I’m Dr. Karolin Jiptner, I wanted to say hello to all YUCaN members and give a short statement about “Awareness”. Personally, I believe climate action has to be built on two pillars: 1) Shifting to eco-friendly energy sources AND 2) reducing energy consumption in general. Often enough, I can hear statements like: “We don’t need to reduce energy consumption as long as our energy comes from a green source” and (even though it is true in the long run) it seems to me like people are trying to avoid their own responsibility. Number 1 – shifting to green energy sources – takes TIME, time that we don’t have. 2) – reducing energy consumption – is easily doable by individuals and can be done immediately and immediate action is what we need.
Who am I to say that? I have studied something called “Applied Natural Sciences” up to my Master degree in Germany, where I’m from, which included basics in Microbiology, Analytical Chemistry and Semiconductor Physics. After that I came to Japan to get my doctor’s degree from Tsukuba University in Material Science (Semiconductor Physics) and specially I was optimizing the silicon growth process for solar cell production. That work I continued for five years at NIMS (物質・材料研究機構) before coming to Yamagata University, where I am not employed as a researcher but as an employee at the International Exchange Center.
European individuals seem to be much more aware of their individual influence on climate than Japanese people are. There are many movements, most famous among those are the “Fridays for Future” or the social activism by Greta Thunberg. We as individuals are just small fish in the big pond of CO2 and greenhouse gas production, but if EVERYONE contributes, it does make a difference! I would like to increase that awareness in our students.
Right now, the International Exchange Center at the Faculty of Engineering is setting up an online exchange program with Kasetsart University in Thailand and I made “Towards a Carbon Neutral Society” our main topic (here is the link https://yu-eng-iec.sakura.ne.jp/ja/2021-summer-program-information/). I am trying to raise awareness in students and teach them how to calculate their own Carbon Footprint and that small things can change the world.
I want students to think about how they can make a difference, starting with questions like: “Did you know that beef is so much more CO2 heavy than pork and way more CO2 heavy than chicken and especially fish?” and continuing to make them understand their own electricity bill (“How much CO2 is 150kWh? Is that large on an international scale? Could you save some more energy?”). Working together with Thailand, who have completely different social and economic problems to deal with, is also eye opening to the students.
One of my missions here at YUCaN, or Yamagata University in general, is to raise that awareness in students and faculty. Please, if anyone would like to cooperate with me on that or has suggestions, contact me. I would also love to help you out on your quests and start a collaboration.