Sustainable Professor Björn Vollan Environmental and Resource Economist at the Philipps University of Marburg received the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship for the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in 2015 The Robert Bosch Stiftung awards the five year junior professorship each year Up and coming researchers from a wide range of disciplines can apply here www bosch stiftung de juniorprofessorship When the Water Rises I conduct my research in areas where the effects of climate change can already be seen in the Philippines and the Solomon Islands in Bangladesh and Vietnam Our findings show there is a discrepancy between the predic tions and media reports on climate refugees and the actual ability of those affected to migrate Even if they sell all their belongings many of them only make it to the poorer quarters of the next largest cities or to nearby islands My team and I have refuted the assumption that as they face the prospect of being uprooted those affected by climate change are be coming more selfish so they can Björn Vollan investigates how people are handling climate change in the regions seeing the most serious impacts obtain through competition the few available resources such as fish or forest resources On the contrary they identify even more with their difficult situation and feel even stronger solidarity with the members of their group The fact that I was entrusted with a million euros to carry out a major research project over a five year period is an amazing leap of faith The junior professorship has a signaling effect and has helped me take on two other research projects from the German Research Founda tion and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research In the coming months I will also start work ing as a professor at the Philipps University of Marburg The urgency of climate change was impressively demonstrated to me when I visited people living in a lagoon on man made islands they built themselves less than a meter above sea level It s an image that has really stuck with me wherever you look there s water And that water will keep on rising It s a scary situation We re one with nature but we re also at its mercy Climate change is very real there Those of us from rich industrial countries have caused this situation so the principle of polluter pays should apply to us But how can you compensate people for the loss of their livelihood This should make us stop and think and should induce us to limit global warming as quickly as possible even if it involves denying ourselves certain things and making cultural changes We are still behaving as if we had no idea as to the conse quences of our actions Foundation laid46 Robert Bosch Stiftung Te xt R eg in a M en ni g P ho to A nd re as F ri ed le

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