Climate Heros: Youth in the fight against climate change

WWF encourages young people in Central and Eastern Europe to launch Climate initiatives
Dozens of reports and research show that the climate around us is changing, altering the world we know and the lives we ​​lead. Scientists are certain that global warming, melting Arctic ice and the natural disasters that follow are the result of human actions or inactions. One of the most important missions of the WWF, an organization dedicated to nature conservation and fostering harmony between nature and people is to combat the climate crisis. To accomplish that, WWF is looking for Climate Heroes!

 

Many young people in Central and Eastern Europe are not aware of the climate impact of their way of life and do not understand the need for urgent action in this direction. In addition, due to the lack of experience, many young people share the view that they do not have the strength to contribute to positive change in their society. And here WWF intervenes with an interesting initiative ...

The Climate Heroes project targets young people between the ages of 15 and 24 and aims to raise awareness of the climate crisis and the consequences of wasteful consumption locally and globally. The project trains 120 young people from Central and Eastern Europe with the ambition to turn them into climate leaders of their societies. The idea is for them to launch dozens of climate initiatives, which in turn will involve more than 2,500 of their peers, representatives of local communities and even decision-makers.

Partners and their Project landing pages  

Initiatives

The search for Climate Heroes began the spring of 2021, and as a result, 49 young people from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the Czech Republic went through an educational program for the Climate Heroes project. Joining forces, they launched in total 20 initiatives, the 12 most impactful tackling climate change initiatives were presented during a regional forum hosted by WWF-Bulgaria in the autumn of 2021. During the event, the participants presented their initiatives and exchanged experiences on pressing environmental cases.

Czech Republic:

  • The Sisters in Action initiative aims to promote a number of environmental issues and propose solutions through responsible consumption. Its creators prepare videos on environmental topics and publish them on YouTube. In addition, they conduct seminars and lectures in schools with their own environmental programs, striving to inspire young people to live sustainably.
  • Indigos focuses on the Amazon, the deforestation of which has a negative effect on both local people and the entire planet. The initiative was born after its creators received a letter from a man living in the Amazon rainforest describing their destruction. Indigos aims to create an independent digital space to raise awareness on this topic.
  • VEDU clothing started after its creator for a long time could not find clothes that both fit her well and are made responsibly. That's why she started learning to sew. Today, using discarded or already purchased clothes, she creates elegant new clothes. And if she has to buy new fabrics, she makes sure they have the necessary certificates for responsible production.

Serbia:

  • Biogiants aims to inform young people in Serbia on how climate change affects biodiversity and why animals and plants are important to us. The creators want to start a community of peersinvolved in this problem. That's why they talk about it a lot in their accounts on various social networks and have even launched a thematic podcast on Instagram.
  • Solar shelter strives to minimize the amount of harmful emissions emitted by the energy sector. Its creators equip shelters for abandoned animals in Serbia with special panels made by them out of recycled cans. They not only improve the quality of life of their residents, but also reduce the energy costs of shelters. The initiative maintains an Instagram account aimed at those interested in renewable energy topics.
  • Community fridge seeks to limit the effects of food and textile waste on climate change. To this end, the creators of the initiative buy, decorate and place refrigerators and wardrobes in public places, where everyone can store unnecessary food or clothes. Each uneaten portion is composted, and the initiative develops a donor culture in their society.

Romania:

  • The Extreme Weather Initiative was created to raise awareness on the effects of climate change. Its creators have followed their mission and after in-depth research among the public, launched a series of seminars, surveys, school events, articles and even make short documentaries and feature films on natural subjects.
  • "Romanians on a pedal!" Is an initiative that promotes cycling instead of cars, which both alleviates heavy traffic and improves air quality. In addition to launching a campaign to convince citizens of the benefits of this type of transport, its creators are in communication with local authorities in three cities (Bucharest, Sibiu and Buftea) on the construction and expansion of cycling infrastructure. They hope the idea will gradually cover other cities in the country as well.
  • Save the Dniester River initiative draws attention to the pollution of Moldova's main source of drinking water. Its creator seeks to unite public opinion in the need to put pressure on local authorities to build a river treatment plant. To this end, she has developed media partnerships, set up social media groups, organized round tables at the local level, initiated a petition and even prepared a film on the importance of the Dniester for local people.

Bulgaria:

  • Green Convo - the lack of ecological culture among the general public in our country provoked Hristina Kasapcheva to launch her initiative. Green Convo disseminates information on the subject, as well as relevant solutions that we can all incorporate into our lives in the form of small steps in everyday life. It includes round tables, open discussions, workshops and do-it-yourself eco-seminars. For now, the events are being held in Pazardzhik and Burgas, and Hristina hopes to gradually cover other cities as well.
  • "First Steps" is a short film by Katina Staleva, which raises a series of interesting questions in the field of ecology. The tape compares the life we ​​live, and all the negative consequences of it, with the life we ​​could live. The message is simple - "Take the first steps" for a better, cleaner and greener world. And its goal is to encourage all of us not to waste time, but to start the change today.
  • The seminar "The First Step" was inspired by Ivaylo Iliev and Rusana Toncheva. Experts and environmentalists from all over the country took part in it. The seminar aimed to provide answers to pressing questions, as well as to raise the level of awareness of young people in our country about the challenges related to the Black Sea coast and biodiversity in the region. And for the youngest participants, there were games that encourage creative thinking and teamwork.

How dID we continue?

The work of the Climate Heroes project continued in 2022 with its second stage in 2022. It began with the ambition to inspire 70 more climate heroes between the ages of 15 and 24. The goal of WWF was for those young leaders to become Ambassadors of our Planet and to inspire their peers around the world to live in a way that is responsible to both people and nature. National forums were held in all of the countries in the spring of 2022 and the most impactful youth initiatives were chosen to continue their participation at the Regional Forum on 2 July 2022 in Brno, Czech Republic.

The regional round brought together 33 creative young environmentalists from Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Serbia. 

One of them was Bianca Rusu from Romania. She was able to compel the judges to believe in her idea of a workshop designed to encourage teenagers to recycle their waste in a creative and artistic way, giving used and no longer needed items a new life.  

Adam Smolka, a young man from the Czech Republic, became a Climate Hero thanks to the idea of building a bicycle which generates electricity. His concept is to encourage more people to ride a bike with the ability to charge their phones by using their own energy while cycling. 

Another 4 young people Simona Hildebrandova, Kristina Shimkova, Tibor Mitro, and Natalia Banichova showed with their project how we may improve the air quality in the area of a school with fun and entertaining activities and turn the environment care into a trend.

 
The Climate Heroes project is implemented by WWF-Bulgaria, WWF-Romania, WWF Adria-Serbia, the United Nations Association in Bulgaria and the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation with the financial support of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), part of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the British Embassy in Sofia. The main goal of the project is to reverse the trend of the deteriorating condition of our planet, so that in the future people can live in harmony with nature.
 
For more information:

Daniela Gradinarska, Project manager of Climate Heroes dgradinarska@wwf.bg

© WWF-Bulgaria

© WWF-Bulgaria

© WWF-Bulgaria

© WWF-Bulgaria

© WWF-Romania

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

© WWF-Bulgaria

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

© WWF-Bulgaria

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

Climate Heroes 2nd regional forum in Brno, Czech Republic, July 2022

© WWF-Bulgaria