The “Zurück zur Erde” initiative, co-organized by Goethe Institute and the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), aims to promote sustainability and raise awareness about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Goals among students and teachers. The initiative encourages them to adopt a modern, balanced lifestyle and become more mindful of sustainable practices.
The first workshop, held online on March 22nd and 27th, 2023, was mentored by Dr. Christoph Woiwode, a visiting faculty member at the IIT Madras and IGCS Postdoc. The workshop consisted of two 90-minute interactive online sessions and was attended by German-speaking school students in grades 9 to 11. The workshop focused on exploring participants’ personal perspectives and attitudes regarding human-nature relationships and examining social-cultural expressions of these relationships. Through activities, brief lectures, discussions, and individual self-reflection, participants engaged in a thoughtful and insightful exploration of sustainable practices. Activities were repeated in the second session, allowing for reflection in between.
The workshop yielded positive student outcomes. Some of the highlights are shown below. The project plans to conduct two more workshops focusing on sustainable energy use and sustainable water management in the near future.
A three-day workshop on the topic of „Flood Pollution Assessment and Impact Knowledge Transfer“ took place at IIT Madras in Chennai from 22nd to 24th of February. The event was co-organized by the Global Water and Climate Adaptation Centre (ABCD-Centre) and the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) and brought together international experts, local actors, and students, from various disciplines to synergise interdisciplinary expertise, practical fieldwork, and laboratory analyses to address the pressing issue of flood-induced pollution.
The workshop fascilitated knowledge transfer and collaboration between science, industry, government, and civil society to study the processes of transport, distribution, deposition, dilution, and enrichment of pollution during riverine and marine flood events, along with their ecotoxicological hazards. Participants gained hands-on experience in sampling strategies, methods, and analysis techniques, allowing them to better understand the complex processes involved in flood pollution and its impacts on ecosystems. The program also included a field trip to collect sediment and water samples from three sites in Chennai for laboratory analyses that covered grain size, trace elements, microplastics, and microbial assessment, including resistant bacteria.
The event benefited participants by providing access to advanced knowledge and practical training from international experts. Furthermore, scientists gained valuable feedback from local actors to align their research with real-world challenges. Additionally, the workshops helped political and administrative decision-makers understand viable, economically feasible, and socially acceptable solutions for water and climate change adaptation. Ultimately, this workshop aimed to develop transfer strategies that are socially acceptable, technically viable, and economically feasible, contributing to more effective water and climate change adaptation efforts.
Have you always had ideas on how to revolutionise the way we work and live with plastics in a sustainable way?
Our IGCS-motan virtual workshop participants took this moto to our #SustainabilityChallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover – Challenges and strategies in the handling of plastics’ in December of 2021. We heard many brilliant concepts, discussions and pitches that thrived to shape our common future with innovative and sustainable ideas. However, one group stood out the most and we asked them to summarize their winning ideas.
IGCS-motan Workshop’s working group no. 3 represented by Marwa Madarani (University of Stuttgart), Shakunthala Natarajan (IIT Madras), Rajkumar Sahoo (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Linus Uzoewulu (Kiel University) presented their idea titled ‘Alternatives to Single-use Plastics (SUP) – Using Plastics Properly.’ Here is an extract from their presentation:
Single use plastics (SUPs) are creating a menace to the environment. Among these, SUP bags are used to a large extent for a variety of day-to-day purposes. These bags eventually end up in the surrounding, clog waterways and lead to a large number of other environmental issues. Despite plastic bag bans, the use of SUP bags has not been curbed. India, and other countries like Lebanon, and Nigeria are still struggling from the spread of single-use plastic bags. Therefore to facilitate the mitigation of excessive consumption of plastic bags, the focus must be on creating awareness among humans about their responsibility to protect the environment. Banking upon the necessity to bring about this behavioural change in humans towards plastic use and disposal, we have come up with a solution, which will be detailed in the ensuing lines.
