Young people from across Europe are busy promoting volunteering for the environment. In England, a group of green students have been recruiting new members from the University of Cambridge to help protect our planet. Here they are at one of their official meetings with YEE’s campaign materials, sharing knowledge and ideas.
Volunteer Centre AYA organised a trip to the ecological farm in Kaluga Region, Russia. They wanted to help with the harvest and preparations for the next season. This farm is really new and volunteers of AYA already visited it in spring and helped with planting the potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. This volunteer trip brought together people who have very different lifestyles and sometimes are not so connected with nature. But these two days helped the young people to get more inspired and energized and some of them got very interested in ecological projects.
This trip also included the meeting of AYA volunteers, local residents and workers of the farm and the nearby village. They talked about the possibilities of the international volunteering, about ecological projects which young people can organize themselves. The participants also learned about YEE and some of our campaigns. They talked about the campaign “30 years of volunteering for environment” but also watched the videos from the Upcycling campaign. Meeting other environmentally-friendly young people and the big interest to working on the farm created the friendly and warm atmosphere of their trip.
The sixth point of Polish Scout Law says: A scout respects nature and intends to learn about it. Hence, every scout should be interested in protecting the environment and avoiding harming it.
One Scout Patrol „Knieja” from Zielona Góra, Poland every year takes part in a National Rally „Granica” in the Karkonosze mountains, in the south of Poland. This year’s team consisted of senior scouts – models for the juniors. At the rally there were different routes to choose from. We chose one focusing on how to stop water waste and tackle the problem of accessing it. During three days of the journey we had to climb the Karkonosze peaks and go through 12 checkpoints, where we performed tasks prepared by the organizers. One of the most memorable was when at the beginning we got a little bottle of water. In the cap there was a hole making the water spill at every little movement. This was to teach us how to care about every little drop.
The tasks, which focused on, triggered strong reflections in us. We realized that having running water does not mean it is like this in every corner of the world. A large number of people must fight for water, and there are places where it is more valuable than oil or gold.
Many thanks to YEE for the materials we got. Alongside the rally, we will also use them in our scouting events to teach our scouts how to take good care of nature, starting from the seed we got along with the folders.
Team Captain of 1 Scout Team „Knieja”
On 19 September 2013, Eden center volunteers sat near a lake in Tirana to speak with the public. They used the materials YEE created to inspire and motivate people to act on environmental issues. They demonstrated how to assemble the leaflet pot and plant the attached seeds. People were enthusiastic about this activity and asked a lot of questions. It succeeded in raising awareness of the need for environmental protection and understanding.
People seemed willing to take care of the seeds and bring them home. Some noted that the seeds represent the future and recognised the importance of teaching new generations about sustainability!
See more photos here.
On 7 September 2013 the YEE office traveled to Castle Lukov in the Czech Republic for a special festival hosted by Hnuti Brontosaurus. The festival brought young people together to volunteer on maintenance projects around the castle and in the local environment. There was also a workshop space for volunteers to share music, food and skills.
YEE used this opportunity to promote new ways to volunteer for the environment. Upcycling workshops were offered to inspire young people to rethink the concept of ‘waste’. The team spoke with festival goers about how they can volunteer for the environment through YEE and invited people to take the free campaign materials. Joining the network allows members to participate in educational youth exchanges, trainings and campaigns that work towards a more sustainable world.
See more Green Up event photos here.
Explore your local possibilities and go out of your comfort zone. Write to a park to ask if they need a volunteer and go there for a longer time. You can spend one-two summer months in beautiful nature, meet people who care about the environment and work for it every day, learn about new professions and just know more about your country by the end of your volunteering.
I have done a lot of different volunteering in my life and the experience which I appreciated the most was in Russian National park Ugra. We spent one week there with people from different European countries and helped to take care of the small oaks which were grown there as a project of the restoration of broad-leaf forests. We had to weed 30 thousand tiny oaks and sometimes it didn’t feel like the most exciting work in the world. But one month later I came back to the park with my friends and this time we replanted the small oaks in the big forest with “adult” trees. In two day we planted 3500 oaks and it was a lot of work but to me this was the most important and fulfilling one I have ever done. I hoped that these oaks will grow to be big and strong trees and they will be there for long, long time.
Natalia Luchko, Russia
Go onto the internet and find your closest environmental organisation. Find out what they do. Phone them up or visit them personally. Then join them! If you don’t like the first one, don’t get discouraged! There are plenty of them around! Find the one that suits you best, join it and have great time changing YOUR world for the better!
(Check out Youth and Environment Europe’s member organisations here. YEE is active in 26 countries, see the map below)
My best experience is connected with how I joined one of the biggest environmental federations in Europe – Youth and Environment Europe. I attended a training, met different people from all around Europe who were so passionate about what they were doing that it suddenly struck me that I genuinely may have a true influence over the world around me. It was great time spent together and since then I have believed that what I do, and who I do it with, really matters.
Tomek Janiak, Poland