Wind in the sails of sustainable development
During a two-week sailing trip on the Baltic Sea, there's a lot of time to learn about sustainable development and make international contacts. And that's the idea behind the SAIL summer course, which takes place aboard a sailing ship.
‘This is a unique and different learning environment, a challenge for both lecturers and students’, says Lars Österlund, professor of Solid State Physics at the Department of Engineering Sciences and the person responsible for the content of this year's SAIL course.
‘We will have five hours of instruction a day and in addition to that some extremely practical group work. Unique to this course is that there are strict rules on board that the students actually obey’, he says with a laugh.
The course is offered as part of the Baltic University Programme and is organised by Uppsala University. Every year many applications are received, from which 40 students are selected.
‘We strive to take students from as many different countries as possible in order to highlight sustainable development from an international perspective, but just now there are unfortunately a preponderance of students from Uppsala University. We will try to change that’, says project manager Maria Hejna.
The lecturers on the course come from the different member countries of the Baltic University Programme and from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. We vary the content of the course, but the actual foundation is sustainable development in the Baltic Sea and meetings across cultural boundaries.
Last year the voyage took place between Gdansk and Szczecin via Stockholm. It included lessons in marine biology, solar energy, environmental engineering, urban planning, economics and social studies. This year, one of the lecturers is Professor Dennis Meadows who has worked with sustainable development since the 1970s and is known for his film ‘Last Call’, about the limits to growth.
This is a foundation course that can be taken by students from different disciplines, but they usually share a common interest in the environment.
‘Many students have been involved in the climate debate and feel that they want to do something. We show them what are sometimes shocking facts but also point out what can be done’, says Lars Österlund.
No previous sailing experience is required, but both lecturers and students are expected to help onboard the boat. If it is stormy, of course, more work is involved than if the sea is calm. It's difficult to know in advance which harbours will be visited during the course. The only thing that is certain is that the journey begins in Åalborg in Denmark and ends in Świnoujście in Poland.
Dominika Stygar from Poland has been on the course for the last ten years. She started out as a student and now she is shipboard coordinator and the crew's contact person.
‘After all these years I know that there are no problems we can't solve. The key is to get everyone on board to talk to each other, collaborate on board and rely on each other.’
Marja Hejna has also been on the trip many times and actually started the course 18 years ago. She particularly remembers one occasion when it was very stormy:
‘In the summer of 2009, we had two full weeks of storms. It was really tough going, but it has left me with a lifelong memory. Even though I get seasick, I usually wish for a small storm because then you learn respect for the see and see the forces of nature at work. It's fascinating; you make friends for life.’
SAIL stands for Sustainability Applied in International Learning.
The Baltic University Programme (BUP) is a network of 225 colleges and universities around the Baltic Sea. The network is coordinated by a secretariat at the Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD) at Uppsala University. BUP focuses on issues relating to sustainable development, the environment and democracy in the region.
News archive 2015
Helt nytt mineral upptäckt i Afrikansk gruva
Ett tidigare okänt mineral, som ursprungligen kommer från Kombatgruvan i Nambia har undersökts, karakteriserats och fått namnet grootfonteinit av Uppsalageologen Erik Jonsson i samarbete med ryska kollegor.
Ian Snowball and the TREASURE-project in "Havsutsikt"
The TREASURE project, a big transdisciplinary project coordinated from the program Natural resources and sustainable development at the department of Earth sciences, Uppsala university, is highlighted in the latest issue of the magazine Havsutsikt.
TREASURE work with developing new methods to assess the risk of dispersal of contaminant laden, cellulose rich fibre banks that exist in shallow waters along the Swedish coast, and identify the areas in most urgent need of remediation. Extremely high concentrations of organic pollutants and heavy metals exist in these industrially formed banks, and may be the source of pollutants in both fish and eagle eggs.
Katrin Lindbäck explores the moraine area in eastern Antarctica
Katrin Lindbäck, a researcher in glaciology and former graduate student at the Department of Earth Sciences, is currently in Antarctica. From mid-November and three months ahead, she will spend her days in the Mount Achernar moraine area in eastern Antarctica mapping the thickness of the moraine ridges and the underlying ice, to better understand how vulnerable the Antarctic may be for future global warming.
Dissertation: Heda Agic studies the early evolution of complex life
By extracting organically preserved microfossils out of rocks, and using advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, Heda Agić has investigated the affinity and timing of divergences between different lineages of photosynthetic microbiota.
Was early animal evolution co-operative rather than competitive?
