Developing educational action: the success of World EE Day 2023

On 14 October 2023 the 7th World environmental education day took place. On this day, in 1977, the UN Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia noted the unanimous accord in the important role of the EE in the preservation and improvement of the world’s environment. 46 years later, WEEC continues to advocate and strive for environmental education […]

On 14 October 2023 the 7th World environmental education day took place. On this day, in 1977, the UN Conference in Tbilisi, Georgia noted the unanimous accord in the important role of the EE in the preservation and improvement of the world’s environment. 46 years later, WEEC continues to advocate and strive for environmental education to maintain its crucial role in paving a green road towards more sustainable societies.

Since World EE Day was established, WEEC has encouraged organizations around the world to promote initiatives and projects related to environmental education in the month of October. From festivals to conferences, from workshops to academic study projects, we received many communications through our online form of initiatives related to World environmental education eay 2023.

This is our final report for this year’s World EE Day: here are some meaningful and remarkable projects from all over the world.

Every year we at WEEC, together with our local italian networks, fulfill our educational and environmental mission with the organization of many events, in the city of Turin and on italian territory. Events like the Earth Festival in Luino (VA), which has reached its third edition this year and has received a great response in participation from the public. For three days, from October 12 to 15, the picturesque town on Lake Maggiore hosted exhibitions, performances, conferences, workshops, and events for schools, each of them focusing on the role of Environmental Education in preserving “Nature, Climate and Biodiversity”.

In Turin, the local association of WEEC Casa dell’Ambiente organized, on October 17, a screening open to the public of the 2020 Documentary “Citizen Nobel” by Stephane Goel. Following the life and achievements of Nobel Prize Winner and environmentalist Jacques Dubochet, the documentary is an example of great commitment to the environment and sparked discussion among the audience, hosted in our headquarter in the Capital city of Piedmont region.

Can sea lettuce (ulva lactuca), whose population is increasing uncontrollably in Izmir Bay and seems to be an environmental problem, turn into a sustainable benefit? Project Ulva Pac, led by a group of researchers from Turkey, tried to answer this question. Findings from the study showed that Ulva Lactuca has a lot of cellulose among its biological components, which is very important for packaging. Its cultivation offers advantages over land-based sources of lignin-containing cellulose such as cotton, requiring smaller quantities of fresh water and pesticides, therefore having a lower water and carbon footprint and unprecedented potential for a green and blue economy.

Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) has partnered with Fortress REIT to combine the Fortress Running Series with environmental education and social development, a partnership aiming to upskill the community and make a positive impact. The first race was held in Rustenburg, South Africa in July 2022 and was coupled with a tree planting day at nearby schools, and the project continues today, with events organized for World EE Day 2023. On the Friday before each of the races, the FTFA team hosts activities at schools in the area, including a climate change workshop, the “Climate Hero” training for a group of learners at each school, and the planting of trees at the schools through FTFA’s Trees for All programme. The running series is part of a broader strategy to future-proof Fortress REIT communities and to promote environmental education in South African territory.

Plastic Free Odv Onlus is a volunteering association founded on July 29, 2019, aiming at raising awareness and educating italian communities about the dangers of plastic pollution; with more than 1000 representatives all over Italy, Plastic Free has become one of the most important association in the field, organizing clean-ups, concrete actions for turtles protection and conservation and events in italian schools and cities. To promote its activities and on the occasion of World EE Day 2023, the local section of Plastic Free Pavia has organized a video-photographic exhibition on Sunday October 22 at Cupola Arnaboldi in Pavia (IT).  Since 2021, Plastic Free in Pavia and in the Ticino Park has contributed with concrete actions in the area (clean-ups), in schools and at events to raise awareness among pupils and citizens about protecting the environment.

For the second consecutive year, the Municipality of Esparreguera, Tallers Artístics i Culturals d’Esparreguera (Barcelona), in cooperation with the Department of Agroecology of the University of Humboldt (Germany), X Eleva Group (Mexico) and The Handprint Initiative (Mexico-Barcelona), organized a two days online symposium on 26 and 27 October, for the exchange of experiences between international professionals and focusing on the best educational practices and the Art as a transdisciplinary tool. The II Virtual Symposium “Art and Global Citizenship Education” offers the opportunity for new collaborations among people around the world, given the need to generate spaces for reflection and collaboration in the face of global challenges, allowing the strengthening of educational strategies that integrate the Sustainable Development Goals and promoting the Global Citizenship Education.

“Bracing Biophilia” is an exploratory research programme which verifies the effect of Nature-based ILEs on pupils’ attentional performance and affiliation with Nature, led by researchers from the University of Aosta Valley, Italy. Biophilic design is an architectural model that offers the possibility to create the Nature-based Innovative Learning Environment (ILE), which might support cognitive processes and stimulate affiliation with Nature. The experimental observations spanned three school years; they were carried out within a conventional learning environment in the first year and in a biophilic designed one in the next two. The results, shared during the month of October 2023, show that learning environments with biophilic design, in addition to being preferred and perceived as more restorative, are more effective in supporting pupils’ attentional performance than conventional learning environments and, over time, strengthen the feeling of affiliation with Nature.

St Kizito Schools, in Kampala, Uganda organized project-based Initiatives for Engaging Youths in Climate Action, promoting nature-stewardship and green entrepreneurship among pupils and students by imparting knowledge, skills and values related to sustainability. The environmental teaching and learning activities are conducted at different learning levels, sharing knowledge about nature using stories, scrap-books and media, engaging children in nature-based experiences like outdoor nature-play activities and interaction with animals and promoting interactive/reflective activities like debates, quiz and oral presentations and much more. On October 14, the schools hosted the ambassador of Sweden in Uganda as they celebrated 25 years of climate activism, bringing her on a tour of all the green projects of the two schools in Kampala.

A group of teachers of the ITCG OGGIANO high school in Siniscola, Sardinia, organized an ecological walk at the Mandras Pine Forest in the Santa Lucia Area. The event aimed to involve the school community and the local area in an experience of territorial and sensory regeneration within the Tepilora, Rio Posada, and Montalbo Biosphere Reserve, raising awareness within the community about environmental conservation with a focus on sustainable development and the valorization of the region. Participants acquired specific knowledge about the territory, recognizing and appreciating its value and potential, through inclusive approaches, including those for more vulnerable individuals. The event, held on October 19, also involved the cleaning of the environment from waste and the promotion of environmental sustainability through good practices.

You May Also Like