Thousands of students from 72 schools of the Municipality of Athens alongside with their teachers and parents expressed their commitment to climate protection. This commitment includes an integrated activity of information, education, training, awareness, research and provision of educational methodologies and tools which constitute the basis for future actions.
The Municipality of Athens, participates in city networks and initiatives at both European and global level with the aim of raising public awareness on climate protection and climate change adaptation. An example of this kind of initiative is the ‘’European Climate Initiative’’, through which, the Municipality of Athens found important support for the implementation of the program called ‘’SCOOLS OPEN TO CLIMATE PROTECTION AND ENERGY SAVINGS Athens – Berlin’’.
The aforementioned program, lasted from October 2017 to January 2020 and aimed for the complicity of the school community in climate protection. The main target of this program was, not only the energy footprint reduction of school buildings, but also to raise students/teachers/parents awareness and knowledge in the subject of energy savings and ecology.
This program used the existing experience as it emerges from environmental educational programs both in Greece and Germany. It also propelled a more comprehensive approach which is the basis for future continuation and expansion of the program in schools:
- Institutions with different experience and role, from the two countries, collaborated in the program, adding their own know-how: The Municipality of Athens as coordinator, the social cooperative enterprise ‘’Wind of Renewal’’, the German Independent Institute for environmental issues (UFU) and the German Citizen’s initiative ‘’Respect for Greece’’.
- They also edificated in climate issues by Greek and German trainers who already had significant experience from similar programs.
- 20 trainers then trained 200 teachers, of whom 197 took an active role in their school. In total 72 primary, secondary and high schools have supported their students in this program and posted the necessary ‘’testimonies’’ on a digital platform called ‘’moodle’. This platform will be accessible to all members of the educational community who want to implement similar actions in the future.
- The educational community was supported for the entire school year 2018-2019, with methodological, educational information and tools. In addition, ‘’energy suitcases/ tool boxes’’ have been given to them in order to apply the knowledge they gained in practice. More specifically, these “energy suitcases” included tools of measurement, observation and experimentation, thus combining different tools of environmental /climate education.
- The students were informed, sensitized and turned into active researchers, surprising all the participants for their commitment and interest. Their work was captured on both posters and rich material posted on the digital platform moodle.
- The students, teachers and school unit participated in a relevant research that evaluated the implementation and catered, with good practices and suggestions, the program’s final action plan for interventions in the school.
- Last but not least, the project was a useful tool for intercultural education and inclusion of all the pupils, greeks and the ones with migrant and refugee backgroud, offering different roles and tasks to all the pupils based on their interest, skills and capacities, enchance the community building approach.
The imprint of the program not only in the educational but also in the wider community, constituted a legacy for future actions and programs:
- A website with all the necessary information and educational materials that are generally useful for the program (http://athensecoschools.gr).
- An educational guide on energy saving and climate change was a part of for students training.
- A well-organized action plan for the Municipality of Athens usable in all its schools.
- A research for the application of the program in schools.
- 200 trained teachers of Athens schools in matters of climate change and energy saving, with training lasting 24 hours.
- 72 pilot programs that have implemented this program and are willing to continue.
- Posters that capture their work (e-book of school posters, https://cutt.ly/XrlgDxY )
- 15 educational suitcases with needed equipment borrowed from schools, in order to measure energy, brightness etc.
- A digital moodle platform on which all participating schools posted their work. In the future, this platform will be maintained and enriched by the work of other schools (http://athensecoschools.gr/moodle/).
- Applying telematic systems in 5 pilot schools allowing remote or local energy management (an additional energy and money saving measure)
The 5 smart pilot schools of the Municipality of Athens are the first in Greece with artificial intelligence, providing the opportunity to:
- Record the energy consumption from electrical appliances and lighting fixtures.
- Secure and protect electrical appliances from high electrical load.
- Manage energy based on an ecological perspective.
- Provide security and comfort to teachers and students.
This program ‘’Schools Open to Climate Protection and Energy Saving, Athens-Berlin’’, evaluated and selected for funding by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) which is a funding implement of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). While it is also under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Research and Religions.
The details of the project implementing bodies:
Municipality of Athens, http://athensecoschools.gr/
Social Cooperative Enterprise ‘’Anemos Ananeosis / Wind of Renewal’’, www.anemosananeosis.gr
German Citizens’ Initiative ‘’Respect fur Greece’’ e.V., http://xn--respekt-fr-griechenland-kpc.de/
Independent Institute for Environmental Issues ‘’UnabhangigesInstitut fur Umweltfragen’’, http://www.ufu.de/
What is the European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
The European Climate Initiative (EUKI), reinforces the cooperation in a European level and aims to increase knowledge and awareness about the causes of climate change, as well as the ecological, economic and social opportunities linked to climate action. The German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) established the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) to cooperate even closer in the development and implementation of EU climate policy. Through EUKI, climate actors can learn from each other; the initiative supports inner-European dialogue, the exchange of good practice, awareness raising, and knowledge transfer.