Climate change became evident by hot summers, extreme weather events, sea level rise, declining Arctic sea ice, etc. This, among others, will have an impact on natural cycles, water supply, food production, the conditions for human life and will thus push more migration. These effects challenge the cohesion of societies. They are likely to lead to conflicts that can also endanger democracy.
Adult educators from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece and Italy working with non-formal methods and with citizens ‘at the margin’ of society, developed an open online course on topics related to climate change and ecological issues. They bring together reflections on topics with participative civic education approaches, methods of social work, community development, art (photography) and ICT skills. The MOOC (“Massive Open Online Course”) is dedicated to adult trainers and volunteers who mainly act in a context of precarity and social disadvantages. And for sure, to anyone who is interested in these questions.
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The main topics of the MOOC are:
- Introduction to climate change: the history of global warming, causes and expected consequences,
- Controversies if climate change is caused by human activity,
- What comes first: ‘green’ change or social policy? Is there a conflict of objectives?
- Waste of water,
- Natural disaster related to climate change (e.g. floods, fires),
- Cultivating a green area by stimulating a civic sense for protecting the environment through citizen’s engagement,
- Waste recycling and its impact on social life,
- Climate events and its prevention,
- Community development with Roma citizens: combining social work and civic education as an approach to reach non-privileged adult citizens,
- How to create and maintain a MOOC for trainers?
The colleagues from the partner organisations took into account that ‘changing the change’ education would better follow a multi-level approach. This includes a) activities and reflections to foster a general understanding of what climate change means and the profound transformation of our societies it will bring, thus coping with complexity, enhancing critical thinking, strengthening European cooperation and peaceful conflict solving. It also includes b) exploring fields of activities to counteract climate change regarding one’s own behaviour and projects which might be put in practice locally by its citizens.