The ESA project aims at developing effective methods to educate and motivate children and young people to think and act in a sustainable way. By educating them as sustainability ambassadors it is possible to reach out to their families and involve the local community in general in achieving the EU Climate Targets 20-20-20.
The project set up 3 levels of ambassadors:
The main question focuses on ways to encourage children to develop a sustainable behaviour. The process takes time and makes the teachers' involvement and personal interest a key player. It is mainly solved by empowering teachers to use new tools and knowledge. This is made available for teachers who are encouraged to set up activities by their own choice in the classes.
Some of the activities were such a great success that they will be carried out again after the closure of ESA. Activities like “Future Energy Challenge” – in which students work with innovative solutions for future energy supply; “Cool School” – for which young students set up a competition for ideas for a sustainable behaviour; and the “Green Fingerprint” in kindergartens and schools for which the ambassadors make a wish for a sustainable future. The sculpture of the 1000 fingerprints is featured in 2013 in the city of Sonderborg and will be extended to include other target groups.
In Gorenjska in Slovenia many schools carried out projects related to saving water and electricity, waste treatment and heating. The Technical School Kranj organised educational courses for mentors and students on different aspects of sustainability.
The Agency of Energy and Sustainable Development AESS in Modena, Italy, made a competition between school classes on reduction of electricity consumption in students' homes. Also they set up smartmeter devices in pilot schools. AESS continues class activities on sustainable energy in 2013.
The Asturian Foundation for Energy taught school children different games on energy and on the consequences in the future of not saving energy. Also the children set up small models to produce energy themselves.
A very important lesson learned is that local communities and schools, carrying out efforts and making aware of the challenges repeatedly, are the ones that manage to motivate students and families for sustainability. The efforts made in schools have had an effect, not only on students’ knowledge but also on their attitudes, motivation and initiative. Still, the challenge remains to reach out to 3rd level ambassadors – parents and families. The students should be provided with more tools to involve their families in sustainable activities.
House of Science/ Municipality of Sonderborg Rasmus Andreassen, email@example.com, tel. +45 7488 9529.
Agency for Energy and Sustainable development, Gianluca Avella, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +39 059 3161939
Technical School Kranj, Natasa Kristan, email@example.com, tel. +358 51 628 886
FAEN Asturian Foundation for Energy, Maria Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +34 9854 67180