RevierUPGRADE. We. Now. Sustainable

With the decision to phase out coal in 2020, it is clear that the Lusatian and Central German lignite mining region is facing a very fundamental change, a “structural transformation”. The lignite industry is still very present and influential here. But there is also increasing emigration, an ageing population and poor infrastructural connections in rural areas. At the same time, two cities, Leipzig and Halle, are growing and becoming more attractive in the central German mining region. A lot of political money is now being used to negotiate what the future of these regions should look like. Our project RevierUPGRADE. We. Now. Sustainable (proposal title: “My green-fair neighbourhood”) aims to contribute to this process, focussing on young people in particular. Together with young people and young adults (aged approx. 16-27) from the region, we want to work towards a socio-ecological future. This concerns very different topics, such as future (renewable) energy production, (solidarity) agriculture, non-profit housing, sustainable jobs or basic health care.

10/2022 – 09/2025

We ask ourselves various questions: What does “structural change” actually mean for local people? What does a future worth living in the region look like? How can this be realised in a climate-friendly way? Which issues are particularly urgent for young people? How can a sustainable relationship be established between rural areas and large cities? What opportunities for co-determination already exist? What do young people in particular need to get involved in the process of shaping the future of their region?

For three years, UfU and BUNDjugend will work hand in hand to strengthen education and participation for a socio-ecological transformation of the Lusatian and Central German coalfields. Co-determination is always also a question of justice. For us, it is important that as many people as possible have the opportunity to contribute their ideas and visions. The voices of young people in particular, but also socially excluded groups, are currently still heard far too little. To change this, we will be out and about in the region, organising workshops and excursions, offering a coaching programme and promoting networking in order to get a young, future-oriented and climate-friendly perspective for the lignite mining regions rolling in the long term together with the many local stakeholders.

Project activities

What was happening so far and is still planned

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Workshops on site

Would you like to delve deeper into certain aspects of sustainable structural change? Then you’ve come to the right place in our 3-4 hour, free on-site workshops. (so far only available in German)

11.09.2023: Nature and environmental protection in Cottbus: “Lusatia is on fire” (Cottbus)

17.09.2023: DIY walking gear construction & talk on land justice (Halle)

30.09.2023: More than coal: structural change in Brandenburg (Potsdam)

05.10.2023: lOst in transformation? Halle in structural change (Halle)

11.10.2023: Who owns the city? Democracy education, opportunities for action and climate justice (Cottbus)

30.10.2023: Water scarcity & right-wing populism (Leipzig)

28.11.2023: Making city life yourself Get involved, shape Halle! (Halle)

04.01.2024: Brown coal & water justice (Leipzig)11.03.2024: “New rights” and environmental protection (Halle)

11.03.2024: “New right wing” and environmental protection (Halle)

New dates will be added continuously!

Future Labs

Would you like to get more involved yourself in the future and are looking for a specific topic and good examples of how change can be initiated? Then join us on a journey to people who don’t complain, but do, and to places where transformation can be experienced. In our Future Labs, we have two days to look at individual topics in more detail and get to know different ways of getting involved, whether on a voluntary or professional basis. The events are free of charge for you and we can also reimburse travel expenses. (So far only available in German)

03.-04.11.2023: Water justice and sealing (Leipzig)

02-03 February 2024: Work, happiness and lifetime (Halle)

12-13 April 2024: The Cottbus Baltic Sea between utopia and reality (Cottbus)

New dates will be added continuously!

Mobile offers with the cargo bike

We want to hear what concerns you locally and how you envisage sustainable structural change! That’s why we get on our cargo bikes and come to you. With our mobile offers, we create an opportunity for getting to know each other, for discussions and joint activities. In 2023, we have already been to over 20 locations, talked to you about phasing out coal and climate justice, spun the “climate justice wheel of fortune”, built several rainbanks, made seed bombs, gave suggestions on how you can get involved in the mobility concept in Halle, collected local nature conservation ideas and much more. We’ll be pedalling again in 2024 and look forward to meeting you in Halle, Leipzig, Cottbus and the surrounding area! We will keep you up to date on the dates.

Coaching programme

Are you already involved or want to get more involved in the future, but sometimes lack the “tools” to do so? In this empowerment series, we will teach you various skills and methods on how you can campaign for sustainable structural change and a fairer world: From argumentation strategies to action art and public relations – and all completely free of charge (face-to-face + online)! We will cover the costs, including travel for two face-to-face events at the beginning and end of the programme. There are two rounds of the programme in total. The first runs from October 2023 to March 2024, the second from autumn 2024. Further information:

The kick-off

On 24 March 2023, our dialogue forum “RevierUPGRADE: We. Now. Sustainable. – Socio-ecological structural change shaped by young people” took place in Leipzig:

The event brought together around 60 stakeholders and multipliers from the Central German and Lusatian mining districts who are already working with young people to promote social and ecological aspects of structural change processes and sustainable urban and regional development. Stefan Rostock from Germanwatch began by presenting the concept of the “handprint”, which shows how everyone can increase the handprint of their social and political commitment and thus contribute to a socio-ecological transformation. The subsequent round of talks with representatives of the Brandenburg Youth Forum for Sustainability (JuFoNa) and the city of Cottbus showed, among other things, that it takes patience and tolerance for frustration to work on the ground. However, success can then be achieved step by step. JuFoNa has already successfully intervened in many state policy processes, including the Brandenburg Climate Plan, the Climate Adaptation Strategy and the Nutrition Strategy, it has organised various events and been involved in committees such as the Sustainability Advisory Council, it has been on a major networking cycle tour and has organised a youth sustainability festival.