St Petersburg University has hosted an event to launch the Russian-German project ’Climate Scales’. It has been developed by scientists from St Petersburg University in cooperation with the Hamburg authorities.
Consumer choices — which means of transport to use, which goods to buy, and what foods to eat — are among the factors that can have an important impact on reducing the worldwide carbon footprint. The project, developed by researchers from St Petersburg University in cooperation with the Hamburg administration, is based on a game model where participants can compare alternatives by placing them on different sides of a scale. In this way, they can see which of their everyday activities is less environmentally damaging: travelling to another city by train or plane, eating local or imported fruit and vegetables, drinking tap water or buying bottled water. During the presentation the audience was able to use the model and ‘weigh up’ their choices.
Opening the event, Anna Porodina, Assistant for General Issues of the Deputy Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University, stressed that the project was not only scientific but also educational. Its environmental focus would appeal to a broader audience.
The role of the University is to improve the quality of scientific expertise and to provide administrative support to our team of scientists, who have readily responded to the initiative of their German colleagues. We hope that the information about this project will become known in the educational environment of our city and beyond.
Anna Porodina, Assistant for General Issues of the Deputy Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University
On behalf of St Petersburg University, Ms Porodina thanked all those who were involved in the development of the climate scales, and those who would be interested in the methodology and the model for educational activities.
According to Vladislav Gurzhiy, Acting Director of the Institute of Earth Sciences at St Petersburg University, ecology is a link that unites not only people within one state, but also residents of different countries and continents. ‘In today’s technological civilisation we have reached such a high level of development that it is impossible to write off some things to our lack of knowledge. We understand the consequences of various ecological impacts,’ said Vladislav Gurzhiy. ‘I hope that the climate scales will become our contribution to the overall work on improving the environmental situation.’
The importance of environmental education was stressed by Irina Fedorova, Head of the Department of Geo-Ecology and Environmental Management at St Petersburg University.
This particular area is one of the main priorities of the University’s Environmental Clinic.
Whereas in the past the economic status of a state was largely determined by the development of industry, nowadays it is determined more by the nature conservation potential of a country with developed production.
Irina Fedorova, Head of the Department of Geo-Ecology and Environmental Management
‘The mentality of environmental consciousness is established as early as childhood. Therefore, such a seemingly toy project is actually the basis for a large undertaking,’ explained the Associate Professor of St Petersburg University.
Dirk Zierpka, Deputy Head of the Economics Department of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, attended the event as a guest of honour. He congratulated the participants on the successful presentation of the project, and passed on a message from the Consul General Stefano Weinberger. ‘The new Russian—German project «‘Climate Scales» provides illustrative examples of the kind of footprint we leave behind as a result of our day-to-day activities. Depending on the products we buy and the means of transport we use, we influence the scale of global climate change. We have a choice between increasing the temperature even further and thus affecting the environment, or alternatively we could slow down the process,’ said the Consul General. The Consul General also wished the project, which makes a significant contribution to climate protection and environmental conservation, a good start and successful implementation.
The project ‘Climate Scales’ is an outstanding example of the joint efforts made by Russia and Germany to leave our children a world that is clean and safe to live in.
Stefano Weinberger, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany
More and more people are now aware of the problem of climate change. Sustainability issues have become part of a wide range of scientific disciplines. In economics, for example, the environmental trend has manifested itself in the emergence of such a category as ’non-financial reporting’. This reflects a company’s performance in social development and environmental protection activities. As Iurii Guzov, First Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics of St Petersburg University, noted, such unconventional issues may have an impact on financial results and therefore deserve particular attention.
According to statistics, households account for no more than 10% of the total environmental impact. Although this figure may seem rather modest, people’ commitment to a green lifestyle is a powerful driver for businesses to rethink their strategies and invest in more ecological production.