Pilot study in Emmendingen

The ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’) project was preceded by a pilot study conducted at the communi-ty college in Emmendingen in the winter semester 2016/2017. 20 students attended the course, which addressed the following topics in five respective evening sessions:
•    Fundamentals of climate change
•    Causes of climate change and essentials of climate projections
•    Climate impacts, tipping points and climate protection goals
•    Climate protection and climate adaptation
•    Municipal climate protection / participating in climate protection  

The course pursued an integrated learning (blended learning) approach, combining an online course (MOOC – Massive Open Online Course) and classroom teaching, as well as interactions with the participants. The course was planned and conducted by the project members with the support of the City of Emmendingen’s climate protection manager, and was made possible by financial support from the WWF.
The goal of the pilot study was to determine whether a course intended to promote partici-pation in municipal climate protection and municipal climate adaptation would be accepted by the desired target group (e.g. decision-makers, victims of climate change, activists and interested citizens) and would motivate them to actively engage with the subject. According-ly, the pilot study provided an essential basis for planning the three subsequent project phases of ‘climate-fit’ (‘klimafit’). It helped to optimise the focus of the content, to adapt the approaches used, and to integrate lessons learned so as to more effectively accomplish the project’s goals; moreover, the outcomes of the study provided important stimuli for refining the project’s core concept.
The pilot study was very well received by the participants, who consistently gave positive feedback on the integrated learning approach used. The amount and level of information provided were also praised. Thanks to the option of working on course topics between the evening sessions using the freely accessible MOOC videos, the participants had the chance to more intensively engage with and follow up on course content. Both the moderator and external speakers received high marks from the participants, whose outstanding motivation could be seen in the fact that, during the course, they inquired about how they could con-tinue working on the content and related climate protection activities after the course end-ed.
Acting on a suggestion from the climate protection manager, following the end of the course ten students formed an unofficial ‘climate-fit club’, so that they could meet regularly and discuss related issues in a pub, plan activities and continue to promote local climate protection. For example, in the context of the WWF’s Earth Hour 2017 campaign, the club proposed that the lights at the Lower Emmendingen Gate, the city’s most prominent landmark, be temporarily dowsed. During Earth Hour, people around the globe kept their lights turned off for an hour, showing their support for climate protection efforts.