Early February saw the start of the climate-fit courses for 2020, which attracted over 500 highly motivated participants at 34 community colleges throughout Germany. As in previous years, this spring over a total of six evening sessions the focus was on discussing climate change, climate protection and adaptation. While at nearly all locations the first three sessions were held as usual, the far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus pandemic affected the second half of the climate-fit course. The closure of the community colleges and the uncertainty surrounding when they would reopen meant that the four classroom sessions and two online webinars that were originally planned had to be interrupted. The climate-fit project team and course leaders all agreed: even during the coronavirus lockdown, the participants should have the opportunity to complete the course and learn more about climate change. To make this possible, the course content had to be restructured, with sessions 4 and 6 being combined and offered digitally by the climate-fit project team. The webinars for sessions 3 and 5 went ahead as planned, which meant that virtually all of the course material was covered, and the course was successfully completed at all 34 climate-fit locations. Over 300 people took part in the digital sessions, which, with their expert lectures and interactive questionnaires, offered participants and organisers alike a unique climate-fit experience. The participants’ positive feedback shows that, despite the coronavirus and the switch to a purely digital format, the climate-fit course was a success. Many of the climate-fit course instructors are now organising a follow-up session in the summer or autumn, where the participants will be able to meet up again, share their experiences, and plan their next joint climate protection activities.
As in past years, the participants at the 34 venues received a certificate showing that they are climate protection multipliers. The 2020 course was held at the following locations: Bad Krozingen, Berlin, Bernau near Berlin, Brackenheim (Heilbronn district), Bremen, Bremerhaven, Bühl (Rastatt district), Constance, Eckernförde, Emden, Emmendingen, Ettlingen, Frankenthal, Freiburg (Breisgau), Greifswald, Hamburg, Hannover, Heidelberg, Itzstedt, Kehl, Kiel, Leer, Leipzig, Lörrach, Lüneburg, Mannheim, Neumünster, Offenburg, Rostock, Schopfheim, Schwarzenbek, Sinsheim, Unterhaching and Winsen (Luhe).
Participants save 4,300 kg of CO2 in the climate-fit challenge
A particular element of the course in its third year was the newly introduced climate-fit challenge. This involved concrete climate protection measures for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the areas energy, mobility and food. The participants implemented these measures for the duration of the course – alone, or together with their family, friends or colleagues. Specific challenges included cycling to work instead of going by car, or switching from bottled water to tap water. Using a computer model specially adapted for ‘climate-fit’, the participants were able to calculate, based on their respective situation, the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions their chosen measures could save by the end of the course. Even though some of the measures couldn’t be implemented as planned during the coronavirus pandemic, the course participants at the 34 locations intensively took part in the climate-fit challenge. At the end of the course, the climate-fit project team collected and evaluated the results. A huge success: the participants actively contributed towards climate protection and reduced their carbon footprints. Together they saved 4,300 kg of CO2, which is equivalent to driving 25,000 km in a mid-size car – a great outcome for the climate-fit course 2020!
New climate-fit courses in 2021
Following the success of the 2020 courses, the planning has now begun for courses in spring 2021. Next year there will be around 50-60 courses throughout Germany, giving even more participants the opportunity to learn about and discuss climate change, climate protection and adaptation. Moreover, North Rhine-Westphalia will be included for the first time; with KlimaDiskurs.NRW as a new Hub, climate-fit now has a partner that will coordinate the courses in this region. If you are interested in getting involved in climate-fit as a course instructor or in having the course offered at your community college, you can find more information at the ‘climate-fit’ coordination centre in your respective region – one of our climate-fit Hubs.