This year, approximately 500 students from 10 middle and high schools in Sicily have taken on an environmental education course, promoted by EGP and the Viração Association, leading to the drafting of a Charter of Responsibility.
Reactivating the school’s photovoltaic panels, running a drive for used mobile phones and batteries, sponsoring energy saving campaigns at school, improving recycling programmes. These are just a few of the concrete actions that about 500 students from 10 middle and high schools in Sicily have worked on as part of the European project entitled Let’s Take Care of the Planet.
"Sponsored by the Viração & Jangada Association, with the support of the Catania cooperative Il Borghetto di Tutti and financing from Enel Green Power, the project will have various stages, from classroom lessons to a European conference to be held in 2018 in Lisbon,” explains journalist Paulo Lima, the project coordinator in Italy. "This is a programme of active citizenship and of environmental analysis of the impacts of their schools. It sees the kids on the front lines, supported by teachers and parents.”
From 20 to 23 March, the students organised assemblies at their schools in order to share what they have learned during the programme so far, preparing posters and discussing the concrete actions to put in place in order to reduce their impact and the impact of their schools on the local environment. Furthermore, on 24 March, at the Borghetto Europa, about thirty student representatives from Sicilian schools met to share their experiences and to prepare the so-called Charter of Responsibility, a policy document that will be delivered to the municipalities involved in the project as well as to environmental advisors and principals.
The charter gathers the responsibilities and actions of different types of middle and high schools: “We are all aware of the environmental challenges that our Planet has to face”, the students wrote in the document. “We know the potential it offers our region, which is also our home: sun, wind, waterways and biomass, all only partially utilized”. The students will commit to “giving value to our resources, taking care of our home, already partly damaged over time, and valuing it. Assuming our responsibilities and acting in the first person is the first step on a long road leading to better care for our Planet and a future of all of us.”
Next 22 April, to mark Earth Day, the kids will promote various activities to raise awareness about environmental topics in their area.
The "Let’s Take Care of the Planet" programme was launched internationally in 2008 by an initiative by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, which organised the first International Youth Conference in June 2010 on the topic of "Responsibility and Environment", which saw the participation of 550 young people between 12 and 15 years old, coming from 47 different countries. In Italy, the initiative has been developed since 2009.