EYF WP- Follow Up Actions

Below is a list of projects which were organized by the participants of three Re:Actions, regional workshops in Kosovo, Poland and Germany on the topic of environmental injustice, community resilience and solutions to climate crisis. Every participant of the event had the opportunity to implement their own project related to climate justice and sustainable living in their communities. In the end 16 projects were implemented in 11 European countries, all facilitated by grassroots activists.

PicMonkey Collage 

Climate March (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

A poster design workshop, study visits to Chernobyl Historical Center and Vostok alternative energy showroom park, a well attended press conference and a screening of “Chasing Ice” documentary were just an interlude to the Climate March in Kharkiv, which took place in on the Global Day of Climate Action (November 29th, 2015). The event got a very good media coverage and raised a lot of interest, despite rainy weather.

Trees for a better climate

(Delvina, Albania)

In late autumn a very diverse group of young and adult volunteers participated in a workshop at the Cultural Centre of Delvina and later on went outside to get their hands dirty. “We built a bridge of communication between two important groups in Delvina: youth (representing energy, new ideas) and local government (holding resources & decision-making power)”, says Silva Huda, organizer of the project. Both local students and local authorities (including the mayor of Delvina!) joined the voluntary action of planting 25 trees that will contribute to capturing tons of CO2. “But I would be better in explaining the intrinsic value of planting and protecting trees rather than talking about ecosystem services”, adds Silva. The event got a good media coverage in the local TV and raised a lot of interest amongst passers-by. Thanks to this activity students got the spark of voluntarism (PVN Albania was not present in the region before) and local municipality representatives got excited about possible future projects related to environment and climate protection.

Nuk Dua Qese - I don’t want a plastic bag

(Tirana, Albania)

Activists of PVN Albania focused on educating the people of Tirana about the harmful environmental impacts of using plastic bags, excessively. The aim of the campaign was to encourage the public to think twice about their needless consumption of plastic bags and to introduce the facts about plastic’s life-cycle. The campaign included educational posters and leaflets, which were distributed throughout the city, an engaging street action and a creative street art project.

Ingrained Cinema (Katowice, Poland)

“Ingrained Cinema” was a series of five film screenings followed by discussions. These were quality, recommended documentaries, some available online for free (like “In Transition 2.0” or “Disruption”) and others rented online just for the screenings. The meetings gathered, students, activists, artists, people enthusiastic about natural building and complete strangers. “I managed to build a routine and a group of people, who came to every screening, became passionate about the subjects and are now planning to do something together - we want to start a community garden or a permaculture project in the spring”, says Emilia Makówka, the project organizer. As a result, the group of most faithful viewers started organizing other events, like a swap party.

Emilia continues: “From what I heard from people, they really appreciated the possibility to meet and discuss with like-minded people who are active and care about having a positive impact”. The movies focused on practical, local solutions to the overwhelming challenges related to climate change – such as permaculture, Transition Towns initiatives, bike-based transportation models, social entrepreneurship, food co-ops, time banks, exchange networks and so on. 

Release good energy for climate

(Warsaw, Poland)

A coalition of Polish NGO's and informal groups prepared a joyful happening, that took place on the Global Day of Climate Action (November 29th, 2015). The idea was simple, as explained by Adam Markuszewski, one of the organizers: "Our goal was to symbolically release good energy and show politicians that Poles love renewables". In order to do so, people who gathered after dawn in one of the main squares in Warsaw used their phones and flashlights to create a light painting of a sun. The message was sent to people who gathered in Paris for the climate summit COP21 just couple days later. Photos from the event went viral and were presented in all major Polish media, as well as on the main page of organizations like 350.org and Avaaz.org. The happening was very positive and brought people lots of fun. Even if it lasted just for 15 minutes due to cold weather, the results will live much longer. After the photoshoot everyone was invited to an afterparty with vegan food (prepared by a social coop set up by a group of refugee women), climate photo booth and a screening of “In Transition 2.0” documentary.

Educative program 'Global citizens for social justice, solidarity and climate' (Pozna?, Poland)

OWA Poland used this opportunity to introduce the climate justice and sustainable living dimension into various educational events that they organize. The microgrant provided an incentive to take these topics into considerations. And this way the evaluation meeting for workcamp coordinators gained a workshop on how to organize a sustainable workcamp, local educators learned how to talk about climate justice in their workshops. They key approach was to see how this topic is interconnected with all that the groups were already doing.

Workshop on Local Resilience and Global Development

(Suderbyn Ecovillage, Sweden)

Suderbyn in an ecovillage in Sweden, which hosts workcamps and long-term volunteers every year. Alisa, one of the villagers, organized a day long workshop for local university students interested in the topics of sustainability and development. They were up for a day full of information, inspiration and learning by doing. Each activity, from ice breakers, through working in the farm, to organic dinner, had its own focus, but in the end everything came into one big picture: we need to take sustainability into account of all our actions, because what we do on a local level has its implications on the global scale. Theoretical discussions about global development, migration and refugees, a game on worldwide distribution of wealth and poverty, were all combined with practical workshops about taking local actions. The topic of the alternative lifestyle based on ecological, organic and fair sources was followed in all aspects: from lunch and homemade baked good to the venue of the meeting.

"One productive day can deepen the understanding of our roles in the global change, as well as they make people aware of the variety of approaches that can be applied to to make that change happen", says Alisa Sidorenko, the workshop organizer. 

