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This publication has been realized with the financial support of the European Commission (Erasmus + Programme). It reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission and the National Agency for Erasmus + Programme are not responsible for the information contained therein.

Organizer: Fundacja Aktywni w Europie (Poland)

Partner organizations: Profesionalas Izglitibas Kompetences Centram Rigas Valsts Tehnikums (Latvia) Asociatia Tineri Pentru Comunitate Bistrita (Romania)

About the project "Be the change" was the project co-financed from Erasmus Plus Programme and organized by Foundation Aktywni w Europie from Poland. All activities took place in Poronin on 5-13 September 2019. The honorary patronage over the project was taken by the Head of Poronin - Anita Zeglen. The youth exchange was attended by 36 people aged 16-18 and leaders from Poland (representatives of Foundation Aktywni w Europie), Latvia (representatives of Profesionalas Izglitibas Kompetences Centram Rigas Valsts Tehnikums), and Romania (representatives of Asociatia Tineri Pentru Comunitate Bistrita). The aim of the project was to disseminate knowledge in the field of ecology and environmental protection among young people; to build ecological awareness, to develop an interest in environmental issues, to shape views regarding care for the beauty of nature and its resources, to promote pro-ecological attitudes, as well as to exchange experience.

The youth exchange was carried out in English, using non-formal education methods, such as energizers, discussions, debates, interactive games, thematic workshops, presentations, meetings with experts, integration games, evaluations, meetings with the local community, national evenings; Within the youth exchange, participants took part in the meeting with the eco-advisor from Poronin. Young people learned about local and regional programmes that work to improve the state of the environment and ecology in Poronin and Lesser Poland. They also participated in creative workshops with an expert on art-recycling. They made new items (pencil cases, shopping bags, and bags for vegetables and fruits) from waste and recyclable materials. Participants of the "Be the change" organized a meeting with local youth, during which they presented project, activities, and results. Young people also presented social campaigns, ecology lessons, and carried out art-recycling workshops. The youth of "Be the change" prepared and conducted in Zakopane, involving a local community, a happening aimed at promoting pro-ecological attitudes. Young people showed how they care for the environment and took part in cleaning the world. National evenings, organized by participants, gave the opportunity to learn about traditions, cultures, and regional cuisines. During the regional evening, participants could try traditional dishes from Podhale and learn about folklore. "Be the change" had not only an educational dimension and contributed to the development of participants' competencies, but also allowed to make new friends and was an unforgettable adventure.

Youth Exchange 36 people from Poland, Latvia, and Romania

At the beginning of the international meeting, the participants conducted activities and games aimed at getting to know each other better, breaking the ice and get rid of shyness, as well as building an integrated team and a friendly atmosphere. Within the workshops, participants reminded the schedule of activities for the next days of common work was.

Youth exchange took place in Poronin on 5-13.09.2019

Within one of the first workshops of the "Be the change" exchange, young people presented the effects of their work during the preparation period. They exchanged their opinions, thoughts, and experiences related to local events carried out, promoting pro-ecological attitudes. Participants of the project took part in workshops on the Youthpass certificate and key competencies.

Within the youth exchange "Be the change", participants conducted various thematic workshops that allowed them to broaden competencies related to ecology, but also to exchange valuable experience. Participants presented ecology-related activities that they implemented in their local environments and got familiar with social campaigns for ecology; Youth from the project presented presentations related to new technologies for environmental protection, and also got familiar with the rules of recycling and discussed how recycling works in their local environments.

Participants of the "Be the change" project took part in a meeting with the ecoadvisor from Poronin. Young people learned about local and regional programs that work to improve the state of the environment and ecology in Poronin and Lesser Poland Voivodeship. During the second part of the meeting, participants presented the posters they made. They showed the threats that result from negative human activity and impact on the environment and discussed ecological solutions.

Within the youth exchange, participants took part in creative workshops with an expert on Art-Recycling. During the workshops, they worked on making new items (pencil cases, shopping bags, and bags for vegetables and fruits) using waste and used materials.

Participants of the project during the meeting with local youth. Within the meeting, they presented project "Be the change", activities conducted during the youth exchange and the results of the project. The youth participating in the youth exchange also presented social campaigns and ecology lessons, which they prepared, as well as conducted art-recycling workshops.

