ComLab#6: Dwindling Resources – Growing Conflicts New solutions in the fight against resource scarcity

Rising oil and grain prices, dwindling wood and water reserves: Current geopolitical developments and climate change are making it increasingly clear how dependent we are on stable resources and reliable trade routes. Resource scarcity has far-reaching economic, social and political consequences, the urgency of which is being debated and negotiated in the public and political arena.

What is striking is that the repercussions of the current energy and food crises are being primarily discussed from a national perspective, although they are subject to global interdependencies and have a particularly severe impact on the world’s poorest regions. Exploding wheat prices in the wake of the Ukraine war and the famines in large swaths of Africa, climate migration and the resultant social conflicts, draw a dramatic picture of the grave extent to which the world has neglected to establish a forward-looking resource management system. Political conflicts – which researchers and experts have long warned about – are intensifying in many places. International bodies are in full agreement: The responsibility for our dwindling resources lies in the hands of the global community. But is this message also being communicated in the political sector, media and society?

ComLab#6 will examine the following questions: Which ecological, political and economic aspects do we have to take into account when dealing with resource scarcity? What alternatives are available with respect to the cultivation, use and transport of resources that are currently overexploited? Which trailblazing, innovative methods have been generated by international research that could help us to cultivate our planet in sustainable ways and establish fair trade conditions?

These topics were explored in more detail during ComLab#6 in Fall 2022 (October 28-29 & November 4-5).

Award-winning contributions

At a virtual award ceremony on January 20, 2023, the best four projects from the sixth Communication Lab were honoured.

The external jury, Ulrike Winkelmann (editor-in-chief, taz), Jennifer Winkelmann (editor-in-chief, Die Welt), Jens Radü (managing editor/multimedia, Der Spiegel) and Georg Scholl (head of Press, Communications and Marketing at the Humboldt Foundation), chose the four best project ideas. The jury was convinced by the originality of the topics, the creative way they were implemented and tailored to their target group as well as by the interweaving of facts and storytelling of the pieces.


Prize winners

The monetary awards for the four most successful project ideas went to:

  • the journalist María Dios (Bulle Media, Brussels) and the environmental researcher Maryam Bakhshi (FU Berlin) for their article on new global alliances in gas supply – with a particular focus on energy collaboration between Russia and Iran.
  • the journalist Alina Schadwinkel (freelance journalist) and the digital health researcher Ramon Rodrigues (HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management) for their multimedia scrollytelling, demonstrating the challenges and opportunities of digital applications for various illnesses.
  • the journalist Amanda Büchert (Danwatch) and the energy researcher Emily Burlinghaus (IASS Potsdam/ Johns Hopkins University) for their feature on lithium mining in Europe and new green technologies for extracting the valuable metal.
  • The “Creative SciComm” Award went to the journalist Maja Ziberna (RTV Slovenia) and the environmental researcher Mayra Flores Tavares (University of Freiburg) for their interactive web and social media project, telling the story of nature conservation in the Atlantic Forest from the perspective of a tree.

The winning entries are available on the AvH site.

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