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One Research Program: Changing Earth – Sustaining our Future

Climate change, the extinction of species, environmental pollution, and the increasing vulnerability of a technological society to natural disasters are among the greatest challenges of our time.

We take a systemic approach to researching our natural environment; from the land surface and the oceans to the most remote polar regions. After all, it will only be possible to plot a course into a sustainable future with in-depth knowledge of the Earth system, innovative technologies, strategic solutions, and evidence-based recommendations for policymakers.

Seven Helmholtz Centers are collaborating to gather deep insights into the complex relationships between the processes that take place on our planet. What are the causes and effects of global environmental changes? How can natural resources be used sustainably? How can we protect ourselves more effectively from disasters and natural hazards like droughts, heavy rainfall, storms, floods, and earthquakes? We aim to develop solutions and strategies to help humankind adapt to changing environmental conditions, to minimize global threats like climate change, and to understand the potential impact of these risks, not only for the environment but also for the economy and society.

We have bundled the digital world of Helmholtz Earth System Research on a central landing page. Helmholtz Earth.

To meet the complex challenges of modern Earth system research, we are collaborating in one joint research program, "Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future." We have therefore organized our research areas into nine topics as well as several cross-cutting activities and alliances. Our aim is to interlink the knowledge generated through this work and promote cooperation between Helmholtz Centers and with national and international partners. To make sure that our research findings are brought to public attention and are able to influence developments in society, we have set up a synthesis and communication platform.

Changing Earth - Sustaining our Future

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"Integrated research for adressing global water challanges"

Brochure of the Helmholtz Water Network

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Katja Matthes

Research field coordinator Earth and Environment
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Cathrin Brüchmann

Chief Research Manager Earth and Environment
Helmholtz Association


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    The current Corona pandemic shows: Human health is related to animal health and the environment. Only by understanding this unity in terms of "One Health" we will be able to prevent future pandemics.

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