Environmental Protection in Focus workshop, Csepel 2013

How would a Croatian student reduce the eco footprint of Rijeka? What does a Polish pupil think about environmental protection? Why does a young citizen from Csepel think that the Water Purifier at South Buda is important? And what common ideas do they have connected to ‘Little Danube’ Bay? Environmental Protection in Focus workshop was held between 12th and 15th September in Csepel, Budapest. The local government was responsible for the overall management of the current project and the full programme was prepared and delivered by Mindspace. The general aim of the programme was to bring together 100 young people aged between 15 and 18 years, coming from 6 different “brother” cities in Central and Eastern Europe- Wolomin, Szczecin, Kielce, Rijeka, Nagyszalonta and Csepel (South Budapest),focusing on environmental issues and urban environment in particular.

After the welcoming ceremony on Thursday evening, the programme started on Friday morning with giving an opportunity to each regional group to make a presentation related to their city and the environment and to present their posters. After that the participants were invited to spend the afternoon discovering the city of Budapest. The city center walk was based on a strategic game called “Murder in C-Minor”- following indicated city signs they were engaged in an “investigation”, taking them to all the major parts of Budapest. Meanwhile all the individuals were asked to take pictures around the city- 5 pictures that remind them something in their home city and 5 that differentiate Budapest from it, particularly in an environmental thematic.

On the following day local NGOs were invited to give short presentations on environmental, Budapest-related topics. Some of the presenters were Mindspace, talking about ‘City and River’ and ZöFi,
introducing “Edible Gardens in Cities”. Climate Embassy Association has given a presentation about a practical example of city projects, called ‘Porzó Korzó’. For the rest of the day student were separated in the eight international groups. In the first hour of the workshop the student shaded and discussed with the group the similarities and the differences of their town and Budapest, based on their own pictures. Then participants visited the ‘Kis-Duna’ (Little Danube) bay area. The students went back to their international groups for the second part of the workshop.

The main goal of the afternoon was each group to discuss a possible development of the Little Danube Bay area. This part of the workshop was particularly challenging for the young people, giving them the unique opportunity to get involved in a team work together with international people. The last day started with brief presentations of the international groups of young people, following the previous day’s workshop. The students introduced their best ideas about Little Danube Bay development, presenting their posters. The presentations were followed by goodbye hugs. The young people from all the regions were given “homework” to think and discuss on the way back home the ideas that have been born in the previous few days and to think how they can bring these ideas and implement them for the development and improvement of their own cities.