Critical information provided through casual education

Video Project: “Unravelling Systems“

“Whoa! Everybody should hear about it!” This is what the Master’s students Chandni Dwarkasing and Chiara Signoria thought, when they started to look at the correlation between the ecological and the financial system. Thus they decided to launch a video project about the topic. Today their video platform “Unravelling Systems“ has even turned into a 6 ECTS course. A blog entry about a passionate learning project.

by Chandni Dwarkasing

unravelling

Bringing interesting topics to the masses – keeping it cool, open and fun.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that a high percentage of university students is actually interested in the topics they study, even though their attitude towards lectures, tutorials and the exam seems to be lazy sometimes. Unless you were forced to study something, which sadly is the case sometimes, you are usually eager to know every single detail about your subject of interest. But let’s face reality: Lectures can be quite boring, especially when it takes 10 minutes before the teacher clicks to the next slide. Perhaps it is the formal environment together with the formal attitude of the teacher that makes students yawn the hours away in class.

But what is it like, when a students come across a certain topic in their studies which they are absolutely amazed by. They think:

“Whoa! Everybody should hear about it!”

This is exactly what happened to me and my good friend Chiara in November 2015. Personally I’ve always been interested in the relationship between the economy and the environment, hence why I chose to specialize in Environmental Economics. And it’s always been a challenge to explain my classmates, how important it is to take the economy into account when finding solutions for environmental problems. With this, I don’t simply mean to find out how much “solving the environmental problem” will cost, but rather the economic thinking and behaviour that led to the problem in the first place. And how changes in this way of thinking could actually benefit the state of the environment.

So when I read a recently published article called “Why Ecologists should care about Financial Markets” I was convinced that this way of thinking about the Environment and the Economy is not something of my own imagination after all. I immediately shared this article with Chiara and got her on board. We were both very excited to share what we’ve read in this article with our colleagues, friends and perhaps even teachers. But how? Well, our initial idea was to set up a lecture series with the help of university faculties and departments.

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By reading more on the subject we got to know the names of many different engaged scientists. We wanted to organize a weekend with guest lecturers and students who could get 3 ECTS. But we soon realized how hard it is to convince scientists spread across the globe to come to Kiel (for free, because funding is limited). Chiara and I struggled with the idea and lost hope in the feasibility, until one Sunday evening I thought: “With all of the current technology we have – Facebook, Skype, Youtube – why don’t we host short lectures ourselves and interview our expert online?!” That was the birth of Unravelling Systems – A video series bringing together student and expert contribution on the topic of finance, economy, environment and eco-systems.

To us it sounded like a perfect combination, since we really wanted to make sure that we presented this topic in a way that attracts a wide set of viewers. We did not want to focus on only economists, ecologists or environmentalists. On the contrary, our aim was to make the topic digestible for people who know a bit of this or a bit of that. We decided that in explaining such complex topics to our audience it’s nice to keep the atmosphere and our own attitude relaxed and quirky. I think one of the key elements of the way we present our video is that we give the viewer the feeling that we’re both learning and finding things out together. We don’t present ourselves as being “all-knowing” – we leave that to the experts we’ve interviewed! And thus came forth, Unravelling Systems – Critical information brought to you through casual education.

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  1. Really interesting to look at the links between the two systems! Colleagues of mine started this project within the WWF UK and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales around the question: How does a financial system look like that supports people and planet? http://financeinnovationlab.org/

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