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Shaping the future is something that only adults do? You must be joking! Around 150 children and teenagers, aged between 8 and 14, took charge of this subject at the first Kids Climate Conference held in Germany this June. During the event, they took part in seven different workshops to discuss the subjects of consumption and handling resources responsibly and to develop their own vision for a better, more environmentally friendly way of life. REMONDIS’ RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS were also there to organise two workshops that used a host of creative ways to teach the children more about avoiding waste, segregating waste correctly and recycling.
“And action!” was the motto of the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ first workshop. Using a pre-prepared backdrop, each of the seven groups of children was given the task of making a short film to answer the question: “How to best separate recyclable waste?”. A professional film director was on hand to help the children and work with a camera team to put the scenes together. Many of the children proved to have a natural talent for acting and they made the most of the leeway given to them to give free rein to their imagination and creativity. The educational side of the project was not neglected here though, as the children learned that everyone can help to segregate waste correctly and return recyclables to production cycles so they can be re-used. The kids left the film set and the workshop as real RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS.
The film workshop united environmental education and acting
The RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ second workshop concentrated on how to avoid waste. Much too much waste is produced every day. Can this waste be put to good use? The answer to this question was a resounding ‘yes’ and the children at the Kids Climate Conference set about creating a sculpture made of recyclables to get their message across. The children used packaging materials such as PET bottles, egg cartons, plastic bags, tins and many other objects to make small pieces of art with hidden messages and wishes that were then attached to a wooden pillar. Assisted by an art teacher, they gradually created one large piece of art made of avoidable waste.
“Whilst they were at the workshop, many of the children began thinking of ways of how they could avoid generating waste in the future and developing alternative ideas. By working with the materials, therefore, they became more aware of how waste is a problem. And this is exactly what we are looking to achieve with this workshop,” explained Johanna Spinn, head of the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS project. The sculpture is first being displayed at the office of the mayor of Medebach, where the Kids Climate Conference was held. It will then be taken on tour to allow many more people to read the children’s wishes and ideas.
A work of art made from avoidable waste – the children’s sculpture made of recyclables
“Turning old into new” was the motto of the RECYCLING PROFESSIONALS’ creative workshop.
On the final day, the children’s creative ideas were brought together to draw up 16 guiding principles for a better world and better environmental policies. Doable visions – such as “Don’t buy plastic bags”, “Have environmental protection put on the school curriculum” and “Use car-sharing schemes” – were summarised and added to a so-called climate book. To keep the subject going, the climate book is to be handed over to the mayor and the schools that took part in the conference. This will help to keep the Kids Climate Conference in the forefront of their minds and help to make as many people as possible aware of these new ideas.
The Kids Climate Conference was first set up in the Netherlands by Center Parcs and the WWF. It is targeted at children and teenagers aged between eight and fourteen. The event took place in Germany for the first time this year. It was held in the Center Parcs located in the Hochsauerland region.