ocean health and ocean wealth are held in balance, and sufficient and durable finance for the management of ocean health is provided from the SOE. Despite clear evidence that achieving SOE will be better economically, ecologically and socially, market barriers hinder the transition. Key market barriers include inadequate policies, funding, capacities, and pipelines of investable SOE deals.

This talk will dive into the global efforts to align capital flows with SDG 14.

Dr. Dennis Fritsch is focusing on ocean finance and the blue economy at Minderoo Foundation. Previously, he led the United Nations’ Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, bringing together banks, insurers, and investors to align their activities with a sustainable ocean economy and SDG 14 – Life Below Water. Before, he established the research department at Responsible Investor, focusing on investor perspectives on Blue Economy and biodiversity. He further supported the European Commission’s BlueInvest Fund and BLUE Marine Foundation, alongside being selected as a Protect.Blue Wavemaker 2023 and for the pool of experts to contribute to the UN’s 3rd World Ocean Assessment (WOA III).

Shared Session with TUM Venture Labs

Registration is required!

Please register here.


  • The Electronic Waste Problem: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Workshop: get creative and look for solutions yourself!
  • Networking session

In this session, we will take an in-depth look at the current state of e-waste, exploring both existing solutions and the challenges the industry faces today. We will examine how innovative technologies, including additive manufacturing, can transform e-waste management. Through real-world examples, you will discover how these innovations can make a significant impact!

A perfect event for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of sustainability and take actionable steps towards a greener future.

Join us to delve into the current challenges of growing household electronic waste and learn about the biggest levers to solutions. Get inspired to take action and be a part of the change!

Ina Jade Seng is a design strategist with 20+ years of experience leading innovation teams to shape the future of products and services. Having worked for telecommunications, medical, mobility and energy sectors, she brings profound consumer electronics expertise. For the past 7 years at B/S/H Home Appliances, Ina has driven circular innovations and sustainable strategies as Product Owner of Sustainability.

Nick-Marlon Loth is the current Chapter Lead for Sustainable and Resilient Manufacturing at TUM Venture Labs and an industrial additive manufacturing specialist. He enables clients from various industries to leverage the full potential of 3D printing.

SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.  

What does this mean when we talk about crimes, their victims, the perpetrators and incarceration? What about our “habits and traditions” of “punishing the offender” by taking the conflict away from the victim – and partly from “society” – by simply sending people behind the bars of prison? What can we do to restore justice? And what about sustainability, when up to 70% of prisoners relapse into crime within the first five years of their release? What do we do with national conflicts and their consequences that are often and quickly referred to as “peace”, as in Colombia?

Let’s explore together the concepts of:

  • Restorative Justice as a new paradigm for the old problem of “stolen conflict”, 
  • the challenges of “peace building” and the gap between personal trauma counseling and public restoration, 
  • the role of NGOs in failing states and challenged societies as actors for peace, freedom and sustainability, and 
  • the opportunities for students to design, create and produce opportunities for change in an “en detail” example: 
  • Rethinking ‘Prison and Corrections’: a new generation of greener, more inclusive and sustainable prisons.

Ulrich Weinhold is a development expert with three decades of professional experience. After studying law in Germany and the USA, he worked as a lawyer at the renowned Bavarian law firm Rödl & Partner. After his appointment in international development work, he worked in development projects in the post-war area of Eastern Congo in the reconstruction of a hospital and in the “Golden Triangle” between Northern Laos, China, and Myanmar in the fight against drug cultivation and trafficking with high-quality silk projects for the tribal community in the mountains. After disaster management in the Asian region following the 2004 tsunami, he took over the management of a Christian organization for relief and development work funded by the “BMZ”, which works in more than 80 countries with around 260 employees, often in “failed states” and in civil war or post-war situations. With his experience in Colombian post-crisis management, he was invited to work at Seehaus e.V., a free-form prison, as a restorative justice agent with a special focus on victims’ rights. He is a certified mediator in criminal matters. In addition, he is an in-house lawyer there and maintains his own law firm for international contracts, supply chains, and organizational development.

Recommending lifelong learning himself, he holds master’s degrees from the Catholic University of Freiburg in organizational management and the Bonn HBRS University with a thesis on sustainability measures in supply chains at the Schwarz Group (LIDL, Kaufland, PreZero). He teaches youth law in various institutions and is often invited to speak about justice, healing, and responsibility.

