Living with the Sun in European Schools
LIVING WITH THE SUN IN EUROPEAN SCHOOLS
The negative health effects of overexposure to the sun are a growing worldwide concern. The INTERSUN program was launched in 1993 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to study the effects of UV radiation on health, and provided WHO member states with recommendations to prevent these risks. There are many: sunburn, cataracts, and skin cancer, especially when this exposure takes place during high levels of UV radiation.
The risk is amplified by certain behaviors : tanning fashion, multiplication of outdoor activities, lack of knowledge of the solar risks, lack of use of protection means and an incorrect use of cosmetic products. In Europe, the population is facing a steady increase in skin cancer cases in recent decades. 144,000 new cases of melanoma are reported each year, a toll that has increased by 237% over the past 30 years. 27,000 melanoma deaths are also reported in 2018. In France, skin cancer (mainly melanoma) kills 1,500 people per year, with the number of new cases doubling every ten years, becoming the leading cause of cancer-related death in the 20-40 age group. The fair skin of a large part of the population constitutes an important risk factor.
Studies estimate that most solar radiation is received before the age of 18, with outdoor activities being predominant during childhood. It is therefore very important to raise awareness from early childhood on the risks related to sun exposure.
As a UNESCO club member and in collaboration with the WHO collaborating centre for solar education Sécurité Solaire (Sun Safety), Passerelles Info develops educational curricula aimed at promoting education for health and sustainable development. In particular, the programme entitled Vivre avec le Soleil (Living with the sun - LWS), dedicated to solar education, mobilises 75,000 teachers in France and elsewhere (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Canada etc.).
After various requests from foreign governments and associations in Canada, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain...and taking into account the WHO recommendation in the field of skin cancer and cataract prevention, Passerelles.info and Securite Solaire are considering to extend LWS to European countries. Namely, the project "Living with the Sun in European Schools" aims to study the transferability of the methodology described above. The target group of the project is primary school pupils (3-12 years old).
Passerelles.info and Securite Solaire hope to work on this project in partnership with European organizations. Within the framework of a possible partnership, two specific objectives seem to be able to be pursued through the multidisciplinary educational programme LWS:
- To carry out a solar education and prevention action in European schools
- To promote cooperation between schools from different European countries (Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland...)