Mc Kioto

Biocultural diversity, climate relevance and health impacts of younng people´s eating habits

In the McKioto project students from two year 8 classes in Viennese schools (age range 13-15), under the guidance of academics, investigated their nutritional behaviour and that of other young people in their schools.
They identified places and times of consumption, the biological diversity of raw materials, the type and number of meals and drinks as well as the cultural context influencing nutritional behaviour. The students calculated the “climate impact” of their nutritional behaviour, assessed the effects of their nutritional behaviour on their health and developed alternatives for action for those areas of eating behaviour that had been identified as unsustainable or unhealthy. The results were communicated by the students to their peers using appropriate methods (e.g. videos, Web 2.0).

The project used empirical social research methods (e.g. diaries, questionnaires, and focus groups), methods for collecting dietary information (photo documentation) as well as social ecological methods in the area of sustainable science (e.g. product carbon footprint). The methods were adapted to what is being taught in close cooperation with students and teachers. The students not only collected empirical data, but also analysed and interpreted it. They also linked the results with their own reality as well as debates in society about sustainability. The involvement of young people in the research process not only provided new insight into the relevance of students’ eating behaviour on climate and health, but also allowed the students to make a better connection with the methods and results of scientific research. Apart from the research results being presented at scientific conferences and in scientific journals, the young people communicated them in their social environment by means of participatory videos.

Prospective teachers (students from the University of Teacher Education) were also involved in the research process to give them the opportunity to acquire direct research experience early on in their training and to become familiar with the work undertaken in research-education cooperation arrangements as an opportunity for innovative forms of learning.

This project has been completed.