Two young researchers received the Bernese Award for Environmental Research: The inaugural prize went, ex aequo, to Martin Flügel for his dissertation on “Environmental Ethics and Policy” and Agnes Nienhaus for her master's thesis, “Natural Disasters and the Process of Modernization.”
Martin Flügel carried out the first well founded and systematic study to establish which environmentally ethical orientations and background ideas, which were developed during different historical contexts, have been incorporated into environmentally-relevant legislation and constitutional articles in Switzerland. Because of its analytical clarity, the work serves as a useful guide for legal and political judgement.
In her master’s thesis, Agnes Nienhaus delves into the historically rich, complex facets of a concrete historical event and the way it has been dealt with in society. The analysis from a temporal distance clearly demonstrates patterns of conditions that lead to problems and solutions related to natural events. The work permits empirically substantial hypotheses enabling society to address problems of the present, especially in the context of climate change.