Lydia HEILEN, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
Christiane MEYER, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
Andreas EBERTH, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the roadmap Education for Sustainable Development (ESD; UNESCO, 2020) illustrates, that it is crucial to empower and mobilise young people since they are a main driving factor for the sustainable transformation. ESD also plays a key role in the curriculum of Lower Saxony, Germany. To engage young people, change agents for sustainable development can be helpful, as they testify that a sustainable transformation is possible by showing how corresponding values and motives can be translated into concrete action (Meyer, 2018). Their stories of success can serve to overcome motivational conflicts of young people in regard to relevant behaviours related to the SDGs, and thus reducing the gap between ecological awareness and action (Matthies, 2003). However, on the perspectives of young people on the SDGs as well as the influence of change agents as role models of a societal transformation, research falls short so far (Heilen et al., 2022).
Our research project is a contribution to young people’s geographies (Heilen et al., 2021). The aim of the here presented subproject is to empirically investigate what personal significance young people do attach to the SDGs in the context of a sustainable transformation (Research Question 1). Furthermore, it is examined what meaning young people do assign to change agents in the context of geography education. Here, a focus lies on how young people perceive change agents in regard to their ability to be role models for overcoming motivational conflicts in an educational context (Research Question 2). To examine these questions, two online focus groups consisting of three to five young people aged 15 to 17 from Hannover are carried out. In between these surveys, the young people conduct an interview with a change agent of their choice.
In the presentation, first findings of the online focus groups, in particular, results regarding the second research question, will be discussed.
Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals|Education for Sustainable Development|young people’s perspectives|change agents|overcoming motivational conflicts