The fossil group called the Ediacaran biota have been troubling researchers for a long time. How do these peculiar organisms relate to modern organisms? In a new study, published in Biological Reviews, researchers from Sweden and Spain suggest the Ediacarans reveal previously unexplored pathways taken by animal evolution. They also propose a new way of looking at the effect the Ediacarans might have had on the evolution of other animals.
A trip amongst volcanoes, oil and dinosaur bones
Steffi Buchardt is a structural geologist and used to study volcanoes. On her excursios around the world she has experienced a few exciting things. But nothing has been like her latest trip to Neuquén. This is a place with lots of volcanoes, but also one of Argentina's most important oil fields, and one of the world 's best locations for finding dinosaur bones. Here, Steffi learned how to best kill a cougar. And how the volcanoes managed to create oil from the dinosaur bones.
Europa tar samlat grepp om växthusgaserna
Nu tar de europeiska länderna ett samlat grepp om växthusgaserna. Den 25 november invigdes ett stort samarbetsprojekt mellan nio europeiska länder, där Uppsala universitet är ett av fem svenska universitet som ingår.
Two libraries become one
Beginning in January 2016, the library at SGU will be transferred to the earth sciences library.
Thesis: Peter uses statistical models to help lakes in trouble
From space, the Earth is blue. More than 70 percent of the planet's surface is covered by oceans. Besides the great oceans, planet earth also have more than 300 million lakes and ponds. But many lakes are in trouble. Peter Dimberg has developed new statistical methods to better investigate and predict the ecological state of lakes.
Giuliano Di Baldassarre adjunct professor at UNESCO-IHE
Giuliano Di Baldassarre is a Professor in Hydrology at the Research Programme Air, Water and Landscape Sciences. Photographer: Mikael Axelsson
Yellow River sediments reveal the history of our climate
By meticulously examining sediments in China’s Yellow River, a Swedish–Chinese research group are showing that the history of tectonic and climate evolution on Earth may need to be rewritten. Their findings have been published in the highly reputed journal Nature Communications.
Nya undersökningar av värdefull järnmalm
Greenland map facilitates climate research
For the first time a high-resolution map over the ground below the Greenland ice sheet is available. Researchers at Uppsala University have developed the map that will be of great importance for future possibilities to predict how the Greenland ice sheet melts and moves and that in turn has an impact on rising sea levels as a result of climate change.
Vindkraft för framtiden
Intresset för vindkraft ökar. I Sverige är det den tredje största elproduktionsformen. Men det finns några utmaningar för forskningen: Hur interagerar turbiner med varandra och hur undviker man att näraliggande vindkraftparker ”stjäl” energi från varandra?
Next Zennström Professorship holder to be appointed soon
The process of appointing the University’s next holder of the Zennström Visiting Professorship in Climate Change Leadership is set to begin soon. The professorship is placed at the Uppsala Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), and receives funding from a donation by entrepreneur Niklas Zennström. Now, the Centre has announced an open international call for nominations and expressions of interest.
Niclas Borinder is awarded for best Master thesis in 2015
It is my pleasure to announce that the Award of Excellence for the spring 2015 promotion of the M.Sc. Earth Science Programme students was awarded to Niclas Borinder for his thesis entitled ''Postcranial anatomy of Tanius sinensis Wiman, 1929 (Dinosauria; Hadrosauroidea)''. Niclas received his Award last night during a celebration dinner for the promotion, and the accompanying prize will soon follow.
Did dinosaurs have scales or feathers?
A new survey concludes that scales were the norm and that dinosaurs did probably not have a common feathered ancestor.
The sun creates renewable energy at Geocentrum
The Department of Earth Sciences has for a long time had the ambition to install solar panels and produce their own renewable electricity. Today there are 158 high performing solar panels placed upon the roof of Geocentrum, with the purpose of producing green electricity for years to come.
Ulf Högström awarded Jubilee Doctor title
Our students receive the vice-chancellor's award for best raft
Allison Daley belönas för sin forskning om fossila rovdjur
Wind in the sails of sustainable development
Ett sjätte massutdöende
Smarta telefoner som varningssystem för jordbävningar
Boken BACC II släpps den 15 Maj
Tävling: Forsränningen 2015
Världsmeteorologidagen i Gomorron Sverige
Vatten under glaciär i Antarktis påskyndar smältning
Conny Larsson tilldelas Svenska Akustiska Sällskapets ljudpris
The World Meteorological Day is celebrated on 23 March 2015 at Geocentrum
Post-Glacial Faults mini-symposium. What we know / don't and needs to be done!
Börje Dahrén on Swedish Radio (P1)
Ari Tryggvason on Swedish TV