What does activism for sustainable development look like? How do activists navigate ‘sustainable development’ discourses and identities? And what role do online learning networks play in reshaping their practices?
Drawing from activist ethnographic research conducted in Latin America, this talk sheds light on how activists strategically navigate discourses and identities related to sustainable development. However, amidst this strategic flexibility, there exists a looming risk: the overshadowing or sidelining of grassroots community engagement. Ecological endeavours are inherently intertwined with political implications, and socio-political arguments are deeply embedded within ecological concerns (Harvey, 2018). The complexities of ecological and socio-political dimensions demand that they be viewed as interconnected and influencing one another in intricate ways.
The talk invites us to maintain a critical lens on the discourses surrounding ‘sustainable development’. By interrogating and challenging dominant discourses, activists can continue to strive for sustainable development that genuinely empowers communities and catalyzes meaningful change, not just in Latin America but beyond.
Abigail is an adult educator dedicated to socioecological justice. Currently pursuing her PhD at the University of East Anglia as a UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation Scholar, she focuses on the learning processes for social change, activism for sustainable development, and online learning networks in Latin America. Abigail collaborates with Flor del Desierto, a women’s learning community for local action in Zapotitlan Salinas, Puebla, Mexico, and actively participates in various online networks addressing climate change and sustainable development.

Countless individuals globally endure ongoing conflict and preventable illnesses, particularly impacting the most vulnerable, such as infants and children. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medicals undertake courageous missions in these regions, striving to save lives and improve healthcare conditions. One of these doctors is Monika Ried. In the lecture, she’ll talk about her experiences in Yemen, Iraq, and Nigeria, where she and her colleagues helped people hurt by war, provided care for Yazidi refugees who suffered under genocide, and fought against diseases like Diphtheria. Let’s hear about how she and the team from MSF are helping in places without stable government, supporting their colleagues in tough situations, saving patients, and trying to find ways to stop poverty and unfairness.

Monika Ried is a medical doctor, who specialized in internal medicine and intensive care. Currently, she’s working in München Bogenhausen in an interdisciplinary Intensive care unit. Within her engagement in “Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)” [engl. “doctors without borders”, dt. “Ärzte ohne Grenzen”], she was sent 9 months to Yemen in 2018 for her first mission. There, Monika Ried worked in the emergency room, where she nurtured war-wounded people and cared for babies and children with severe malnutrition or almost forgotten infectious diseases like tetanus or diphtheria. In 2020/21 Monika Ried was sent to north Iraq to support a hospital, especially for the Yazidi refugees who underwent genocide by the IS. Last year she went to Nigeria on an emergency mission as a medical team leader.


On-site: TUM Main Campus
Room: N 1190 – Lecture Hall Hans-Heinrich-Meinke
Floor: 1
Building: 0101 N1 (U-Trakt) – North area
Location: Theresienstraße 90, 80333 Munich

Online: Zoom Webinar
Webinar-ID: 685 3335 0085
Password: 17goals

Contact us!


History of the Environmental Lecture Series

The lecture series on the environment is an interdisciplinary, public lecture series organised by the Environmental Department of the Student Union of the TU Munich. It is organised by TU Munich students on a voluntary basis.

Speakers have been giving lectures on the topic of sustainability since 1985. This includes, for example, technical environmental protection, health, consumer and climate protection. In this way, it offers both students and teachers at the TU Munich, as well as the non-university public, the opportunity to learn about and discuss these topics and research results at a scientific level.

The speakers from research, associations, authorities and companies will be happy to answer questions from the audience after the lecture; the slides of the lectures, and in some cases the video recordings themselves, will be made available – if available – on our website. In the 40 years of its existence, more than 480 lectures have been organised so far.

In the meantime, the lecture series on the environment has become a regular part of the TU’s lecture programme and is supported, among others, by the management of the TU Munich, the Munich Center for Technology in Society and the KHG of the TU Munich. The lecture series on the environment is a partner of the BNB, the “Alliance for Sustainability in Bavaria”. In addition, some lectures are held in cooperation with the Environmental Academy and the Munich Forum for Sustainability.


Check out our trailer! 😉

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Our previous lecture series

Watch our previous recorded lectures here!

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