Participants of the "Be the change" conducted a happening that aimed to promote pro-ecological attitudes. Young people worked on the ideas of happening and its activities during the youth exchange and presented them in Zakopane. Participants showed how they care for the environment and took part in cleaning the world. They also organized creative activities involving the local community, which met with great interest.

The last activities during the youth exchange in Poronin. Participants spent nine days, working together, developing their competencies, as well as gaining new experience and international friendships. Within the last day, participants summed up the youth exchange and evaluated all activities, conducted during the international meeting. At the end of the youth exchange, they received Youthpass - the certificate which confirms taking part in the project and gained key competencies.

New technologies in environmental protection Rhinos and sensors The progressive degradation of fauna has several causes. Once, we are dealing with the effect of tropical deforestation, which is nothing more than a brutal interference in the natural living space of many species. Two large-scale, profit-driven poaching causes additional damage. An interesting example of the fact that technology can inhibit poachers' urges the action against rhinoceros shunters. In the UK, "Real-time AntiPoachingIntelligence Device (RAPID)" was created. The system uses GPS technology. The rhinoceros is equipped with an electronic heart rate monitor. The device activates when an animal suddenly rises from the ground relies on it too quickly. When such situations occur, the people working in the management center are immediately informed about them. Ifthereistoo much unnatural movement of the animals, the appropriate services shall be immediately activated and they shall move towards the herd. The groups using this type of electronics in missions against poachers include among others Anti-Pouching Foundation.

The Ocean Cleanup 6 years ago when young Dutchman Boyan Slat was sailing through the Mediterranean Sea, he saw there so much rubbish. He thought that he must do something with this. So he found a solution. He made up the Ocean Clean up. This machine consists of an elastic tube and barriers under the water in the shape of U or V letter on the surface 100 km. They don’t catch animals but only rubbishes. It will be power by solar panels. Energy will recycle litters. It is autonomic because merine currents and wind agitate it. One for few weeks special ship has to take all the rubbish. At this moment The Ocean Clean up is only a project, but it was the first test at the Netherlands coast on 100 m surface for 1 year. Unfortunately, after 2 months 2 aerial cells destroyed and it reduces effectiveness.

Algorithmsimmersed in the oceans

The environment of the seas and oceans has long been explored with the help of tools belonging to the arsenal of eminently modern technological achievements. Technology in the service of nature today does not have the slightest problem with going under the water. The American Goddard Space Flight Center, a NASA-owned research facility, uses machine learning techniques to track the spread of microalgae in the oceans. Microalgae floating on the surface of the water are responsible to a large extent for the production of the oxygen we need for life. Many of the underwater observation activities are carried out with the involvement of modern detection technologies. The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology uses special sensors for its research. The agency is interested in the pHlevelat the bottom of the seas and oceans - these parameters are important for the safety of the entire ecosystem.

Vertical Farming It is estimated that by 2050, the world’s population will grow by more than 2 billion people. To feed everyone we would have to create new farmland, which causes destruction of the natural environment and reducing of habitats where animals live. The answer to this challenge of feeding everyone in the world without destroying nature could be vertical farming. It is the method of producing food in vertical layers in the contained environment.

They are often integrated into other structures such as skyscrapers or warehouses., This revolutionary idea is based on using indoor farming techniques and Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology, where people can control many environmental factors like temperature, light, humidity, gases. This way of produce food can be up to 100 times more productive than fields, uses significantly less water and it also allows crops to grow year-round.

Transformation of plastic into hydrogen In early September 2018, scientists from the University of Swansea (a city in Wales) announced that they had discovered a way to turn plastic waste into hydrogen. Everything is based on adding a special substance to the plastic that absorbs light and then exposing the mixture to the sun. As an example, we will take PET plastic. It consists of tetraftalacid and ethyleneglycol. During the chemical reaction described above, glycolide composes into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, while the other component can be reused. Unfortunately, for the time being, it is just an idea that can cheaply process even dirty waste, but at the moment itis not yet suitable for mass application

Smart city lighting During the UN climate summit in Katowice, dr. Maciej Kawecki - director of the new technologies department at the Ministry of Digitization mentioned intelligent-city lighting. The energy consumption was to be adapted to the time of day, traffic flow, etc. According to calculations, this technological solution could save up to 30% of the energy use so far to illuminate the city. However, these numbers may be much higher. In Oslo, the introduction of an intelligent streetlight control system saved as much as 70% of energy compared to ordinary lighting, while in Olsztyn this installation allowed savings of 60 - 80% of energy in recreational areas and 50 - 70% in city streets.

