Education is crucial for the transition towards a sustainable society. It is the foundation for sustainable thinking and action and provides the skills required to actively and independently contribute towards this transition. The earlier children and adolescents are introduced to issues of sustainable development, the more they will naturally and critically engage with the significant political, ecological, economic, and social challenges of our times when they are older.
It is therefore important to not only provide relevant knowledge and but also to teach practical skills, which are required for sustainable innovation and development. In particular, students need to learn to differentiate between sustainable and unsustainable solutions, to balance opposing interests and to appreciate different perspectives.
Although issues of sustainable development can already be found in school curricula and are receiving greater attention from children and adolescents thanks to the Fridays For Future movement, there is still room for improvement in the area of urban transformation. Issues such as the transition towards renewable energy, sustainable urban development, and living in the cities of tomorrow, are only of minor importance in schools. The SDE21 Public Education Team invites you to engage with these important questions of the future.
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The goal of the SDE21 Public Education Team is to raise awareness among children, adolescents and young adults about issues such as the transition towards renewable energy, future living, improvement of energy performance of buildings, and sustainable urban development. In a series of workshops, district tours, videos and more, we make these topics accessible to young people in ways that are relevant to their lives and experiences.
During the main event of the SDE21 in June 2022, students will get to experience climate protection and the transition towards renewable energy first-hand – be it at a tour through one of the fully-functional buildings or at one of the many events of the competition. Our educational activities will be specifically targeted towards children and adolescents living in Mirke district or nearby so that they can directly experience how these important issues relate to their lives.
Taking the developments in the neighbourhood as an example, we will demonstrate the possible approaches and solutions for a sustainable future of our cities. To realise our projects, we are collaborating with institutions in and around Mirke district, such as the Alte Feuerwache, the Wuppertal Junior University and local schools.
As part of the SDE21, several activities which encompass issues of urban transformation in inspiring and multifaceted ways are planned:
- Children and adolescents from Mirke district will act as expert guides in our video series SDE21 Walking Tours, where they will present their neighbourhood and favourite places.
- With the help of the education app Biparcours provided by the education partner NRW (Bildungspartner NRW), we have developed a digital learning path, which will take children through the neighbourhood in a fun and engaging way.
- Until the main event of the SDE21 in 2022, there will be a series of workshops, which will provide groups of students insight into the key issues addressed by the SDE21. Taking Mirke district as an example, the workshops will cover the following topics: transition towards renewable energy, sustainable urban development, future housing, and improvement of building energy performance.
- During the main event of the SDE21 in June 2022, there will be guided tours of the Solar Campus for students, providing them a first-hand experience of science, innovation and sustainability in action.
- As part of the SDE21, the Public Education Team will also conduct active research, for instance, by creating a textbook analysis investigating the extent to which SDE21-related topics are taken into account in school curricula. In addition, surveys will be conducted with students on an ongoing basis in order to better understand the needs of children and adolescents and to adapt the workshops to these target groups. ●