In Prague, 120 young people debated how to link education and participation in times of climate crisis on March 13 - 17, 2022.
- The event was historically the first international congress of young people who actively address civic and environmental challenges and connect them with their education and steps for sustainable living, organized by Středisko ekologické výchovy SEVER Horní Maršov in cooperation with NGOs who are the biggest players in the environmental education in the Czech Republic.
- 120 young participants aged 14-26 from more than 22 countries debated and suggested to 550 experts and politicians how environmental education should prepare for the climate crisis.
- The Youth Congress was part of the World Environmental Education Congress, with environmental education experts and young people working together to address environmental and sustainability education in the 21st century.
An important accompanying event of the 11th World Congress of Environmental Education took place in Prague. The Youth Congress brought together and supported young people who are active in the fields of environment, climate protection, sustainability and public affairs. The five-day action program, which was attended by about 120 people from 22 countries, introduced each other's activities and initiatives, experienced excursions and workshops and drafted what environmental education and education should look like for sustainability. The participants of the so-called YEEC Youth Congress came from various European countries: Portugal, Spain, and France, such as Moldova, Kosovo or Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from Morocco and Turkey. The participation of the majority (100) of young people was funded also by a European Union project under the Erasmus + program.
Young people aged 14 to 26 represented a variety of programs and initiatives - such as the Roots and Shoots program (Jane Goodall Institute), Young Reporters, Eco school, World Wildlife Fund, Climate Heroes, Fridays for Future, Scouts or Young Ambassadors of the Game on Project. The range of activities to discover was wide - business in the field of ecological construction, management of ecological circles, cultivation and sale of local food, support of cycling development, professional analyzes of water quality, sustainable fashion, ecological education on social networks and. Youth participants also had an opportunity to learn and play the board game Terra Futura developed under the European Game on! The project focused on sustainability and was facilitated by the Na mysli team. There were also the most famous Czech programs, initiatives and faces of young environmentalists involved, such as participants in the Brontosaurus Movement, Scout, School for Sustainable Living, Young Ambassadors of the Game on Project, or famous influencers „Sestry v akci“ who got nominated for the Josef Vavroušek Environmental Award.
Together, they have created a message about how they perceive the role of environmental education and what key changes they are proposing. They presented this at the World Congress of Environmental Education (WEEC) and also debated it with actors in the field of environmental protection or education - such as Deirdre Hodson from the European Commission, Tamara Mitrofanenko from the UN Environment Program and many representatives from the Czech Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Education. However, they did not present the message only through traditional speeches, but also used creative and attractive forms of communication - they portrayed them in comics, theatre scenes, works of art, poems or videos.
And what have young people suggested for environmental education, for example?
- Educational curriculums and school educational programs should pay sufficient attention to environmental education, and prioritize it
- In schools, learning through real-world examples (experiential learning, practical teaching, development of strategic thinking)
- The key principles of the curriculum should be its interconnected and cross-cutting
- Young people should be involved in decisions about their education
- Environmental education should be accessible to all, it should be inclusive
You can see the complete text of the message and its presentation here.
The event was organized by the Center for Environmental Education SEVER Horní Maršov, www.sever.ekologickavychova.cz in cooperation with the Program and Organizing Committee WEEC, Na mysli, MoE CR, City of Prague, Erasmus + program, World Wide Fund for Nature, Foundation for Environmental Education, IC UN in Prague, Faculty of Education, Charles University, ICT, Brontosaurus Movement.