It’s great to see something being created together. Our online course (MOOC) on topics related to climate change gets more and more content and the texts are easy to read. Online exchange with the colleagues in Bulgaria, Greece and Italy on further contributions, the didactic parts, the introductory videos. The modules will be published in December 2021.
Climate change is a word that is now on everyone’s lips. It provokes emotions and is hardly missing from any political statement. This can create a paradox: a word becomes an empty phrase. This is one of the reasons why Christoph Mayer’s lively transmission of knowledge, called a lecture, was so well received at our workshop from 24th to 28th September 2021. It was about the characteristics of global warming, the burning of fossil fuels as a central cause for it, the often underestimated methane as well as the political possibilities to deal with all the problems – in principle.
For five days, the colleagues from Sofia, Athens, Rome and Berlin tested adult education methods to make the topic of climate change in all its complexity the subject of their work. Together, they overcame the (inner) burden of producing videos for our online course, tried out forum theatre, discussed the Popular Opinion Leader method, playfully explored the pros and cons of climate protection policy, and explored in an authentic place how people can unite and do something for the city’s climate and their own salad plate. For example, through urban gardening. At the same time, the shared inspirations and didactic approaches stimulated many new questions. That’s education…
Climate change on stage: Short video of Forum theatre scenes developed during our workshop in Berlin from 24th to 28th September 2021. A topic as abstract as climate change needs a concrete conflict in order to realise it theatrically and to link it to the citizens’ lives. The group had agreed on two. One was the treatment of flood victims and the violence that can come from bureaucracy. The other was the conflict between dredger drivers and climate activists.
Forum theatre has the charm that people from the audience can play along and give the scene a new direction. And what is possible on stage, namely to try out different ways of playing with reality, can also be done in ‘real life’. To change social reality with theatre was the goal of Augusto Boal, the inventor of Forum theatre. This can visibly also go hand in hand with joy. The conversations after the performances were also intense and moving.
Project meeting in Rome Corviale 29th to 31st July 2021: In addition to further planning of the project activities, the meeting offered the opportunity to gain on-site impressions of the activities of the partner organisation Corviale Domani. To begin with, the colleagues explored “the snake“, a building one kilometre long on the periphery of Rome/Italy. What began in the 1970s as an ambitious project for social housing, remained unfinished. The astonishing silence in the building seemed like a symbol of this. But the unfinished holds potential. A master plan for a “green transformation” of the district is currently being developed under the leadership of Corviale Domani. It was presented to the group. The Italian colleagues also introduced in the content of their second contribution to the online course: Circular Economy in Disadvantaged Urban Areas. A very intensive and content-rich meeting.
Excursion and photografic reportage
Wildfires have been part of the ecosystems forever. However, increasing heat, changing rain patterns and other climate-related changes have vastly increased the likelihood that fires will start more often and burn more intensely and widely than they have in the past.
According to data from the European Commission, in recent years, wildfires have had a huge impact on Europe’s natural capital, economy and citizens. In the South of Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France), every year 500.000 acres are burnt in average every year. In 2019 and 2020, the season of wildfires was extended, starting earlier or lasting longer than expected, while the number of fires and burnt areas exceeded the average of the last twelve years in record time. Together with the increase in the number of days per year with high to extremely high risk of wildfire, it is estimated that the impact of extreme fires on large areas is likely to increase in the future, with long-term consequences.
In Greece, in the last years the number of wildfires has increased by 160% and the size of the burnt areas has increased by 300%. In the 19th of May 2021, in Geraneia Ori in Western Attica (65 kms from Athens) burnt 52.000 acres of forest. It was the most destructive, in relation with the size of the burnt area, wildfire of the last years and the only major wildfire that happened in Greece in a May.
During the workshop in Athens, colleagues from the partner organisation Action Synergy gave input on perceptions of climate change among the Greek citizens. It was remarkable that the natural disasters (forest fires, floods) of the past years led to a change in awareness. A presentation of climate protection initiatives in Greece also provided material for discussion. We hereby make both inputs available: Perceptions, initiatives.
Global warming and energy production are two key words that come up when talking about climate change issues. This was also the case during the workshop of colleagues from all partner organisations, which took place in Athens from 5th to 10th July 2021. The focus was on the exchange of methods to make aspects of climate change a topic in adult education. The participants got to know techniques of the photographic reportage using the example of the destruction of nature by wild fires in Greece (this year already in May). They went ‘into the field’, took pictures and learned tips and tricks for post-production. How can I arouse curiosity? How can I tell a story with a picture? And at what point does image editing simply serve the purpose of manipulation? “Moving, inspiring and motivating,” was the feedback of one participant.
For some, the reduction of greenhouse gases is not going fast enough. Others doubt that climate change is happening or is caused by human activity. Rarely is a distinction made between climate change, climate protection policy and the way how climate change is under discussion. Different views are nevertheless indispensable for a democratic culture and its freedom of speech. If many people get involved, a broad process of awareness can be triggered, and the instrumentalisation of the issue by one side or the other can be disenchanted. And at the same time, the dramatic nature of the change could become clear. How to deal with it? What makes it so difficult to change the climate change? What needs to be transformed in terms of the energy supply? Is the arms industry the No. 1 climate polluter? To what extent should citizens change their consumption behaviour? What structural changes are necessary? When are moral arguments aimed at individual behaviour convincing?
These are some of the questions discussed during the workshop from 5th to 10th July 2021 at our partner organisation Action Synergy in Athens. The contribution to our online course “Criticism of climate protection policy – arguments and counter-arguments” was presented and will be published in November 2021.
Ten-minute speech by Stefan Rahmstorf about the melting ice at the North Pole and the slowdown of the Gulf Stream – and the tipping or critical points to face a “major desaster of planetary scale”. We would not know how far away we are from these points but we move in that direction.