“Re-Plast” is an educational online game that aims to change the attitude of younger generations between 6-and 16 years old towered the single-use plastic bags through different missions with different levels. In each mission,” Re-Plast “focuses on spreading awareness step by step, starting from understanding the types of plastic bags; moving toward educating about reusing, reducing and recycling behaviours, and ending with replacing or encouraging single-use plastic bags alternatives. Further, the game will pop out, workshops and indirect questions to the children to assure the achievement of the mission’s goal and to collect data to understand adults’ behaviour toward plastic bags through the eyes of children respectively.
“Re-Plast” aims to swap two adjacent plastic bags “among several on each level board, as to make a row or column of at least 3 matching-plastic bags”. The game aims to earn coins within a certain number of plastic bags gathered to accomplish the missions.
‘Re-Plast’ game is just the first step of our solution. In our next step, we will develop the game to target different generations; in addition, we will conduct workshops at schools in collaboration with the eco-clubs there. After spreading awareness and knowledge about Sups, we will collaborate and share the collected data with the government to influence the governmental decisions concerning plastics. And to achieve our vision, which is moving toward Recycling, we will create an app called ”Circularis” Where Plastic consumers can register themselves in the app and notify us whenever they have got plastic wastes to dispose of. After the notification, our waste collectors will be dispatched to the consumer’s place to collect the plastic waste and monetarily incentivize the customer for the plastic waste deposited. Our waste collectors will transport the collected plastic wastes to recycling firms. Since we offset the transportation costs of recycling firms by bringing in our waste collectors, we could get the incentivization money from them in return for this favour. This along with the Re-Plast online game will create a better intervention for tackling the problem created by single-use plastics.
About IGCS-motan Partnership
The IGCS-motan collaborative efforts are dedicated to helping students from Indian and German academic institutions to develop and foster sustainable ideas. This workshop is a continuation of our joint vision: incorporate innovative and sustainable ideas generation in interdisciplinary research, teaching, training and exchange in the area of sustainable development. Together motan and IGCS would like to motivate and support students to conduct research in the area of plastics and the circular economy.
IGCS and motan are always looking for motivated students to carry out a research project or an industry internship supported. For more information about IGCS’ Grant opportunities click here. You can find more information on motan on their website here.
IGCS and motan are carrying out a two-day virtual workshop and are looking for your entrepreneurial ideas.
Have you always had ideas on how to revolutionize the way we work and live with plastics in a sustainable way?
Then take part in our #SustainabilityChallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover: From Waste to Wonder: Navigating Challenges and Unlocking Innovation in the Plastics Industry of Tomorrow’ and make a difference – shape the future with your innovative and sustainable ideas.
The workshop is a platform to present your entrepreneurial ideas and have an opportunity to fund those ideas into innovative solutions for a greener future under IGCS and motan.
The IGCS-motan collaborative efforts are dedicated to helping students from Indian and German academic institutions to develop and foster sustainable ideas. This workshop is a continuation of our joint vision: incorporate innovative and sustainable ideas generation in interdisciplinary research, teaching, training, and exchange in the area of sustainable development. Together motan and IGCS would like to motivate and support students to conduct research in the area of plastics and the circular economy.
Thus, IGCS and motan jointly extend an invitation to be a part of our event. We are always looking for motivated students to carry out a research project or an industry internship supported by motan and the IGCS.
Impulse lectures by domain experts, work in small groups on related topics and presentations
● Target group:
Students from all disciplines who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate (Bachelors), post-graduate (Masters), or doctoral program in Indian or German academic institutions
The winner will receive a prize money and a chance to implement their innovative ideas with support from IGCS and motan.
● Letter of Motivation
● Certification of enrolment (in current university)
Sustainability is a core value within the motan culture. This means not only the products, solutions, and behavior but also the training of young people and the development of global networks. In addition to social aid and cultural projects, the foundation’s focus is on introducing social responsibility into business activities. For more information on motan and their activities, please visit the link.