Can climate change be slowed down? This was the topic of the klimafit programme’s digital kick-off session on 24 February, 2021, marking the start of the 2021 klimafit courses, which began in March 2021, in some locations for the fourth consecutive year.
The digital kick-off event take concrete action. slow climate change was organised by the WWF Germany and REKLIM (Helmholtz Network for Regional Climate Change and Humans), the two partners in the project klimafit – climate change on the doorstep; what can I do?. The event was sponsored by the Sparda Bank and VisualVest. Informative lectures, lively discussions with the experts as well as questions and answers in the chat function awaited the participants. Before the lectures, Andreas Küchle, Head of Marketing at the Sparda Bank BW, and Olaf Zeitnitz, Managing Director and co-founder of VisualVest, opened the proceedings by explaining the necessity of climate protection and adaptation. Sparda and VisualVest are supporting the klimafit project by providing funding for the course leaders’ fees. Dr Klaus Grosfeld, Managing Director of REKLIM, then welcomed everyone on behalf of the partners. The event attracted 363 participants, and was moderated by Conny Czymoch.
The two lectures, “Can the climate still be saved?” by Prof Mojib Latif (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel; REKLIM) and “Perceive the change – shape the future. Climate change as a challenge for society” by Prof Beate Ratter (Universität Hamburg and the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research in Geesthacht; REKLIM), showed the participants how unequivocal the scientific evidence for climate change is, and the different ways people perceive it. Prof Ratter made it clear that the first step toward taking action often results from trying something new.
The participants had the opportunity to become actively involved in the event by asking the experts questions, and were able to share their opinions using the Fragebarometer tag cloud (Fig. 2).
The lectures by the two experts also provided the basis for the panel discussion that followed, with Prof Mojib Latif, Prof Ratter and Henrik Maatsch, Senior Advisor Climate and Energy at the WWF Germany. The panel not only discussed the current state of our climate, but also raised awareness of the need for rapid action, and provided information on what measures the government will need to implement, as well as the options for climate protection and adaptation to climate change in Germany that are available to average citizens.
The klimafit courses offer an opportunity to become actively involved in climate protection. Accordingly, at the end of the kick-off event Bettina Münch-Epple, who is responsible for the klimafit project and Director of Education at WWF Germany, and Dr Renate Treffeisen, klimafit Project Manager within the REKLIM research network, provided information on the structure and content of the courses and their current relevance. The klimafit courses present science in a way that is clear and easy to understand, and bridge the gap between science and personal action. Their presentation made it clear that creating climate-friendly communities requires more than just municipal climate management, but also the participation of the general public – because climate protection is everyone’s responsibility. This message marked the launch of this year’s klimafit programme, which was kicked off by the course at the community college in Reinickendorf, Berlin. You can find an overview of all this year’s courses here. Further information on klimafit is avalable at www.reklim.de/klimafit and www.wwf.de/klimafit.