„Ecological Sustainability – How to Keep Our Planet Green?”

Veranstaltung 22. September 2023

Weekend Seminar in Helmstedt, 22–24 September 2023

STUBE Niedersachsen is back again with a weekend seminar at Kloster St. Ludgerus in Helmstedt, running from the 22nd to the 24th of September 2023. Our group of 19 participants delved into the world of traditional seeds and agricultural ecosystems as well as how to actively participate in sustainability efforts. We also explored how businesses and government entities can collaborate to transform mining areas into new ecosystems. The seminar was packed with activities, making it both enjoyable and truly inspiring.

The first session of this seminar was led by Gladys Sylivester Mayombo, a student from Göttingen, hailing from Tanzania. She conducted research for her Master’s thesis on traditional seeds in her home country (financially supported by STUBE Niedersachsen through the BPSA program). Over generations, traditional seed preservation and cultivation methods have been neglected. It's now time to revive the practice of preserving and using traditional seeds as they are pesticide and chemical-free, allowing nature to guide the way.

Our second day began with a walk around Lappwaldsee led by Ute Goslar, a visitor guide from Grenzenlos – Wege zum Nachbarn e.V. She shared insights into the history of the lake, which was once a coal mining area. This lake is a testament to the collaborative efforts of two German states, Niedersachsen and Sachsen-Anhalt, along with mining companies, to transform the landscape. It serves as a symbol of hope for environmental revitalization.

After taking a train and bus, we arrived in Königslutter, a neighboring town. Here, we visited the FInAL project, which stands for “Facilitating Insects in Agricultural Landscapes”. The landscape coordinator, Annette Bartels, and her project partners shed light on the complex ecosystems beneath the soil we tread upon and where we cultivate our vegetables. Conventional plowing disrupts these ecosystems. Instead, this project, in cooperation with local farmers, employs an innovative approach by creating holes in the land for planting seeds. This results in a field adorned not only with beautiful sunflowers but also eight different plant species that support each other's growth. Transitioning from traditional farming methods to this approach is challenging, but the potential rewards and the motivation to safeguard our planet are substantial.

Still in Königslutter, we visited ÖNSA (Ökologische NABU-Station Aller/Oker). Here, we delved deeper into the ecology of Niedersachsen, learning about endangered species such as toads and field hamsters. The head of the station, Marieke Neßmann, and her colleagues monitor fields and advise farmers not to plow them, as these fields are home to various animals that are integral to the ecosystem.

The seminar concluded with a presentation by other students engaged in volunteer activities with Greenpeace e.V. in Braunschweig. Till Affeldt, in his civil society role, emphasized the importance of peace and how small actions can lead to a sustainable and greener life. One of their activities included transforming a shopping street by removing parked cars and creating a pedestrian-friendly space.

The seminar may have ended, but the knowledge and understanding we gained will continue to drive our efforts to safeguard our planet.

Lisa Wirjantoro