KlimaReise: Going on a great climate journey on a small budget

In 2015, even before the school holidays began, pupils in the first three NRW municipalities started out on a KlimaReise (climate journey) – in companies that emphasise a climate-friendly approach. The aim is to raise awareness of the diversity of local climate protection activities and make them easily accessible. The trick is to ensure that the project involves hardly any additional costs for the municipalities. 2016 already sees the participation of six municipalities.

The KlimaReise is a real community project. It was kicked off with a workshop organised by the Kommunal Agentur NRW (NRW municipal agency) with representatives from five municipalities.

Engine for progress:

  • raises awareness among pupils
  • opportunity for climate-friendly companies to present themselves
  • almost no costs
  • transferability to other municipalities

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Photo: City of Mönchengladbach

The participating pupils develop their own high-profile campaign to start the KlimaReise – simultaneously yet independently in all of the participating towns and cities.

As part of a joint development process under the leadership of Anna Guth (then of the city of Bonn), ideas were developed for how municipal climate protection officers could bring climate protection into the city and raise awareness for it among the people, even without a budget and additional HR costs. The concept was developed further in additional workshops, and in 2015 it was implemented for the first time in three cities and towns: Mönchengladbach, Bonn and Rheinberg

Joint travel planning with individual emphases

Local project partners are developing individual travel routes with a regional flavour – these include bicycle tours and carbon-offset bus tours. The final destination for the pupils is always a company that can demonstrate its climate protection endeavours in various types of profession. In each town and city, the start is also marked with a flash mob, devised by the students themselves. The information materials and communication are also developed and designed jointly, so that the participating municipalities speak with a single voice.

Success with climate protection prospects

The first three KlimaReise trips have already been a success. The material costs for each municipality were less than 50 euro. In only one instance was the climate protection officer required to put in an additional half a day’s work. The participating municipalities, pupils, teachers and companies were inspired by the alternative educational programme, which raises awareness for local climate protection topics, enhances the profile of the communities, activates multiplicators and gives climate-friendly companies the opportunity to promote themselves.

A set of guidelines and a 10-point plan for creating other KlimaReise have also been developed, which will now provide other municipalities with an organisational aid and serve as a positive role model. The high-profile KlimaReise is to become a key component of climate protection work in as many municipalities as possible. In 2016, the number of participating municipalities doubled, with Mönchengladbach, Rheinberg, Langenfeld, Hamminkeln, Oberhausen and Verl having now joined. This is clear evidence of the quality of the concept and its transferability.

“Pooling common forces and tackling climate protection on a local level was my motivation for getting colleagues in North Rhine-Westphalia around a table and developing the KlimaReise.”

Anna Guth, former Climate Protection Officer for Bonn

“The KlimaReise encourages young people to familiarise themselves with practical local climate protection and directs them towards relevant careers. The fact that it feels like a day out creates a great atmosphere among all those involved.”

Nicole Weber F. Santos, Rheinberg Town Council

“Developing and conducting the KlimaReise has shown that not only is tackling climate protection together by pooling various competences and preconditions a success, it can also be fun.”

Antti Olbrisch, Mönchengladbach Town Council

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadt Mönchengladbach
  • Stadt Rheinberg
  • Stadt Bonn
  • Stadt Hamminkeln
  • Stadt Langenfeld
  • Stadt Oberhausen
  • Stadt Verl
Counselling centers:
  • Kommunal Agentur NRW, Düsseldorf