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ECO-UNESCO Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation

Youth Empowerment: Awareness to Action cons

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ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development Seminar 2011 A national meeting of young people, youth workers and policy makers: Seminar Booklet


Youth Empowerment – Awareness to Action About ECO-UNESCO ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation. ECO-UNESCO is affiliated to the World Federation of UNESCO clubs, centres and associations (W.F.C.U.A.). ECO-UNESCO’s aims are: •

• •

to raise environmental awareness, understanding and knowledge of the environment among young people to promote the protection and conservation of the environment to promote the personal development of young people through practical environmental projects and activities to promote the ideals of UNESCO

ECO-UNESCO develops and runs environmental programmes for children and young people on a broad range of environmental issues through schools, youth organisations, community groups , local authorities. ECO-UNESCO’s headquarters is based in ‘the Greenhouse’, a joint initiative of ECOUNESCO and Cultivate aimed at providing quality environmental and sustainability education, training and youth programmes in Ireland.

Get Involved! See www.ecounesco.ie or contact ECO-UNESCO, The Greenhouse, 17 St Andrew Street, Dublin 2 Tel: + 353 1 6625491 Fax: + 353 1 6625493 Email: info@ecounesco.ie

Introduction Young people are increasingly aware of global challenges and have ideas about what needs to be done about global issues such as climate change or poverty. This awareness has a strong impact on young people and often creates a desire to bring about change. Frequently, however, young people feel disempowered; that they do not have a voice or a say in decision-making or in influencing policy. This Seminar and workshops programme developed and delivered by ECO-UNESCO explored how young people can feel empowered to take action together for a more sustainable world. The ACT GLOBAL seminar followed on from ECO-UNESCO’s ‘Youth for the Future’ Education for Sustainable Development conference held in September 2010. This conference had found that young people felt that while they wanted to take action on issues that were important to them they felt they didn’t really know what they could do and felt disconnected from decision making. Both the conference and seminar took place in The Greenhouse and were attended by young people, adult support workers, policy makers and experts.

The aims of ECO-UNESCO’s ACT GLOBAL seminar were to: • Explore important sustainable development issues that affect young people, as defined by young people; •

Encourage and enable young people’s participation in democratic processes around policy and practice;

Provide an opportunity for young people from diverse backgrounds and all over Ireland to come together and develop their environmental awareness, activism and social participation, and to share and exchange ideas with others.

This booklet has been developed as a follow on to ECO-UNESCO’s seminar ‘ACT GLOBAL: Youth Empowerment – Awareness to Action’ in March 2011 and post-seminar workshops and aims to compile the outcomes of the seminar and workshops including notes, photographs and accounts of the day in a way which can help any individual or group interested in moving from awareness to action.

Also included are concrete examples of how your group can take action with the support of ECO-UNESCO’s youth programmes in particular the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards and ECO-UNESCO Clubs. ECO-UNESCO provides advice, support and programmes to help young people develop their ideas in actions.

Elaine Nevin National Director ECO-UNESCO

Looking to take Action? See www.ecounesco.ie to find out how you can get involved in the E


The Seminar ACT GLOBAL: Youth Empowerment – Awareness to Action The one-day seminar for young people, adult support workers and policy makers explored sustainable development focusing on three themes:

Theme 1 Development and Trade

Theme 2 Youth, Consumerism and Advertising

Theme 3 Youth Participation and Democracy

Outline of the Seminar 1. UNDERSTAND THE ISSUE & FORMULATE QUESTIONS Local to Global Parallel Workshops Participants chose to take part in one of three workshops which were: • • •

2. GAIN INSPIRATION FOR ACTION Exhibition of Examples of Youth in Action During lunch participants view InterACTION An Exhibition of International Youth Actions for Sustainability

Development and Trade Youth, Consumerism and Advertising Youth Participation and Democracy

3. MEET THE EXPERTS, EXPLORE THE ISSUE & FORMULATE ACTIONS Practical Youth Actions for Change Participants met the experts, discussed some of the main issues in their area, asked the questions formulated in the previous workshop and began making suggestions for actions that can be taken on the area. The experts were: Development & Trade Fleachta Phelan Campaigns and Policy Officer, Comhlámh Youth, Consumerism & Advertising Lynne Tracey, Manager CCCI and Lecturer, DIT

4. SHARING KNOWLEDGE & SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTION Youth presentations Young people presented the ideas and actions from each of the themed workshops to the entire seminar.

