Day 1 - Tropentag2020, Keynotes, Speeches, Tropentag2020

From my kitchen table straight to the drylands

So the main conference started successfully this afternoon. Before, even from hundreds of km away, I felt a certain Nervousness: will everything work?! Well, yes! It started with the nice tradition (for regular visitors to Tropentag), that Prof. Dr. Folkard Asch did the prelude, a calming continuity straight away! I could see him well – and, mainly: hear him clearly! I can already see that now: Compared to many other offline conferences (in general), an advantage of this digital transmission seems to be that you can understand the speakers very well! So, what kind of problems I had already. It’s so exhausting, and at some point simply frustrating, when you can’t follow because you only understand half acoustically. So far the sound is great, and it’s worth it twice, then of course there was a lot to hear in terms of content!

Prof. Asch is opening the conference (above the slide)

Mr. Asch stressed, that the thematic roof “Food and nutrition security and its resilience to global crises” for this year was by far not only chosen due to the actual pandemic, but also with regards to mega topics like climate change and resource stress.

A lecture hall in Prague, where the Tropentag 2020 should have taken place originally this year.

Prague will be the host in 2022, it couldn´t have been switched, because preparation for Tropentag2021 is already too advanced … for Hohenheim! Thank you, Covid-19 … 😉 I heard, that the responsibilities in Pragues are brave on that fact. (So am I, as this year would habe been my first visit at all o fast beautiful city at the Vltava.)

Prof. Sauerborn from Heidelberg University kicked off the event. I learned that CO2 can also have a large (negative) impact on plants directly.

It would go beyond the scope (and probably also my professional expertise) to reproduce everything from him here. Incidentally, you will be able to hear and see the lectures again on demand – highly recommended.

As for Mr. Sauerborn, I had to laugh when I realized what kind of path it is, what layers are superimposed there. So, from my kitchen table in Cologne to a beautiful garden in Burkina Faso: I look at my lap top, the conference platform WHOVA is running in the browser. A YouTube live signal is fed in (via Kassel-Witzenhausen). That comes from Stuttgart-Hohenheim, where Mr. Sauerborn is connected in the lecture hall. He himself, in turn, sits at home in the office with a broken leg (get well soon!). And so that it looks nice (maybe he couldn’t tidy up in time?), and also fits the topic, he finally faded in a virtual background – from a very nice place in West Africa … 😉

I know, of course, that many of us have had experiences with such online conferences since this year at the latest. But still though, to be honest, I am really fascinated by what you can do. Especially when it works that well! Very cool.

And so it went on smoothly, Helen Young from Boston, USA picked me up and took me to the drylands mainly in Eastern Africa. She presented a study that deals with the complex relationships between climate, rainy seasons, conflict and hunger. I already knew the hunger gap, but that it is often caused by conflicts, e.g. carried out among herder and triggered by an unfavourable climate, which is aggravated, was new to me.