Tackling climate change: from knowledge to action

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Tackling climate change: from knowledge to action

Why the Klaus Zekera Foundation has made an innovative WWF project ‘climate fit’.

Heidelberg / Berlin. At first there was a question: Why is it so difficult to move from knowledge to action when it comes to climate protection? The facts are on the table yet rarely anything changes in social behavior and the time window closes. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) set out to reduce this gap nearly five years ago by revitalizing the “Climate Fit” educational offering and seeking extraordinary partners. Adult Education Centers and REKLIM (Helmholtz Research Association for Regional Climate Change and Humans) have also been involved since the beginning, as have the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Klaus Scherra Foundation (KTS).

There, the approach to presenting research findings to residents in an unusual way and thus building a bridge to work was enthusiastic, not least because it fit their profile perfectly. The project was so successful that after the end of the pilot phase made available by the institutions, the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection participated as a sponsor of the project as part of the “National Climate Protection Initiative”.

The ‘climate fit’ course was much more than just a transfer of knowledge. “It is about bringing together people who care about what the future holds and who want to engage effectively with climate protection locally,” says Beate Spiegel, Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Foundation. Emphasizing the political and social dimension of climate knowledge imparted in the cycles, the institution has been compelling from the start: “It depends on everyone and everyone can do something about it.”

On the six course evenings, four face-to-face and two digital, people of all ages meet and have a variety of experiences on the course: from 14-year-olds who want to create a climate group at school, to prospective teachers and committed local advisors to the recent retiree who fears for future of his grandchildren.

The claim is high: after all, the goal is to initiate and promote dialogue between the various actors in the field of climate protection, connecting people to each other and thus motivating them to act. Because in the community and at your doorstep much easier. F: Climate protection is a common task that must be felt and experienced. In addition, community personality fosters confidence to act independently and to experience oneself – with others – as effective. What distinguishes it: all this always takes place against the background of the latest research, whether in terms of a regional, international or global dimension.

Project partners from REKLIM, WWF and the University of Hamburg, who are scientifically evaluating the whole thing, have committed to “know, want and change” in this trinity. The accompanying scientific research aims to better understand participatory processes for climate protection in order to understand the gaps between knowledge, desire and change from an application-oriented perspective. The results flow into the continuous further development of the educational offer and prove its effectiveness. In this way, “climate fit” can become a kind of low-threshold scheme and effective communication of science in society.

The first thing to do now is to create the nationally tested and tested course format as a long-term educational offering on climate. Climavit is on the right track here. What began in 2018 with six adult education centers and 108 participants in Baden-Württemberg has already inspired 66 adult education centers and nearly 1,000 participants nationwide in 2021. In 2024, 170 educational institutions are expected to participate. With several thousand participants who want to learn how to live in a way that protects the climate in the long term.

In addition, the ‘climate fit’ challenge built into the course is an important part of recording the specific CO2 reductions resulting from the educational offer. The ‘climate fit’ challenge consists of 16 individual measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by effectively changing an individual’s lifestyle. Here, too, it comes to concrete action.

Actions range from “leaving the car at home more often for short trips”, and “eating less meat”, to changing electricity providers. In total, 43.7 tons of CO2 could be saved in the 2021 cycle. This is equivalent to the emissions of four small cars driving around the Earth at once along the equator. If these measures were implemented by ten percent of all Germans for a year, emissions could be avoided in a city like Mönchengladbach. but that is not all. In the new funding phase, the ‘climate fit’ challenge will also be extended to the municipality. This year, both the Klima Arena and the municipality of Sinsheim are taking part in the challenge, as are the boroughs of Emmendingen and Birkenfeld and the cities of Bremerhaven and Greifswald. 300 citizens have already registered and are making their personal contributions to climate protection. After all, climate protection is a common task.

More information at: www.klimafit-kurs.de

to background:

WWF Germany

The WWF is one of the largest and most influential environmental organizations in Germany and the world. In accordance with the responsibility of all peoples for nature and environmental protection as an economic, social, scientific and cultural task, as declared by the United Nations, the World Wide Fund for Nature has made it its goal to promote nature, protect the environment, science, education and training in nature and the promotion of the environment. The WWF is currently active in more than 100 countries with more than 160 projects. (www.wwf.de)


The Helmholtz Research Network REKLIM (Regional Climate Change and Humans) is a network of nine research centers of the Helmholtz Association. REKLIM uses the expertise gathered at the Helmholtz Association for Regional Monitoring and Process Studies along with simulation models to improve regional and global climate models, which aim to provide a solid foundation for climate-related decision-making aid. REKLIM contributes its scientific expertise to the project and supports on-site events with experts from the Helmholtz Association. (www.reklim.de)

University of Hamburg

With more than 42,000 students, the University of Hamburg is the largest research and training institution in northern Germany and a long-term collaboration partner of the REKLIM Research Association. CLiCCS’s current Cluster of Excellence focuses on social science climate research. In the Climate Action project, Professor Pyatt Rutter’s working group examines the possibilities and obstacles to active citizen participation in climate protection.


The Klaus Chera Foundation

Kirsten Baumbusch

Tel: +49 (0) 6221 533177

Email: kirsten.baumbusch@klaus-tschira-stiftung.de


Nadia Kulikova

Tel: +49 (0) 151 1885 4193

Email: nadja.kulikowa@wwf.de

The Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS) promotes the natural sciences, mathematics and computer sciences and would like to contribute to the appreciation of these subjects. It was founded in 1995 by physicist and co-founder of SAP Klaus Scherra (1940-2015) with private funds. The three funding priorities are: education, research and scientific communication. A national commitment begins in kindergarten and continues in schools, universities, and research institutions. The Foundation is committed to the dialogue between science and society.

More information at: www.klaus-tschira-stiftung.de

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