Change politics, not the climate (Rome, Italy)

SCI Italy invited citizens of Rome, NGOs and groups active in the field of environment protection, fighting pollution and protecting common goods to meet and talk together. During two seminars this diverse group discussed challenges related to environmental conflicts in Italy, as well as the inner working of the climate negotiation process of COP21. The goal of the seminars was to establish a coalition, which can work on local level towards environment and climate protection. SCI Italy met partners for future workcamps and seminars.

Rethink the Eco! (Berzano di Tortona, Italy)

SCI Italia since its beginning had high consideration for environment and, generally speaking, an eco-friendly approach to its activities. In 2015 they noticed that the association needed new methodologies and expertise because of the changing  environment and society. Staff, board members and activists of SCI Italy took part in a meeting, during which they talked about ways of making their activities, like workcamps, seminars and trainings more sustainable. Through the initiative, participants were able review practices and knowledge regarding the environment, waste, recycling and community-based management of the resources. The meeting was hosted by „Comunità di Famiglie“ association (an eco-community that promotes an ecologic approach to the environment, the reduction of waste, its reutilization, produces organic wine and crops) in parallel with SCI Italy’s General Assembly.

Nutrition and Climate Change (Marktheidenfeld, Germany)

A group of elementary school students took part in a workshop about climate change impacts and our role in preventing them. The main point of focus was how our diet impacts the climate and kids had a lot of hands on experience. After a series of educational games they also prepared a climate-friendly buffet. They learned what vegan, organic, local and seasonal foods are and what they have in common with climate protection (compared to e.g. beef). Organizers of the activity are very happy with the outcomes and hope to find more activists, who could organize more workshops in cooperation with them.

Climate Camp (Bajgora, Kosovo)

The camp took place in Bajgora, a mountain village which was destroyed by the Serbian paramilitary forces during the war in 1999. Since then it is rather forgotten, but still beautiful and actually very safe. One of the participants was from Serbia, which had a strong, symbolic meaning for the event. Participants learned and discussed about climate change and its impacts on human rights and food production. The outcome was a photo exhibition around these topics, which was presented in the Green Fest in a nearby city of Mitrovica. Kosovo deals with many serious, environmental challenges at once - pollution from coal power plants, poor waste management, polluted rivers… It is really hard to deal with. The climate camp provided space for young people to plan activities to tackle these issues and this way gave them hope that they can be solved.

Seed Cleaner (Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Ireland)

Since February I live in Cloughjordan ecovillage (Ireland), doing my EVS (European Voluntary Service). Cloughjordan is a small town in the middle of Ireland in the rural region of Tipperary.  I work on the Cloughjordan community farm, where we grow a wide range of vegetables for our community. Here I learn about biodynamic farming methods, sustainable food production and community life. The community here is really strong; people know each other and do lot things together. In august I went to Berlin for SCI workshop «Refresh the Climate & Rewrite the Future» to exchange ideas and experiences about sustainable lifestyle, climate change solutions, local food system. I came back to Ireland full of ideas and inspiration ready to do something good for our farm, community and ecovillage.

The idea of making seed cleaning machine came from Kevin-our farmer who always knows what we need for the farm. Seed saving is one of the most important parts of our work, we can save the best seeds and they will do the best for us. Own seeds are adaptable for our soil, very resilient against disease and climate change, and they could cope with all sorts of change. So Kevin gave me instruction how to make one (http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedcleaner.html). I asked Conor –our local carpenter to make seed cleaning machine and also asked price for his work. After one week Conor came with his price-60 kg of apples. I said ok, this is just ten times more interesting and I started looking for apples. Some local people said that I can take apples from our ecovillage’s orchard but only those that lie on the ground.  I’ve spent three weeks walking with my wheelbarrow through Ireland’s natural heritage that includes 78 native varieties of Irish apple trees, collecting the best apples from the ground. Finally I did more than 70 kilos of apples. Now our seed cleaning machine is ready and it works very well.

And what about apples?!  Conor and his wife Johanna started a new business recently - making apple juice. They do everything themselves; pressing, storing, bottling, deliveries. They use local Irish apples to make very sweet and rich flavor apple juice. This is just small example of our sustainable and resilient community, great people and friendship. 

Sustainable Resource Management Weekend (Germany)

Main goal was to communicate the information about the global sustainability challenges in a non-formal way to students from various semester of Sustainable Resource Management, as in their daily practice they approach this issue merely in the formal student curriculum. 

'Climate Justice Weekend in Serbia’ (Fruska Gora, Serbia)
The goal of the Climate Justice weekend was to raise awareness and give higher
understanding over the topic of Climate change firstly among VCV staff and activists, but also
new volunteers and local partners. We had lectures from various experts: climate
scientist/meteorologist, one journalist and permaculture expert. As outcome a working
group was established and an urban gardening project in Novi Sad initiated. 

A with coffee (Slovenia)
The workshop gathered a group of 15 people composed mostly of young international and local volunteers. The objective was to demonstrate the participants that for the majority of food that we consume every day, we are not aware of its origin, ways of production and how the production is influencing people and environment. In addition, the participants were stimulated to activate themselves towards further exploration of the origins of coffee, production and transformation methods with an aim of stimulating use of environment and producers-friendly products.

Unfair cotton industry or how to make it fair (Slovenia)
The idea tackled on the workshop was to make participating youngsters think about their habits when buying clothes, the global impact and giving them an idea, how these habits can change. They focused on cotton, as it is the world’s oldest commercial crop and one of the most important fiber crops in the global textile industry.

The volunteers were invited to continue their initiatives on cotton, sustainability, fair trade and need for bigger climate justice in frame of Club of volunteers of Zavod Voluntariat and carried out further workshops in their home communities.

 

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