Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Prof. Dr. Eckhert Ehlers – down to earth

(Sources: Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre files; Sustainable Development of Megacities of Tomorrow)
Recently, Prof. Dr. Eckert Ehlers visited the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre to which he had, previously donated many items, such as academic journals, surveys of various Alberta communities, agricultural books and magazines, reports, soil surveys, diagrams and his thesis: [The Northern Peace River Country/Alberta Canada Genesis and Structure of a Pioneer area in a Boreal Forest Belt of North America].
In the 1960s, Dr. Ehlers was a student in Germany. But, to research his PhD thesis on agriculture and colonization, he chose the Peace Country, spending the academic year 1962-63 as a student at the University of Alberta and his field research in the Peace River area. During the winter, he lived in town with a German family – the Zobels. His days were spent copying homestead records at the Public Lands Office, run by Donald Sawyer.
Dr. Ehlers and Peace River Archivist Carson Murphy
In the summer of 1963, he spent about four months researching his case studies, of which he had five – Fort Vermilion, Worsley and Hines Creek, Shaftesbury Settlement, Fairview and Manning.
Dr. Ehlers has been accompanying The Future Cities Program as a chairman of the panels since 2004. The Research Program “Sustainable Development of the Megacities of Tomorrow, funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In its main phase between 2008-2013 focused on “energy and climate-efficient structures in urban growth centre” in developing and newly industrializing countries.
When asked how cities related to climate change, he replied: “The urbanization of the planet is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Over 50 per cent of the people on two per cent of the earth’s surface produce over 75 per cent of the global greenhouse gases. Population growth, scarcity of energy and resources and climate change are closely connected. Both the livability and quality of life in the cities, and the development of climate – and energy efficient urban growth require sustainable solutions and strategies.
The reason for focus on megacities of tomorrow: Future megacities in developing and newly industrializing countries have role-model status in terms of growth and environmental management. Megacities are particularly pioneering in developing innovative solutions that affect national and international urban growth processes.

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