Satellitenbilder im Klassenzimmer
Liveschaltung auf dem Pausenhof

Mainstreaming climate change – Satellite images in the classroom

“Climate expedition”, a project conceived by the German environmental and development organisation, Germanwatch, brings day-by-day views of the earth captured from space into the classroom. The Munich Re Foundation is supporting this educational initiative, which is designed to make young people more aware of climate change.

Germanwatch embarked on its climate expedition in August 2004. Using modern technology and satellite imagery, environmental educationalists explain the way climate works, the changes it has undergone in recent decades and the impact it has, particularly on developing countries. The project is especially useful for highlighting key aspects of sustainable development.

Holger Voigt, one of the environmental educationalists, explained, “We want to motivate pupils to think about the environment and actually do something. Instead of standing at the front and lecturing, we want to stimulate their interest using satellite images and hi-tech”. Mr. Voigt, a biologist by training, knows from experience that the cutting-edge appeal of live images makes them very popular with pupils and teachers.

A project day normally comprises three double teaching periods during which pupils can look down on the eye of a hurricane from an altitude of 36,000 km, see the recent effects of floods in Ethiopia or take a look at the gradually receding Lake Chad.

They can also find out about the Kyoto Protocol’s climate policy proposals and what they themselves can do to protect the climate, for instance by consuming less energy. Germanwatch also provides materials which teachers can use to explore the issues covered by the project in greater depth.

The teaching module was originally introduced in North Rhine-Westphalia but increasingly schools in other German states have asked to be included. The Munich Re Foundation is sponsoring the project so that Germanwatch can meet this growing demand. Climate change tends to unleash forces of nature such as hurricanes, droughts and floods, which increase the sea level and threaten many lives. The climate expedition concept of raising awareness of the risks is very much in keeping with our motto – “From Knowledge to Action”. The foundation’s principle target group for the project is young people. A wealth of information has been published on the subject of climate change but it is felt that the virtually real-time images from space will hold a special attraction for the young.

The United Nations have acknowledged the importance of this initiative by granting the project official status under its World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Spanning the years 2005–2014, the World Decade was launched to promote social, economically viable and ecologically sustainable development.


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> Flyer zur Klimaexpedition


Participating schools

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> Thomas Loster