Course Content

From February 2020, the course climate-fit (klimafit), jointly developed by the WWF Germany and the Helmholtz Climate Initiative Regional Climate Change (REKLIM), will be offered at 34 community colleges across Germany. Conceived as a region-specific adult-education course on municipal climate protection and climate adaptation, it uses a sound scientific basis to show the causes and effects of climate change at both the global and regional scale, what participants can personally do to support climate protection in their city or municipality, and how they can adapt to the impacts of climate change. In addition, the course offers participants the opportunity to network, both with one another and with local climate protection initiatives. The innovative course format consists of four classroom sessions and two online sessions, and offers participants the opportunity to discuss topical issues with climate researchers, and with experts from the mobility and energy sectors. After having completed the course, the participants receive an official certificate from the Helmholtz Climate Initiative Regional Climate Change (REKLIM) and the WWF Germany, which are responsible for the course content. You can read more in the registration flyer here.

The course concept is based on Project Phase 2, but also features innovations that make it easier for the participants to network and take on an active role in climate protection. For example, the newly introduced ‘klimafit Challenge’ now accompanies the participants from Session 1 through Session 6. It includes climate protection-related ideas on how to practically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in connection with energy, mobility and nutrition, which the participants can (either individually or together with their family, friends and co-workers) implement by the end of the course. The fact that the entire group is actively engaged in climate protection is intended to motivate participants to rise to the ‘klimafit Challenge’ for the duration of the course, or even beyond, and gives them the chance to exchange notes with their classmates at any time. During the final session, the participants will calculate how much CO2 they’ve actually saved with the climate protection measures implemented since beginning the course.

Increasing the number of course sessions from five to six, a step introduced in Project Phase 2, was very well received, and will remain in effect in Phase 3. However, the digital sessions will now be on evenings three and five, leaving the final session (evening six) free for interactive and personal exchanges. In addition to the Live Chats with climate researchers, the digital sessions will also feature Live Chats with experts from the mobility and energy sectors. Moreover, the course concept was modified for Central Germany, since 2020 marks the first time that climate-fit (klimafit) has been offered in the region. In this regard the region-specific films, the Expert Talks prepared for climate-fit (klimafit) with the support of REKLIM researchers, have been expanded to include the key region Central Germany.

The adult-education course climate-fit (klimafit) comprises six evening sessions, and, during Project Phase 3, will be offered between February and May 2020, depending on the respective sites’ schedules. Thanks to the ‘klimafit Challenge’, participants will also have the chance to gradually expand their climate-friendly behaviour between sessions. The course will also use, the Online Tool for Germany’s community colleges.

The evening sessions are divided according to the following thematic blocks:
•    Session 1 Fundamentals of climate change and introduction to the challenges for local communities
•    Session 2 Causes of climate change and climate protection at the municipal level
•    Session 3 Expert dialogue with leading climate researchers (online)
•    Session 4 Regional impacts of climate change / What can I do to help?
•    Session 5 Expert tips on energy and mobility (online)
•    Session 6 Climate adaptation – how does it work?

Session 1: Fundamentals of climate change and introduction to the challenges for local communities

During Session 1 the instructors and participants have the chance to get to know one another. In terms of content, the scientific fundamentals of climate change are discussed and developed. In this regard, e.g. the components of the climate system, the greenhouse effect, differences between weather and climate, and the development of greenhouse gases and extreme weather events are essential elements. Later, the focus shifts to the regional and local level. The local component is covered by the municipal climate protection managers and is an important course element designed to raise participants’ awareness of climate change and its impacts ‘in their own backyard’, and to show how their own community is responding to climate change. In closing, the participants are introduced to the ‘klimafit Challenge’.

Session 2: Causes of climate change and climate protection at the municipal level

In the second session, the focus is on the causes of climate change. Why do temperatures continue to rise? Which factors are responsible? And why do we need to limit global warming to below 2°C / to 1.5°C? These are central questions answered during Session 2. Participants will learn about the main emissions sources, the various emissions sectors, and per-capita emissions, before being introduced to a number of future emissions scenarios. After receiving the input of the municipal climate protection managers, the participants will begin actively addressing the ‘klimafit Challenge’ and start implementing their new measures for the next several weeks.

Session 3: Expert dialogue with leading climate researchers  (online)

This is the first of two digital sessions, which offer participants direct contact to climate researchers. During Session 3, in a dialogue with experts from the REKLIM Initiative, the participants are free to pose any questions they may have on course-related topics like the Earth’s climate system, its climate history, or greenhouse gases. All climate-fit (klimafit) sites will offer this digital session simultaneously, allowing all participants across the nation to (digitally) get to know one another.

Session 4: Regional impacts of climate change / What can I do to help?

The fourth session addresses the regional effects of climate change and includes a targeted lecture on local impacts, given by regional experts. Yet the effects of greenhouse gases emitted here can also be seen in other regions of our planet. And in turn, changes in these regions affect us. This can be clearly seen in the changes now being observed in the Arctic, which are also discussed during Session 4. In addition, the session will give participants the chance to directly interact with local climate protection initiatives, showing them how and where they can actively pursue climate protection close to home.

Session 5: Expert tips on energy and mobility (online)

This is the second digital session, and, unlike Session 3, will be offered separately at sites in Northern and Southern Germany, in order to place more emphasis on local expertise. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with experts from the mobility and energy sectors. Potential topics include thermal insulation, thermal protection, energy provision and new mobility concepts, car sharing, bike-friendly cities, and much more.

Session 6: Climate adaptation – how does it work?

In Session 6, the spotlight is on climate adaptation; the ‘klimafit Challenge’ will be another central element. During this final session, the participants compare and contrast their experiences in connection with the ‘klimafit Challenge’ and calculate how much CO2 they have actually saved by implementing their climate protection measures. The outcomes and lessons learned are then discussed as a group. In turn, the group works on ideas for how participants can remain actively engaged after the end of the course, before receiving their certificates, which confirm their climate-fit (klimafit) status.