ENO: climate change action globally through education
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Image: ENO programme
Greta Thunberg has done a great job striking with other students because of climate change. But we can also act through education. People must be more aware of climate change and its effects, as well as of practical ways to mitigate and adapt to it. Mika Vanhanen, founder and CEO of Environment Online (ENO), believes students can pave the way in this field.
ENO is a global school and community network for sustainable development. Since it began in 2000, the network has spread to over 10,000 schools in about 160 countries. Climate change has been a regular topic for us: our schools have been planting trees since 2004 and raising their concern through campaigns. We have also organised global conferences and contests like the Treelympics.
To empower students, we recently organised the World Summit of Students for Climate. It took place from 29 May to 5 June in Finland and was carried out in co-operation with the cities of Joensuu and Helsinki, supported by several ministries and under the patronage of the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. A total of 135 students (14-17 years old) and 100 teachers from 70 countries came together.
Image: ENO programme
Students discussed climate change, the interventions needed to curb it, and the role of forests in this. They voted on actions they could take as students and announced the Climate Action Plan 2019-25. Their secretariat got to work immediately after the summit. Schools also announced the Climate Agreement, whose goal is to sequester 3 million tons of CO2 by 2025. Tree planting is the only easy, concrete and measurable way to carry this out. We have tree-planting schools and tree-adopting schools that work together to this end. This initiative of adopting trees came from the President of Slovenia, Bohut Pahor.
We call on all European schools and students to join this movement. And we invite partners in Europe and around the world to join hands. It’s time to act together.
Mika Vanhanen is the founder and CEO of ENO, which is coordinated by ENO Schoolnet Association in Joensuu, Finland.