Youth Participation & Democracy James Doorley, Assistant Director NYCI Anne O’Donnell Head of Communications and Participation, OMCYA

ed in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or set up an ECO-UNESCO Club


Feedback from Seminar

THEME ONE – Development and Trade Development and Trade are complex and interwoven issues – This workshop aimed to introduce the area and explore the idea that while global trade is a key factor in economic development, trade is not necessarily ‘fair’. The workshop, in a fun and interactive manner, introduced participants to the links between the local and global through the products we buy; a basic introduction to the international trading system; and explored the social, environmental and economic impacts that the production of a commodity for trade can have on a country.

The Workshop Trading Game

This game aimed to simulate the international trading system with a special focus on raw materials. Each group was charged with the task of cutting out as many paper products as they can in return for cash in order to win the game. However each team represented different income countries and as such were provided with different materials and tools of varying value to the game. The participants were introduced to the idea that different countries face different production and trading challenges, with richer countries having a significant advantage over others in trade markets.

Moving Debate

Participants were facilitated in a moving debate to tease out the various ways of looking at, understanding and valuing Development and Trade issues.

Cotton Production Video

Participants watched a video on the production of cotton and then brainstormed the social, economic and environmental impacts the production process has on the local community. The video highlighted the global chain of production associated with every day items bought and sold in Ireland – in this case cotton clothing.

Formulate Questions for the Expert

The participants each came up with a question to present to the expert and then decided together which ones they would ask.

Looking to take Action? See www.ecounesco.ie to find out how you can get involved in the E


Meet the Experts Participants met with Fleachta Phelan the, Campaigns and Policy Officer for Comhlámh.

Q & A Feedback – Discussion Topics Participants focused the discussion on a few main topics: 1. What does fair trade really mean? It was discussed what the difference was between ‘fair trade’ (the products that meet internationally recognized standards of Fairtrade and get the fair-trade ‘stamp’) and global fair-trade or trade justice which is more focused on trading rules on a larger scale i.e. between countries or in trade zones. 2. Can fair trade products be fair and cheap? The costs associated with making sure the goods are fair trade were explored and the idea that the more people buy of something the quicker the price comes down.

Recommendations for Actions You Can Take ➜ Send a fair trade postcard which asks shops to stock fair trade products.

➜ Ask the manager of a shop where the products he sells are made and under what conditions. If he doesn’t know, ask him to find out!

➜ Boycott! Make the decision not to buy a product if you know it is

produced in factories with unfair working conditions. However, this needs to be done along with campaigning for change as otherwise it may just cause the people in the factories to just lose their jobs.

➜ Put pressure on your government – ask questions about trade agreements.

➜ Call on government to subsidise fair trade products. ➜ Speak to your politicians – they are your representatives! ➜ Talk about trade! Get friends and family talking about the issue – give them some information.

➜ Start a direct action campaign. ➜ Buy fair trade products! ➜ Research – find out more about the issue. ➜ Get your school to stock fair trade products - go to your principal.

3. How can we challenge shops that sell goods which are produced immorally? Some interesting ideas for how to approach shops and managers were explained by Fleachta, giving food for thought regarding actions that young people can take.

ed in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or set up an ECO-UNESCO Club


Feedback from Seminar

THEME TWO – Youth Consumerism and Advertising Advertising and consumerism – what we see advertised and what we decide to buy – are part of everyday life in today’s globalised world . This workshop aimed to provide an opportunity for participants to critically look at advertising, and youth as a target market. They explored how advertising makes young people feel and how this impacts on their choices as consumers. This workshop aimed to explore participants’ views about advertising; how they feel it affects people in both a local and global context and more specifically how it affects them on a personal level. Young people were encouraged to think about how they feel advertising influences them, whether it affects their perception of themselves and others; and how it might influence how they behave.

The Workshop Brainstorm Key Concepts

Participants were given four concepts central to this workshop: materialism, consumerism, advertising and fair trade. They were asked to brainstorm these topics to break down what they mean to different people.

Youth Consumer Trail

The facilitator took the participants on a walking trail through shopping streets in Dublin city centre to explore what advertising can be found on our doorsteps.