Carbon capture and storage According to the United Nations report, if we want to limit temperature rise and prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change, we have to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050. A great solution is Carbon Capture and Storage - a technology that can capture up to 90% of the CO2 emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels. The CCS chain consists of three parts: capturing CO2, transporting CO2 and finally storing CO2 emissions underground in a carefully selected geological rock formation. Storage places include former gas and oil fields, and deep saline formations. New technologies allow for the capture of CO2 from gases by one of three methods: pre-combustion capture, post-combustion capture, and oxyfuel combustion.

Ecological organizations and initiatives Fundacja Nasza Ziemia Fundacja Nasza Ziemia (Our Earth Foundation) began inspiring and encouraging local communities, governments and schools to take part in “Clean Up the World� event in 1994. Since then, this campaign has become a perfect opportunity to summarize annual efforts on behalf of a clean and healthy environment.

"Clean Up the World" event is an international movement began in Australia in 1989 (Poland in 1994). Every third weekend in September hundreds of thousands volunteers meet and clean forests and other places of garbage together. They also plant trees , shrubs and flowers and prepare a lot of competitions, exhibitions, concerts, bike and pedestrian rallies.

WWF Poland We guide our assumption that thinking globally to act locally. That is why we focus strongly on our national natural resources. The Polish natural environment is one of the most unique in Europe. The protection of the magnificent relict Carpathian Forest, the reconstruction of the lowland lynx population in Masuria, the prevention of Baltic pollution, the proposition of wise and friendly law in the field of forest management and logging, or the prevention of degradation of the most beautiful Polish rivers are great challenges that we could not cope with alone. We have been in Poland for over 15 years and thanks to the support of over 50,000 donors we contribute to saving the most valuable areas in our country.

WWF Poland's activities focus on the Baltic Sea area. We pay attention to the problem of eutrophication (over-fertilization) of this water body, accumulation of pollution, as well as other life-threatening phenomena of protected aquatic species. Today, before our eyes, the Baltic Sea is dying. However, it is still not too late to counteract destructive processes. Thanks to the efforts of the WWF Foundation, some important forest ecosystems in the world have been protected. Unfortunately, many of them are still effectively destroyed. That is why we constantly carry out information campaigns aimed at saving forests.

Greenpeace Poland In Poland, Greenpeace was founded in 2004. From the beginning, we have been working for systemic changes in the field of nature protection. Peaceful actions, as well as reports and expertise, help us draw the attention of public opinion and decision-makers to the most important environmental problems of Poland and the world. From climate protection to protecting the most valuable forests, protecting bees and supporting environmentally friendly agriculture, to protecting endangered species and valuable ecosystems. We do all this thanks to the support and commitment of thousands of people who work with us for a safe, healthy planet.

"We work to end the production of dirty energy. We oppose large fuel companies, strive for support for renewable energy produced by citizens, and to hold climate destroyers accountable. We are also working on stopping banks and insurers from supporting the coal industry." "We also work to improve the protection of animal species, especially bison and wolf. It is not these animals that threaten human beings, but human beings pose a threat to them. We are looking closely at the Polish nature protection system. We see many of its flaws and expect it to be repaired so that it protects nature and not the interests of investors."

Scouts Movement of Environmental Protection Scout organization founded in 1986 by Dariusz Morsztyn. It is a non-governmental ecological movement in Poland. It is the only scout organization in the country. They don't use a drill, organizational clothes are not called uniforms, instead of commanders are chiefs. HROŚ refers to the forest stream, draws from indigenous cultures, especially Indian and Old Polish. HROŚ's call and salutation is the slogan of St. Francis of Assisi "Peace and Goodness". The founder of this organization received, among others the Green Leaf Award (1994). HROŚ is a local organization, it operates mainly in the Warmian Masurian Voivodeship.

