Schools at University for Climate and Energy

  • Finished
  • Started: Sep 2008
  • Ended: Sep 2011


Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Raphael Bointner
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Lukas Kranzl

Project description

Shaping a sustainable future with a safe and secure energy

supply is one of the most pressing policy challenges confronting

us, in the face of the combined impact of climate

change, peak oil, and safety issues – illustrated by the catastrophic

accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The transition to a sustainable energy system will need

support from local communities as well as national and

global policymakers, so calls for both political and

social change. We must adapt energy policy to encourage

the use of renewable energy sources and increase

energy efficiency. More generally speaking, we need to

develop policy that fosters changes towards a carbon

neutral economy.

Socially, we need to convince people to join in this transition

effort – as individuals and family members, as

consumers, as citizens, as professionals, as managers

or as policy makers. To do this, we must help people of

all ages to develop an understanding of energy issues

and to engage in sustainable behavioural solutions.

This requires practical examples and, particularly for

young people, role models to learn from and emulate,

now and in the future.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a key

means of attaining this goal, as recognized in UNESCO’s

Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

(2005–14). Education can help raise awareness about

energy and climate issues and support the development

of skills and behaviours based on sustainable values.

The SAUCE – Schools at University for Climate and

Energy – programme, in the spirit of ESD, introduces

children to the problems, but focuses primarily on

solutions, and children’s role in them.

The programme also introduces teachers to innovative ways of

integrating climate and energy topics into the curriculum, and

the school, after participating in the SAUCE programme. Finally,

SAUCE serves to identify and develop networks of local climate

and energy educators who help deliver the programme, and who

can serve as a resource for schools between programmes.

Researchers from seven European universities show, here, how

they can assist in this vital task. The researchers, whose professional

background is in energy policy analysis and economics,

previously addressed mainly policy makers and university social

science students, not children. But with SAUCE, they have

developed an innovative format with a wide range of sometimes

unorthodox approaches to make the abstract themes of climate

change and energy tangible and accessible to schoolchildren.

They have invited schools to the universities, and introduced the

pupils to the academy as a place for critical reflection, learning and

research. The format of the programme shows how the full range

of disciplines, from the arts to the natural sciences, contributes


awareness and understanding of energy and climate issues. Combining

these approaches allows a variety of experiential approaches

to learning and teaching, kinaesthetic, visual and aural, geared to

find a way of sparking the children’s interest and providing fertile

ground for their engagement in a sustainable future.


Last updated: 09 Jul 2009