Meet the Experts

Moving Debate

A moving debate was facilitated where participants were posed with challenging statements regarding Youth Consumerism and Advertising which they then had to tease out in debate.

Formulate Questions for the Expert

Working in smaller groups each participant came up with one question to ask the expert relating to what they did in the workshop. They then decided together which ones they would ask.

Participants met with advertising expert Lynne Tracey, Manager at Central Clearance Copy Ireland (CCCI) and Lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

Q & A Feedback – Discussion Topics 1. How much advertising does your subconscious take in? The idea of subliminal message was discussed, some thought that this kind of advertising is not undertaken anymore and that companies only wish to raise awareness and the profile of their product, more however, felt that this kind of advertising is still carried out.

2. With all the money companies spend for adverts; do they make it back in sales?

4. Advertising can cause peer pressure and bullying. Discuss.

It was felt that advertising can be risky due to its expense however for the most part advertising does pay off.

Identity and fashion were discussed and the idea that young people may feel peer pressure to wear certain clothes to ‘fit in’ or to forge their identity but that this was perhaps an unfortunate effect of advertising. Body image was discussed and the idea fashion can affect the image of young people have of themselves and create pressure. It was felt however that the ethics agency are changing this more recently by trying to ensure models look more realistic.

3. How important is brand identity? Brand identity was discussed as depending strongly on having a target market, as some brands appeal more to the identity of some young people rather than others. It was discussed who drives the products designed – what young people want, or what the companies make and advertise.

Recommendations for Actions You Can Take ➜ Ensure adverts are more ethically and morally sound by having more youth involvement on the advertisement board. ➜ Desist from aiming adverts at young children. ➜ Insist that adverts tell the truth in relation to foods and products that have a negative impact on the health or well being of young people.

➜ Set up a Facebook page for young people to air grievances & concerns relating to adverts. ➜ Encourage more adverts to raise awareness about Fairtrade, organic goods, climate change and other important issues.

Looking to take Action? See www.ecounesco.ie to find out how you can get involved in the E


Feedback from Seminar

THEME THREE – Youth Participation and Advertising Young people today are the decision makers of tomorrow – yet often young people feel like they don’t have a say in decisions that affect them. This workshop called on young people to identify core issues that affect their lives today and explore how they can participate in the democratic decision making on these issues. It questioned the importance currently placed on the voice of young peoples in decisionmaking; the link between participation and responsibility; and offered information on how they can begin to participate.

The Workshop Hop to Power

Needs Analysis

Idea Generation

This activity explored the concept of ‘good power’ and ‘bad power’, where it comes from and what we can do to influence it.

Groups had to brainstorm what they think are the key issues that affect young people today. The results of the brainstorming were presented back to each other.

Groups were asked to think about all of the different ways that young people can participate in decision-making.

Meet the Experts

Participants were introduced to James Doorley Doorley,, Assistant Director of NYCI and Anne O’Donnell, Head of Communications and Participation at OMCYA. They presented their questions which led to some interesting discussions on the power and role of the media in society today. The young people, together with the experts then developed some suggested areas for action for themselves and other young people to take.

Q & A Feedback – Discussion Topics 1. How much of an impact can the youth parliament have? Discuss the impact it can have on political parties?

3. How and in what ways do you take on board what we (young people) are saying?

It was discussed how the parliament gives young people strong lobbying power and works to amplify the voice of young people by making sure their voices are heard.

It was felt that the youth parliament is seen as very important as they are the voice of young people and represent the future voters and professionals. They felt their contribution was extremely valuable as they offer different perspectives and vitality to what can otherwise become complacent.

2. What ways can young people be free of stereotyping and discrimination?

4. How much support does one have to get for local politicians to support you?

If was felt that joining action groups that do positive things can help young people move away from negative stereotyping and indeed create role models and a positive stereotype.

‘Power in numbers’ was stressed as key in this discussion. The idea of networking and getting school or youth groups together is extremely important in creating momentum

on a topic. 5. Why can’t young people sit in the Dáil Éireann and have a say? The voting age was hotly discussed – whether it was a good idea to reduce the voting age in Ireland to 16yrs as is the case in other countries. Arguments for this were that young people are much more educated, informed and aware now than before and the idea that if you are paying taxes before 18 years, should you not have a say in how they are spent?

