The climate change is a major threat to the planet and to all people living in it. Children and youth are the ones who will mostly suffer the consequences and this is why making them aware and empowering them to act is considered essential and is prioritized by the policies of the European Union.
In the framework of the “2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture” (as Mystery 149), the three-day “Pupils’ Conference on the Transition to a Climate Neutral Future” took place with the participation of students (aged 10-15 years old) from Athens, Thessaloniki, Berlin, Srebrenica in Bosnia, Pristina in Kosovo, Bitola in North Macedonia, Petrovaradin in Serbia and Bals in Albania.
After their preparation during the previous year, the students met in Elefsina for three days, on 9, 10 and 11 May, in order to interact in person, present their work, walk together in thematic routes get to know the city, consult in round tables, propose solutions for the transition of Elefsina towards climate neutrality, express themselves through art and render their visions more tangible forms so that they can be shared with everyone. The conference ended with a student march and the delivery of the results of the student groups’ consultation to the Municipal Authority.
MEdIES was there to coordinate a workshop on a Beach Clean up and Marine Litter. Due to the rain on the set day the clean-up was canceled. Instead, the students decodified the results of a mini-clean up of two people, that in just five minutes collected 178 items! Based on their findings, they draw their messages on placards and joined the march.
The Conference was co-organized by the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Saving (CRES), the Directorates of Primary Education of West Attica, A’ and C’ Athens, and Secondary Education of Eastern Thessaloniki, through the Environmental Education Officers, in cooperation with the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU) from Germany.
Most of the action is directly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, with resources from the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), with complementary resources from the “2023 Eleusis, European Cultural Capital of Europe”.
The experience of the Conference can be a left as a legacy for local communities that wish to repeat it. Elefsina, as European Capital of Culture, constitutes the ideal setting for the educational application of this method.