Sustainable lifestyles and adolescent life realities

In the project “MY LIFE – MY STYLE – MY FUTURE” pupils of two 6th forms of the Viennese schools AHS Rahlgasse and BRG Marchettigasse analysed their own lifestyles and those of other teenagers at their schools and at an african twin school (Collège du Levant in Cameroon). They explored the role of sustainable lifestyles in the public discourse and in sustainability research and they checked their own lifestyles on their aptitude for the future. On base of their own results the adolescents createed areas of practice in which they configure their lifestyles more sustainable and communicate their insights with their own means of expression to coeval pupils, to the scientific community, and via Web 2.0 media to the public.

Current socio-scientific research findings on sustainable lifestyles and target-group-specific sustainability communication were the theoretical foundations for the project. The project was mainly based on methods of social research, i.e. questionnaire development, data collection and analysis, focus groups, group discussions, mind mapping, diary writing, participant observation, literature and media research et cetera, and partly on ecological methods, i.e. ecological footprint, carbon footprint, in an interdisciplinary thematic context. Together with pupils and teachers methods were adapted and advanced to the teaching units. Thus the juvenile scientists collected empirical data and at the same time they were able to effect practical changes in their social environment.

The project provided important insights into juvenile lifestyles and the relevance of sustainability for adolescent life realities. It showed in which areas of practice teenagers are willing to take responsibility for society and environment and what new symbols, images, and media are needed in sustainability communication to address teenagers.


  • Exploring one’s own lifestyle and the lifestyles of other teenagers and the different means of expression (language, music, style-relevant products, consumption of new media, technologies et cetera) which are used by juveniles to communicate their lifestyles.
  • Generating knowledge about sustainable lifestyles, raising awareness for the relevance of sustainability for one’s own future, and linking sustainability demands with one’s own life reality.
  • Creating areas of practice in which teenagers configure their lifestyles in a more sustainable way and communicating these areas in distinct/appropriate, age-based means of expression and via new media.

This project has been completed.