Workshop for All Beings

Our mission is to care for the high quality of the natural and cultural environment, as actions for the benefit of all beings both nature and people. We started our activity in 1988, at a time when associations could not be registered in Poland to save one of the most beautiful places of the Silesian Beskids, the Wapienica Valley in Bielsko Biała. Activities to save the Valley have become an impulse to expand activities throughout the country and Europe. Since then, we have been conducting interventions and campaigns to save valuable natural places, solving natural problems in road construction, protecting mountain ecosystems, educating, and publishing the monthly Wild Life.

League for Nature Protection Goals of the organizations: - conducting educational activities in order to shape society's attitude towards the natural environment, - popularizing knowledge about nature and nature protection, - encouraging people to undertake and carry out social work for the natural environment and to organize such work, - initiating and inspiring activities for the natural environment, - ensuring compliance with the law on the protection of nature and intervening in cases of its violation.

Color select - an initiative The project main interest was to raise awareness of the people in Bistrita about the importance of recycling through teenagers from local areas. Each team had to give out flyers and inform people on the streets and main places in the city and they also had to promote it on Facebook. The project also implied the cleaning of a forest park where 154 persons attended. The cleaning ended up with the making of a maquette out of plastic bottles brought by the participants which were later collected by a recycling company.

Recycling initiatives Well, imagine all the things you’ve used in your life, from your first shoes as a child, to the one you currently have. You do realize that probably they all still exist in the environment somewhere. We use them for a couple of months and they will last for hundreds of years. That’s why we have certain containers where we can put the things we do not need anymore. They will be taken to department stores and they will be prepared to be sold in ‘second hand’ shops. It is better to pass the things on to other people than to throw them away.

When it comes to recycling things made out of plastic or other materials, schools are being really supportive. Every Romanian school has recycling activities and ecological programs. If, for example, there are ecological activities during school time the students who want to participate will be able to do this because the principal allows them to attend them.

Plastic bags The Romania Senate adopted in the first of July a draft law of the Government by which thin and very thin plastic bags, with or without handle, will be banned in the country. According to the draft law, plastic bags can be forgotten from the shops. So now, we use only eco and paper bags (even though it`s more expensive), but we are very proud of these initiatives.

Environmental initiatives In our town (Bistrita), there are some organizations which are mainly focused on ecology and they organize from time to time different environmental actions in the nearby surroundings, recycling programs, and contests or informative projects in order to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, reducing the usage of plastic overall and other problems in that matter.

Lechinta Solar Park In our county (in Romania) we have a small village called Lechinta. The mass media called this village "the village where there are more solar panels than people". The solar park has 6762 solar panels and just about 6000 people who are living in there. The mayor said he hopes that 2 years from now they will be totally autonomic.

Calimani Self Exploitation

The miner exploitation from Calimani represents one of the biggest ecological disasters from Romania. Calimani was an active volcano back in the time so that lead to self-exploitation later that destroyed the natural environment. The environmental project to clean the soil in Calimani and to demolish the buildings that served as homes for the miners started back in 2007 and it's still in progress. The exploitation put in danger really rare species of plants like Floarea de Colt, Pinus Cembra and Bujor de Munte. New soil was added to help the recovering of the area and plants adapted to acid soil were planted. Now the area is under governmental care and it's a natural reservation that serves as a home for many animals, unique plants and it's one of the most beautiful places to see in Romania.

Eco Youth for Rural Areas The purpose of this project was to promote the social inclusion and the active participation of 20 young people and 4 team leaders from Romania, Poland, Azerbaijan and Macedonia living in rural areas or in small towns, through environmental education workshops, recycling activities, volunteering, planting, cleaning, structured dialogues, activities carried out in the rural area of Valea Bargaului from Bistrita-Nasaud, Romania country.

Music and Planet Saving People start investing in the new generation. What better method than introducing planet protection in what they really like? Music festivals started to have different ecology projects. Recyclable cups are now a must-have and some of the festivals offer prizes for people that are saving the planet. For example, if you go to a bar with a cup full of used cigarette filters or with some empty cups, you receive a free drink. Other festivals support the deforestation problem, so they organize actions where you need to plant trees and in exchange, you get free or cheaper tickets.

