Background

The Climate Helix was amongst the first tranche of Helix communities launched by Crowdhelix in early 2013. It is led by the Global Change Ecology Centre and Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of Antwerp.

Scope

The Climate Helix aims to promote the formation of consortia that focus on nature-based climate adaptation and mitigation, and how climate action can be embedded in broader action for sustainability.

How do ecosystems interact with climate change? This interaction is clearly bi-directional. Ecosystems can have an important influence on the climate, but climate also has a strong impact on ecosystems. Is the interaction impacting ecosystem services directly impacting local communities and stakeholders? What is the role of biodiversity in this interaction? Are species able to adapt to changing conditions, and how does this affect the functioning of the ecosystem?

Based on this knowledge, nature-based solutions can be developed to harness the power of biodiversity and ecosystems to mitigate climate change, or to allow adaptation to climate change effects. How can these nature-based solutions be optimally designed, and how can we ensure their adoption by local stakeholders and communities?

This is not limited to natural ecosystems. Agricultural land and urban areas can also be designed to maximize ecosystem services and climate neutrality. In these areas, maximization of ecosystem services can both induce a better life for inhabitants, while also promoting e.g. biodiversity, and still deliver substantial or even larger long-term economic value.

An important role is played here by efficient communication, information and participation. Climate action can only be successful if the reasoning for its implementation is endorsed by citizens, including minority groups and groups that are more challenging to reach. Citizen science is one way to achieve these goals.

The Climate Helix will attempt to form strongly interdisciplinary consortia that will be composed of, but not limited to, participants from both academic and non-academic environments, with affinity to Earth Sciences, Ecology, Social sciences, Economical sciences, Eco-Technology, Environmental Engineering, Policy Development and Circular Economy.

Organisations

  • Ca' Foscari University of Venice
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Leeds
  • Universita degli Studi di Milano
  • NTNU
  • Imperial College London
  • ETH Zurich
  • Tampere University
  • University of Cape Town
  • Middle East Technical University
  • Coca-Cola European Partners
  • University of Turku
  • Vilnius Gediminas Technical University
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Lithuanian Energy Institute
  • Open University

Projects

  • EIT Climate-KIC
  • Global Change Ecology
  • Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development

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