Learning just transition through
solidary modes of living and production

KAUZ – laboratory for climate, work and future

In a three-year educational project consisting of a series of workshops, podcasts, videos and micro-learnings in social media, KAUZ explores why we live and work at the expense of others and how we can achieve a Good Life for All.

The initiative KAUZ – Laboratory for Climate, Work and Future was developed by the authors of the brochure             “Von A wie Arbeit bis Z wie Zukunft. Arbeiten und Wirtschaften in der Klimakrise”. After the publication of the brochure, the desire arose to continue working together in the field of education. In the meantime, they are no longer alone: KAUZ has four partner organisations in Germany, Italy and Croatia and is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union in a three-year project (September 2020 – August 2023). In Austria, the initiative has found its home in the collective Periscope, but still lives on from the largely voluntary commitment of its members.

What is KAUZ about?

The ecological limits of our planet make major changes in our European way of life inevitable. In their well-founded scientific paper “The Imperial Mode of Living”, university professors Ulrich Brand and Markus Wissen have shown how our way of life leads to global, unsustainable development and causes a rapid climate crisis. As the most recent example, the corona virus not only has its roots in the man-made reduction of the habitat of wild animals, but also shows the gaps and pitfalls of our current economic system. Covid-19 shows us once again that our current life and economic model must now be changed – with democracy, environmental protection and social justice at its core.

Our sustainable and democratic future can only unfold through the active involvement of the people. However, phenomena of the current imperial way of life such as pressure to perform, stress and over-consumption often distract us from focusing on solutions and can lead to nationalism, extremism and ongoing environmental degradation. That is why we are committed to an informed public, making decisions based on facts and welcoming the bold political, social and individual changes needed for a just and sustainable future.

Our vision

Our goal is enlightened and informed people who actively support the just transition, get involved in political processes and build a future worth living together.

Our target group are on the one hand teachers in adult education, especially those working in the field of sustainability. On the other hand, and as the main beneficiary, we are aimed at people of working age between 18 and 65 who are open to the study of alternative, solidarity-based ways of living and producing. We have chosen this group because we have a thematic focus on work and production.

The above-mentioned challenges can only be tackled transnationally, which is why the project is located in Austria (Periscope Association), Germany (Common Future Association and University of Siegen), Croatia (Dante Association) and Italy (University of Bolzano). Working in these four countries in close proximity makes it easier to travel to the necessary project meetings on site rather than by plane. Nevertheless, we would like to go even further and reach other countries.

The project will produce and disseminate reusable learning material for blended learning with workshops, a podcast series, video clips and microlearnings. Multipliers will be trained to use these materials so that they are used and developed in a sustainable way. All content will be easy to listen to and easy to understand, to include adults without formal higher education.

The quality of these educational materials is ensured by two training sessions for team members of the participating organisations. These train the holding of workshops, framing and moderation. In a second training, the focus is on peer learning through the exchange of experiences that the participants have made during the workshops. We will also discuss how our activities can continue successfully beyond the project duration.

The long-term benefit of the project is the promotion of active civil society through interactive methods and the creation of sustainable networks. KAUZ encourages learners to actively shape a just transition aimed at transforming our societies towards ecological and sustainable development.

Project activities

Four workshop concepts will be developed and offered in cooperation with various civil society organisations. These are intended to introduce the participants to the concepts of imperial and solidarity-based lifestyles, discuss global value chains, make just transitions, which leave neither people nor the environment behind, an issue and address the field of care work. By bringing people together in workshops we want to develop alternatives and stimulate civil society involvement.

With our podcast series, we want to reach people who have only limited time in their daily lives to participate in such events. On the one hand, the podcasts will interview people who already live solidary alternatives in their everyday life and yet remain people like you and me. On the other hand there will be episodes in which experts* discuss topics such as sustainable development, possibilities of ecological and fair production and consumption etc.

The video clips consist of whiteboard animation clips that explain important concepts and contexts, and offer thought-provoking conversations, discussions and interviews with leading experts. The videos will be included in our workshop series as discussion content and at the same time be reusable as independent learning content for multipliers and adult educators.

Micro-learnings consist of a series of concise social media content such as short comic strips, pictures and memes that can be consumed within a minute and create aha-moments. The aim is to spread them further and reach a wide audience. Humour is an important approach. Even though each microlearning has its own theme, there should be a common thread running through it. Microlearnings are also designed to provide feedback and moderated discussions in the commentary area, so that users can share their experiences with each other and new knowledge can be generated in debates.