Together with our partner Giacche Verdi Bronte we carry out environmental education activities in schools in the Etna Region. This project is funded by the European Climate Protection Initiative (EUKI). The aim is to sensitise the population to the causal chains between sustainable nutrition, agriculture, climate protection, and consumer behaviour by conveying sustainable action in a clear and practical way. We put great emphasis on concrete opportunities for co-determination for school classes to participate in the various project activities. Our international volunteers support Giacche Verdi in the activities and are involved with a lot of commitment and joy.
The ecological consequences of climate change have so far been too little associated with globalisation, agriculture and our own consumption and mobility patterns. One of the climate-relevant problems is the concentrated production of certain products in "ideal" or state-supported regions and their transport to remote places of consumption. The increasing supra-regional supply of food in supermarkets is obvious, which goes hand in hand with the declining trend of local food production. This trend is also noticeable in the Etna region. We want to counteract this development through education and project offers, because nature and climate protection require education, cooperation and the active participation of the population.
The project is aimed at around 1,000 primary school pupils and promotes vegetarian, seasonal, regional and organic food in schools. The environmental education, full of experiences and activities, includes excursions to farms in the region and promotes active gardening.
In a first step, our project staff and volunteers visit the students directly in the classroom. The children are introduced to the complex topic of climate protection in an age-appropriate way by illustrating the connection between their own food consumption and agriculture. In the second step, school gardens are created together with the children or farms are visited (sometimes both).
In the surroundings of Mount Etna there are still predominantly small farm structures. These are to be maintained and supported, for example through our help in the organisation of local farmers' markets and/or farm shops. These structures are to be continuously established in order to promote awareness of the relevance of sustainable cultivation and marketing processes: strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises, reducing soil pollution, shorter supply chains, less packaging waste and an overall healthier diet. The win-win situation for all participants can already be experienced by the children through sensual experience and concrete participation. Our volunteers are encouraged to use the acquired knowledge and skills as multipliers in their home countries.
News on the Website of the European Climate protection Initiative EUKI
"Local Farmers' Markets in Sicily", 21.06.2019
Visit of a farm with students and volunteers (Video)