Second Hand – shop of used products that are still useful Advantages? First of all, a big economy (it’s cheaper). Second of all, it’s a second life of this item, it means, by using it we become more ecologically friendly. We can help people in need, who can wear good clothes. Most popular in Latvia KiloMax and Humana.

Zero Waste Zero Waste is the reusing of all resources by means of responsible production and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. The movement reached a peak in 1998–2002, and since then has been moving from "theory into action" by focusing on how a "zero waste community" is structured and behaves.

LielÄ talka = The great cleanup It is the largest non-governmental movement in Latvia, based on voluntary participation in environmental clean-up, recovery, and improvement. The goal of LielÄ Talka is to make Latvia the cleanest and tidiest place on the world map; allow nature to recover, cleaning it from waste, as well as to encourage citizens to improve and care for the environment around them.

Ecological footsteps in Latvia Latvia is among the countries influenced by transboundary impacts. Long-range air pollution impact on local air quality, whilst more than 50% of water resources originate in neighboring countries. Generally, the state of the Latvian environment can still be evaluated as "good" because there are no real threats to air quality, water quality, land degradation, municipal services, etc. Latvia maintains a good level of environmental protection, particularly related to air and bathing water quality. The country has made some progress on waste management: the composting rate has improved, and the landfill tax is rising gradually. Latvia has good potential to raise awareness and ambition among small and medium-sized enterprises about becoming more resource-efficient.

Car pollution issues and solutions Nearly 30% of the EU's total CO2 emissions come from the transport sector, 72% of which comes from road transport and 60,7% of the amount is a lightweight car's emission. In our days almost every family has its own automobile which makes the problem of air pollution one of the most actual in the world!


If it is moving through the urban area then consider going on foot, public transport, bicycle and so on. In cities mostly, there is horrible traffic, form time to time it is even faster with a bicycle. Or if you must go farther from the city consider taking a bus or train. Why not buy an electro car to decrease carbon dioxide pollution? Unfortunately in Latvia, it is not available for everyone yet. Electro cars are too expensive for Latvian people.

Sorting waste In Latvia, it is recommended to divide the total waste stream into the following fractions: Packaging (plastic, glass, paper/ cardboard); Metal; Batteries; Electrical equipment; Environmentally hazardous waste; Medical waste; Biodegradable waste; Reusable items; Bulky waste and construction waste; Municipal waste not suitable for recycling; But in Latvia, families mostly sort their waste into following fractions: Plastic Cardboard Glass And others

Almost every city in Latvia already has trash cans in different colors to distinguish which garbage to put in. A survey conducted in 2019 shows that 57% of the population admit that they sort waste. The most inaccessible and inconvenient waste sorting sites are in Riga, which is the opinion expressed by the population, but Latvia is slowly trying to deal with it.

Deposit cups As in Europe, Latvia is also focusing on reducing plastic waste at public events and fighting against plastic glasses, which make up most festivals and other large public events. In Latvia, there is more of an invitation to refuse drinks in disposable mugs in your daily routine and to bring your own cup or drinks with you in the cafe or at home. Deposit glasses are created with care for nature.

Use of solar and wind energy in Latvia

One of the uses of solar energy is solar panels, a method that is quite common in Latvia due to the six sufficiently sunny months from April to September. Wind energy is slightly more widespread than solar energy, thanks to Latvia's proximity to the sea. But since wind machines are expensive enough and pay off after a long time, we don't have much, but not much.

Ecology lesson 1: Pollution in the water? – I don’t like it! Main goals: raise awareness of people; inform people about the problem; present solutions for this problem. Duration: ~4 h Activities: A film about water pollution; Energizer; Making posters in small groups; Presentation of posters made by groups; Discussion about solutions for water pollution; Cleaning nearby bank of the river. Description: Watching a film about water pollution. Energizer: Participants must arrange themselves in the order of birth date without speaking or making any notes, just by using sign language. Posters: Dividing people into smaller groups(4-6 people in one group). Their task is to make posters of recycling and natural materials which present one main problem of water pollution. The groups are presenting their posters. People discuss their ideas for solutions for water pollution. The trip to the nearby bank of the river and cleaning it.