Recommendations for Actions You Can Take ➜ Organise a conference to raise awareness.

➜ Talk to your local T.D.

➜ Join a youth political party or form your own.

➜ Send letters to politicians, representative, etc.

➜ Get informed about your rights.

➜ Join your Student Council.

➜ Take part in Peer Education.

➜ Make individual decisions in the wider context, i.e. vote.

➜ Join or form a youth group or club. ➜ World participation - Take part in international events / days e.g. Earth Hour or The Wave.

ed in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or set up an ECO-UNESCO Club


Post Seminar Workshops

Moving from Awareness to Action The post-seminar workshops were facilitated with groups that attended the seminar. The aim of these workshops were:

To recap on the themes covered in the ACT GLOBAL seminar: Development and Trade; Youth, Consumerism and Advertising; and Youth Participation and Democracy;

To introduce participants to the 6 steps to success action planning process in order to develop action plans based on the action recommendations produced at the seminar

To begin the first steps of the action planning process to support participants on their way to taking action!

The workshops were split into two parts:

Part One The first part of the workshop involved facilitating three activities – one adapted from each of the three seminar workshops. This gave each participant the opportunity gain an understanding of each theme explored in the seminar and become aware of some of the recommendations for actions that were derived from each.

One thing you have learned from the seminar:

One action you have taken since the seminar?

★ Teamwork

★ Talked to the Minister for Education and Skills to try and get some answers regarding issues in my area

★ We learned self esteem and have much more confidence ★ How trade is unfair

★ Thought more about my impact when purchasing goods

★ World trade between different income countries

★ Became more aware of the way adverts perceive things

★ Every country is connected in some way and depend on each other

★ Bought fair-trade products

★ That people and countries depend on each other ★ Advertising is all around us – seriously!

★ Started paying more attention to ads ★ Helping my companions achieve goals ★ The way I have consumed

One action you can take? ★ Buy fairer goods – fair trade ★ Write an article for local newsletter/ paper ★ Join the local youth parliament parties ★ Take time to think about the environment ★ Join the student council in my school ★ Only buy ‘true’ Irish goods ★ Only buy what you need and don’t feed the machine ★ Think before you buy – find out where and how it is produced

Part Two The second part of the workshop involved an introduction to the ECO-UNESCO 6 steps to success action project programme. Participants move on from focusing on individual understanding and actions that they can take, to thinking about what collective actions they can partake in. The participants then began three of the steps by: 1. Forming a group; 2. Deciding on an issue; and 3. Beginning to develop a plan. Three groups were formed, each focusing on one of the themes. The groups then discussed the recommendations that were developed during the seminar for their theme and decided

on an action they would like to take. The group finished up by doing an activity which required them to think about the various opportunities and challenges their action would be likely to encounter and what they would need to do to move forward and take their plan to action! Some of the great action projects that have been started include a campaign to get young people to start buying fair trade products, a group setting up their own lobby group and an online climate change awareness campaign.

Looking to take Action? See www.ecounesco.ie to find out how you can get involved in the E


Awareness to Action in Focus ECO-UNESCO can support you to move from awareness to action. Two great ways of getting involved are by taking part in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or by setting up an ECO-UNESCO Club.

Case study: ECO-UNESCO Clubs There are hundreds of ECO-UNESCO Clubs all over Ireland taking action in a whole range of ways. Here are just some ideas to get you started… The Greenhouse Gig was an awareness raising extravaganza of music and recycled fashion run by an ECO-UNESCO Club and hosted at The Greenhouse. “A very big task we undertook was planning our Action Project. We decided to hold an ECO-Gig which would promote issues of sustainable development to our peers, with bands and a themed fashion show.

The night was a huge success” said ECO-UNESCO Club Member Ailbhe Kelly. Other projects from ECO-UNESCO Clubs around Ireland include coast al clean-ups, picnics in the park, cycling campaigns and much more… make sure your group doesn’t miss out. Get involved!

