Public Awareness - Shaping Knowledge

Jugend forscht Berlin - Produced by students of the Dekra Hochschule Berlin - Interview: Professor Seliger.



People encounter the word "sustainability" in diverse contexts and with various different meanings. Together with the growing indistinctness of this term, also the awareness of the concrete challenges of sustainability in our areas of living begins to blur. Although the topic is firmly anchored in their curricula, even German pupils hardly know how to cope with the term. This is particularly true for elementary economic and technological questions of sustainability, as first studies from the cross-sectional project "Public Awareness" have shown.

Fig. 1: target group oriented communication of CRC 1026/Public Awareness


The conclusion: In contrast to the blurry rhetoric of sustainability, the down to earth matters of the approach do not reach people sufficiently – despite the fact that the success of a global sustainable development depends on the participation of the majority.


The scientists of the public awareness project examine people's teaching and learning behaviour regarding sustainability issues. With the results, target group specific teaching material on sustainable manufacturing will be developed and evaluated by the team. The material will be made available free of charge on a teaching and learning platform, once they have reached maturity.


A particular focus has been set by the scientists on the method of "learning by disassembly" to convey the multiple interrelations between technology, resource consumption and manufacturing in global value creation networks. For example, taking apart a mobile phone in combination with games for the identification of raw materials can help pupils understand, how much and many resources are needed for modern everyday products – and thus opens up their view for the challenges of sustainable manufacturing. First test runs have shown the great fascination that lies within the subject for young people. It is this special interest of the youth to shape the futurethat the project wants to encourage and make use of.


M.A. Ina Roeder

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Stark