Last January we carried out a workshop in Pla del Bonaire Civic Center, located in the city of Terrassa, Barcelona province. Pla del Bonaire is a sociocultural facility where various citizen activities are carried out, such as indoor sports, educational activities, arts and music among many others. Additionally, this center receives daily a group of unaccompanied minors who have left or could not finish their elementary studies and are currently looking for job opportunities. We were offered to design a careers-in-sustainability-kind-of-workshop, and we didn’t miss such an opportunity!
Unsure about the knowledge level of our audience, a group of 16 to 17-year-old teenagers coming from very different environments and with diverse personal situations, we started with the basics of climate change, its causes and consequences. We went all over the world, from the Sahara desert to the Amazon forest, stopping over Venice, Beijing and the Fiji Islands, showing both climate change causes, such as deforestation or greenhouse gases emissions and climate change consequences, such as extreme droughts or severe flooding. Most of our public was able to understand how all these actions have an impact, not only in the environment but also in society and economy.
After our catastrophic world’s view, we appealed to the group to offer us some solutions to what they just had witnessed. We tend to think that complex problems, such as the environmental issue, require complex solutions, notwithstanding our audience had it really clear: if the cause is that we are cutting too many trees, stop cutting trees; if the cause is that we are emitting too much CO2, stop emitting CO2. However, the question is: how? And more important than that: how can I be part of that solution? And here is where the core of the workshop started!
After having identified the problem we were facing, the second part of the workshop focused in its solution, which was structured in three main alternatives: renewable energy, circular economy and ecological restoration (such as reforestation). From that moment on, we delivered our typical masterclass on renewable energy as well as introducing the circular economy topic, a brand-new concept never discussed before in any of our workshops. Circular economy is an economic system aimed at the continual use of resources, where the waste of one industrial process may be used as the raw material for another one, creating a close-loop system, minimizing the use of resources and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. The group understood perfectly that meaning thanks to an interactive game, aimed to make them distinguish between recycling, reuse or reduce.
However, where was our audience regarding all those alternatives? We were entering the third and last part of the workshop, which consisted in explain to the group the employment needs that this transformation will require in order to transform our world to a more sustainable one. From technicians inspecting the blades of a wind turbine (check out this astonishing video), to scientists working in the development of clothes made from plastic waste, and covering a wide range of fields such as the development of green infrastructure (efficient water management, forest restoration…), urban mining, electronic waste repairment, organic farming, waste and water treatment plants… According to the United Nations, up to 24 million jobs globally could be created by green economy by 2030!
After more than 2 hours of workshop, we could see how our words seeped through some of our audience, which we hope soon see pursuing their dreams and joining us in the tireless battle to leave a better world where to live to our next generations.
From the Sustainability by Education team we would like to welcome Martin to the team in his first workshop with us and thank Miriam for her great contribution to our repertory with the circular economy topic. Additionally, a big thank you as well to Anna, one of the coordinators of the group of unaccompanied minors, for offering us the possibility to carry out the workshop and for the incredible job she realizes every day.