Case study: ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards programme Each year ECO-UNESCO recognises and rewards young people for their action projects. Here is just a taste of what you can do… ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Project: Human Impact on our Water System Young people from Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan decided to inform their friends and community of the human impact on the environment, in particular our impact on the water system - in a fun and engaging way. Combining their interests in Art, Science and Environment they designed and made an outfit made from recyclable materials. The outfit depicts the rights and wrongs of pollution: On one side there is a beautiful hat depicting a waterfall dripping down through a jacket of beautiful lush fields and into a clean ocean. The other side has an oil can spilling out oil into a river which flows down into a jacket of a landscape filled with factories. The river then flows into a skirt of ocean on which sails a trawler casting out a huge net picking up fish and rubbish. Other projects among the hundreds submitted for the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards in 2011 included everything from Carbon Footprint apps, to climate justice, to community gardens and everything in between… so whatever issue you want to take action on, there’s sure to be something for your group!

Get Involved!

To find out how you can get involved in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards or ECO-UNESCO Clubs and the support available simply contact us:

ECO-UNESCO, The Greenhouse, 17 St Andrew Street, Dublin 2 T: +353 1 6625491 E: info@ecounesco.ie www.ecounesco.ie

ed in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or set up an ECO-UNESCO Club


6 Steps to Success: Action Planning If you, your club or group wish to take an action, then here is a practical 6 step guide to achieving it. The ECO-UNESCO 6 STEPS TO SUCCESS action plan forms the basis of an ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards project so if you are taking action, make sure to get the recognition and reward your group deserves by registering for the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards!

1. Get a Team Together You can start and ECO-UNESCO Clubs and join a network of over 100 ECO-UNESCO Clubs in Ireland. Contact clubs@ecounesco.ie for more information

2. Select an issue ■ Facilitate some discussions / activities on the themes of the seminar. Use the booklet or contact ECO-UNESCO for more information.

■ Ask the following questions to help fine tune:

■ Give each group a copy of the seminar recommendations (p 3-5)

✶ Is this realistic? (think about what timeframe you would have)

■ Ask your group to decide on one recommendation that they think affects them the most and that they are most passionate about. Reminding that they are going to plan an action project based on putting this recommendation into action!

✶ Is this the best use of the skills within the team?

✶ What kind of action would they be able to take?

✶ What further information is needed and where can the team get it?

3. Develop an Action Plan ■ What do you want to do in their project – specific aims? ■ What do you want the project to achieve (for them, their community, etc)

■ How will the group meet their aims – what are the objectives or specific tasks of the project? ■ How will the group know when their aims have been achieved?

■ What opportunities / advantages do you already have that can be built on? ■ What specific tasks must be done, By Who, and By When?

■ What could hold your project back or blow you off course?

4. Carry Out Action Plan

Make sure your action is: Visible (the outcome), manageable, concrete, sustainable and involves others!

5. Record your project

■ Include aims, objectives, pictures, records of all contacted and actions taken

■ Get Creative! Compile all of the information you have gathered For more information contact YEA@ecounesco.ie on what should during the planning and undertaking of the project be in your project

6. Raise Awareness Create awareness of the issue and your project! Enter your project in ECO-UNESCO’s annual Young Environmentalist Awards to create broader awareness, gain recognition and possibly a prize for your project!

Looking to take Action? See www.ecounesco.ie to find out how you can get involved in the E


Take Action!

Now it’s your turn! Get Involved! Acknowledgements ACT GLOBAL: Youth Empowerment – Awareness to Action © ECO-UNESCO 2011 All rights reserved

To find out how you can get involved in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards or ECO-UNESCO Clubs and the support available simply contact us:

ECO-UNESCO, The Greenhouse, 17 St Andrew Street, Dublin 2

Published by ECO-UNESCO 2011 (Registered Charity No. CHY 7225) Concept and Edited by: Elaine Nevin

Compiled by Hedda Dick and Laura Cahill Print Grehan Printers Ltd Printed on 100% recycled uncoated paper

T: +353 1 6625491 E: info@ecounesco.ie www.ecounesco.ie

ed in the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards Programme or set up an ECO-UNESCO Club


This booklet was developed with the support of:

ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development programme is funded by:

ECO-UNESCO supported by:

Comhshaol, Pobal agus Rialtas Áitiúil Environment, Community and Local Government

ECO-UNESCO is funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs with Support of the National Lottery Funds

Irish Environmental Network

ECO-UNESCO is part-funded by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government through the Irish Environmental Network

ECO-UNESCO Youth Empowerment Awareness to Action Seminar Report  

Support booklet to ECO-UNESCO's Youth Empowerment YSD Seminar March 2011

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