Sustainability only works if it takes account of people's needs. This was the aim of RIO+20, in which high-school students worked together with ITA experts to express their visions of the future.
This involved re-enacting the democratic process, adopting decisions on a scientific basis and presenting the results to a make-believe parliament. For their work at the ITA the group got a special award at the closing event of the initiative at the Radiokulturhaus.
For long-term planning, it is vital that we identify the public's hopes and ideas about the future, as well as any possible conflicts of interest, in good time. In a democratic society, these ideas can be taken up by science and turned into research topics for technology and political guidelines for sustainable development. Rio+20 was an attempt to determine what young people want.
The project included a one-month practical training at the ITA, which was a part of the research activities for the further development of the CIVISTI Foresight method - a participation method which the ITA helped to develop. This experiment in learning tested a new type of communication and cooperation between young citizens and researchers.
The result of the internship is "CIVIISION NEWS July 2020", a visionary newsletter from the future, and a number of works of art made by the students to visualise their ideas. The works were presented to the public at an exhibition at the ITA on 30 and 31 July 2012.
The project was created as part of the "Rio+20 Initiative – scientists and young people take stock" funded by the Ministry of Science and Research. It was conducted in close cooperation with the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD). A book on the project was presented in December 2012. For their "Newsletter from the Future" the CIVIISION-team was awarded the "Creativity Prize".
Book: Hubert Dürrstein (ed.): “Forschung für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Wissenschaft ler/innen und Jugendliche ziehen Bilanz.” Eine Initiative des BMWF anlässlich des Jubiläumsjahres Rio+20. Studienverlag. Innsbruck, Bolzano, Vienna. ISBN 978-3-7065-5257-8