Ditch the car and walk, cycle or use public transport instead. Take shorter and colder showers and eat a predominantly vegetarian diet - for the sake of the climate. To counteract climate change, we need to change our habits and behaviour - in which areas of life would you be willing to do so?
Citizens in Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Sweden, and Spain had to answer this question in so-called Citizen Thinking Labs (CTLs) of our EU 1.5° Lifestyles project. They had to decide for themselves: Which behavioural changes would I be able and willing to implement in my everyday life, which not?
The CTLs, conducted in the countries mentioned above, are core elements of the project. The first round took place in autumn 2022. In each lab, 50 different options for low-carbon lifestyles were discussed with 20 to 25 citizens. For this purpose, D-mat’s climate puzzle, which was featured in the first Newsletter, was revised according to the needs of this research project and produced in the five different national languages. In all countries, citizens showed great enthusiasm to engage with the puzzle and to reflect on sustainable lifestyles. Participants shared their approval or rejection of a large set of lifestyle options.
However, the aim of the CTLs went beyond collecting data on the acceptance or rejection rate of each option. After completing the puzzle, participants discussed in small groups under which conditions certain options they had rejected in the puzzle would become acceptable to them. The research team wanted to learn more about the motivation of participants to implement individual options, as well as to gain insights into their attitudes and further determining factors, especially for those options that participants said they did not want to pursue.
In all countries, participants expressed interest in the topic and showed enthusiasm for the puzzle and the subsequent discussions. To catch a glimpse of the exercise, you can check out this article as well as this video about the Citizen Thinking Lab in Hungary and an interesting blog article by the Latvian team on how to engage citizens in a playful and fun way.
Maren Tornow and Lena Domröse, adelphi