Results: People understand the importance of this problem; People know solutions on how to fight with water pollution; Nearby bank of the river is cleaner; Preparation: Place for making activities; Find or make a short film about water pollution; Laptop and projector; A1 papers, magazines, and newspapers; Pencils, pens, markers, glue, scissors, duct tape, paper tape; Gloves, garbage bags.

Ecology lesson 2: The art of recycling Main goals: Cleaning the rubbish from the streets; Workshop in which we’re making art out of recycled items; Rising awareness on the problem of littering; Activities: Workshop, Discussion, Happening, Art, Playing Music; Preparation: For cleaning: gloves, trash bags, matching T-shirts; For art recycling: glue, scissors, markers, tape, rope, paint, brushes, pencils; For music: speaker, laptop; For advertising: posters;

Description: We are starting by making a poster about our ecology movement (it has got to be a clean poster, speaking for itself - It’s gonna take up to one hour). Then, we put on our gloves, take our trash bags and start cleaning the streets in the nearest town while asking other people to join us -the time needed will be one to two hours. After cleaning and collecting the trash, we’re gonna settle somewhere on the main street and set up our interactive workshop. We put on songs and the posters that we made to attract people, and, depending on how much trash we have collected, we`re going to work on making art out of trash for one to three hours. In the meantime, we are still inviting people to work with us and talk about our project. When we are done with our work we will make an exhibition out of our trash-art at the local culture center so people can see the amount of rubbish on the streets and what we can do from it. Overall duration: ~5-6 hours. Results: Rising awareness about global pollution and at the same time collecting the litter from the streets while shaping it into art.

Ecology lesson 3: Recycling and sorting waste The overall duration: 2 hours 30 minutes The goal of the lesson: To raise awareness of the problem; To teach the audience how to sort waste; To make the audience discuss the problem; To share opinions; The preparation: Need to get materials for posters; Need to get materials for a presentation we are going to show them; Need to make the presentation (PowerPoint); Need to make a memorizing game (To take plastic bags) The program of the lesson: Come to class and introduce ourself; (5 minutes) To ask about their current knowledge; (10 minutes) To ask about their opinion on the topic;(15 minutes) Show presentation we made, to tell the basics (How it began, why it began and how to stop it); (25 minutes) Ask them to make posters (Basically, give a task); (30 minutes) Present those posters; (35 minutes) Memorizing game: we are going to give them 3 plastic bags, one color is for glass, second for paper and the last for plastic. After that, we are going to take off signs (that show what to but into the bag) and make them try to remember which bag is for what. (20 minutes)

Ecology lesson 4: Air pollution and deforestation Main goals: Raise awareness and knowledge about air pollution and deforestation; Teamwork and creativity; Make the first step to change the environment; To show the young generation how they can help the environment. Overall duration: 3 hours Description: Introduction with the topic (presentation with videos and photos) – 25 min; Divide class in smaller groups and they have to make a poster about the topic – 1 hour and 15 min; Poster presentation (every group about 5 min); Planting trees (40 min); Reflection of the lesson (10 min). Preparation: For presentation – speakers, computer, projector, prepared the presentation; For poster – papers (A1), markers, pencils, some magazines, glue, scissors ; For planting trees – trees (sapling) , tools (shovel, gloves, water, fertilizer), permission for planting tree. Result: At the lesson students make a poster (they can show posters in social media and for another student, as well as share with them knowledge and experience gained during the workshops).

Ecology lesson 5: Let’s be eco-friendly Overall breaks)




Main goal: improving the relationship with the environment; improving your skills in music, ecology, and teamwork; sharing our experiences with others using technologies and social media. Description: We divide the people into 3 teams. The first team will clean the surroundings. The second team will join with songs and fun. The last team will record from different angles. Preparation: For cleaning the surroundings: trash bags, gloves; For the short movie: at least 3 cameras and editing programs; For songs: instruments, speakers. Result: They have to prepare a short movie with all the activities and funny moments and post it on social media to spread it among young people. In the end, they have to make a reflexion about what they have learned.

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Be the change  

This publication has been realized with the financial support of the European Commission (Erasmus + Programme). It reflects the views only o...

Be the change  

This publication has been realized with the financial support of the European Commission (Erasmus + Programme). It reflects the views only o...