Donor Article

Foundation for Environmental Protection

28.02.20232 minutes reading time

In 1993 Prof. Dr. Michael Otto established the Foundation for Environmental Protection which operates under his name. It has a very specific objective: It was to advocate for protecting the environment and nature, especially through projects to protect the foundation of life: water and ecosystems sustained by water such as swamps, rivers, lakes and oceans. That is because these habitats are increasingly out of balance due to human action and their biodiversity and ability to regenerate are threatened by extinction. Restoring this balance is the goal of the Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection, as can be seen, e.g., in the rewetting of swamps, which has been the objective of the toMOORow initiative.

This initiative is about preserving intact moorlands in Germany. Since dried-out moorlands release large quantities of CO₂, it is necessary to create new, natural habitats through the rewetting of drained peatlands, promoting their enormous positive climate impact. These can also be used agriculturally in the sense of paludiculture – an example that shows environmental protection also pays off economically.

The F.R.A.N.Z. project advocates for biodiversity in agriculture to create a balance between globally growing demand for agricultural products and the preservation of species diversity.

The goal of the Michael Otto Foundation for Environmental Protection is to keep the earth livable for future generations. Young people are involved in this, for example through the education project AQUA-AGENTS for primary schools in Hamburg. The ecological significance of water is playfully conveyed to students, for example by taking them on excursions to hydrologically valuable nature reserves. But they are also sensitized to how we can all actively contribute to water protection.

The third pillar of Michael Otto’s foundation is dialogue. This involves bringing potential protagonists in environmental protection into conversation and motivating them to think and act together. For example, since 2004, the interdisciplinary symposium called the “Hamburg Talks on Environmental Protection” (“Hamburger Gespräche für Naturschutz”) has been held with the aim of creating awareness for environmental protection and sustainable solutions. And the “Berlin Climate Discourses” (“Berliner Klimadiskurse”) developed into the foundation “Climate Economy – German Entrepreneurs for Climate Protection” (“KlimaWirtschaft – deutsche Unternehmer für Klimaschutz”), which was also initiated by Michael Otto. It is working on the transformation to climate neutrality – a goal that can only be achieved jointly.


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Prof. Dr. Michael Otto being interviewed
Prof. Dr. Michael Otto being interviewed

Prof. Dr. Michael Otto as


Prof. Dr. Michael Otto as