Schoolchildren from Kirchseeon and their commitment to climate protection – Ebersberg

Finally a change. That is the motto of the new climate project that the Ebersberg-Munich Energy Agency helped to develop. The idea for “[email protected] 1.5” came about together with project partners from Italy, Austria and Sweden. Action-oriented climate education, according to the website, is to be conveyed to young people over the three-year project period: “This is an opportunity for us to get to know new perspectives,” says 16-year-old Leonie from the Kirchseeon high school.

The high school in Kirchseeon is also involved in the project with 16 participants in Q11. In addition to things like leisure activities and pets, the “English Conversation” course also deals with climate education – all in English: “Climate change is not dealt with sufficiently at school – more could be done,” says 17-year-old Antonia. She herself was active in “Fridays for Future” three years ago and shares the opinion of many of the students on the course.

But what is special about the project?

Competencies in the field of environmental education and communication are taught in a total of five modules: How is climate protection possible in everyday life? What is environmental journalism? These are just two of many of the “green” questions that are answered together with other young people. The aim is to develop a multimedia educational concept in which ideas and possibilities on the subject of climate change are discussed.

Storytelling is one of the things that Umbria is all about

The European Union is helping to implement it and is financing the project through the Erasmus program. Projects at the intersection of youth, education and Europe are thus funded across Europe. In the Kirchseeon classroom, the “Climate Scout Box” helps with inspiration. Developed by the energy agency, the “rentable energy transition in the box”, according to the agency’s website, is intended to convey knowledge clearly through experiments.

“The exchange with young people from other European countries is essential for a comprehensive perspective,” says Angelika Bachmann, 62, who works for the Ebersberg institution and was involved in the conception. Therefore, the students of the Kirchseeon class meet with participants from other countries in the Italian province.

The young people spend three intensive days in Umbria, near Rome in Italy: exchanging their own ideas and experiences and learning communicative skills such as video editing or storytelling are on the program here.

Storytelling is about making information vivid by wrapping it in a story. The deliberately chosen structure of the story should then get the readers, listeners or viewers to be interested in the topic and, in the best case, even to work for it.

Exciting green ideas can also be found nearby

Angelika Bachmann is convinced of this technique: “You don’t learn how to express yourself appealingly in a story at school.” Emotional storytelling in particular has great potential “to keep the world in suspense,” says the 62-year-old. That goes down well with the participant Lena, 16: “How emotions can be used for a good story is an important finding for me.”

But how do you find stories worth telling? According to Bachmann, the experience from the time of the pandemic-related travel restrictions provided an answer here: your own local environment. There are often best-practice examples there that need to be discovered. Exploring the environment in search of exciting green ideas – “micro-adventures,” as Bachmann calls them – provides sources for a variety of stories that students create using the skills they learn.

Via social media channels, the school homepage or the websites of the partner organizations, the participants act as multipliers in order to carry the knowledge they have acquired into their own environment and beyond: “This approach combines scientific storytelling with ideas of transmedial education,” says it on the project’s website.

In addition to the human encounters, the interculturality is also noticeable in other ways: Regional food was prepared in a way that is typical of the country, and the daily schedule was interpreted as “Italian relaxed” according to Lena. A lot of time was taken for joint talks without acting strictly according to the specifications of the schedule.

Options for action against climate change should be better explained

For Leonie, 16, who was also part of the five-day seminar trip, the free conception of the seminars was remembered: “Without hierarchy, it was an exchange at eye level, and I was able to exchange ideas and develop ideas together.”

Both Leonie and Lena were interested in environmental issues even before they took part in the project and believe that everyone can contribute: “You can do good with small things,” says Lena, listing options: deliberately buying less plastic, saving energy , bike to school or take the train instead of the plane when traveling. Nevertheless, it is a personal decision how one wants to behave – individual actions of others are therefore difficult to evaluate.

This is precisely why education is a suitable lever, says Bachmann, because then everyone can contribute something with their ideas. Bachmann is convinced that the debate about environmental protection needs more constructive contributions: “Science and the options for action to combat climate change should be explained in a popular way,” because there is still a great need for this.

The students’ contributions filled a niche in climate policy education: “In a while it will become clear how the skills learned, such as storytelling or the use of social media, affect the debate,” says Bachmann.

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