The Summer School “Climate Change vs. Climate Action” took place in Minsk, Belarus, on June 22-24, 2021. A month prior to the event the members of local co-creation team provided a call for participation among the students of the Geography and Biology university departments, activists in local environmental NGOs and high-school students, involved in sustainability projects. As a result, around 35 applications were received and 25 participants took part in the event. The Summer school was provided offline in the facilities of the Minsk Ecological Gymnasium #19.
For more than two years, the international project TeRRIFICA has been implemented in Minsk. One of the key tasks of the project partner in Belarus – the Association „Education for Sustainable Development“ is to identify pedagogical approaches, as well as develop methods and resources that allow Minsk citizens to get involved in climate change adaptation activities and reduce the impact of climate change on their daily life. One of the opportunities to motivate people to act is jointly development of a vision for a climate-neutral future for the region in the short or long term.
More than 20 people aged 16 to 25 took part in the summer school. The participants not only developed their knowledge of the climate change issues in Belarus and strategies for responding to climate challenges but also exchanged ideas and opinions on solutions suitable for our context through interactive games, discussions, round tables, and excursions.
On the first day, the students participated in the interactive lecture „Climate Change: What are we facing today, and what are our prospects?“. With the support of the expert, Ivan Schadranok participants developed their own solutions for the key aspects of city life. After that trainer, Larisa Peskova prepared the game „Greenhouse effect“. As a result, participants prepared presentations with the analysis of European and local cases in the field of adaptation/mitigation to climate change.
The key event of the second day was a moderated discussion in the “aquarium” format: “Climate change: does it make sense to act?”, where participants presented their arguments for and against climate change action and exchanged views with invited experts from the International Public Organization „Ecopartnership“: Natalia Andreenko and Galina Vereshnya, Lithuanian expert in the field of corporate social and environmental responsibility Audronė Alijosiutė and the author of the AIRMQ project Ivan Betsun.
On the third day participants started with a warm-up called „Climate Energizer“ and then the participants plunged into the „Workshop of the Future“, where they, working in groups, developed their vision of the climate landscape of the city of Minsk by 2030.
During the Summer School “Climate Change vs. Climate Action” 5 groups of participants went through preparatory and design phases of the Future workshop, while they identified the climate challenges in the city in the areas as follows: water, health, buildings, waste, transport, land use etc.; focused on crowdmapping “hot spots” and highlighted the most relevant climate challenges there; envisioned their suggestions and solutions as scenarios and visions for the climate landscape of Minsk by 2030.
The outcomes of the Future workshop were visualized in 5 posters and recorded later as a video, summarizing the key ideas of group visions.
Some participants’ feedbacks:
„This is a completely new format of volunteering event for me. I’ve never been to one before, but I’m very glad I joined. I got a lot of new impressions and useful information“.
Yaroslava, Gymnasium 146:
„Most of all I liked the discussions on different issues, it’s much more interesting than any lecture. The atmosphere is serious, but at the same time very relaxed and comfortable“.
Valentin, BSU Lyceum:
„Very interesting and unusual experience, lots of great people around, learned a lot in an unusual setting for me. Thanks to the participants and experts!“
Arseniy, BSU Faculty of Geography:
„It was very nice to meet like-minded people. Despite the fact that there are few real geography specialists or people from this field, we had a great discussion and found common ground. The variety of experts, the fruitful work and the active participation are also pleasing.
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