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Three4Climate: Teachers from Germany visited their colleagues in Portugal to exchange on best practices in climate education

The host: Professor Sebastião school in Salir/Loulé

The Professor Sebastião Teixeira school is located in Salir, a rural village in the heart of the mountain range of the municipality of Loulé. Mrs. Cristina Faísca and Mrs. Goreti Frankzy are two examples of many other teachers in the school who mobilize their students to be part of the transition to become climate neutral and of the promotion of the region’s natural patrimony value and heritage. This school is also a pioneer regarding renewable energy production and self-consumption. With the support of the municipality, it has installed an infrastructure of solar panels capable of producing up to 40kW of power (more info here!).

The school hosted teachers from Celeirós School (Braga, Portugal) and from Friedrich von Bodelschwingh Gymnasium Bethel (Bielefeld, Germany) for a two day visit with a focus on the exchange of good practices and experiences to foster the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate action into daily school activities and lessons. This visit also involved the collaboration with and support from the city council of Loulé, with the participation of the mayor (Mr. Victor Aleixo), the municipal climate action team and the Regional Energy Agency of the Algarve Region.

The participants of the Teacher Exchange visit together with mayor of Loulé Mr. Victor Aleixo. Copyright: FCiências.ID

The promotion of sustainability and climate action was not only reduced to this two day event. It started earlier with the participants from Bielefeld travelling to Loulé: Jens Ohlemeyer and Tobias Dewald made the journey of nearly 3000 km without causing any local emissions, demonstrating that another way of travelling is possible. For more information on the zero emission trip see here.

Day 1: How to link Education for Sustainable Development to hands-on nature conservation

On day one, participants were warmly welcomed to the school in Salir, Loulé. The corridor of the schools was turned into an art exhibition showcasing the students’ submissions to the Three4Climate contest on their vision of a climate neutral city, school, country or world in 2050. To learn more about the Three4Climate student contest, go to the community post Congratulations to the winners of the Three4Climate school contest.

In the corridors of Professor Sebastião Teixeira School in Salir, Loulé the submissions of the students to the Three4Climate student contest were presented to the visiting teachers from Bielefeld, Germany and Braga, Portugal. Copyright: FCiências.ID

The Three4Climate teachers joined grade 9 students on a study visit linked to the to “Coast Watch Europe” project which took them to Ria Formosa Natural Park, the seaside of the municipality. This project aims to get students involved in the monitoring of the fauna and flora of this emblematic natural park, as well as in the removal of rubbish and invasive plants. The study visit was a perfect example of how to integrate ESD in a lesson and how to at the same time contribute to the preservation of the natural heritage.

The visiting teachers joined students in removing rubbish and invasive plants from the beach as part of the Coast Watch Europe project. Copyrights: FCiências.ID

After the study visit, the Three4climate teachers met to analyse and discuss the status of the integration of the ESD and climate action education into the school curricula, taking the Prof. Sebastião Teixerira Salir School as an example. The approach to the topic of sustainability and climate action in daily lessons often depends on the willingness of each individual teacher. Prior to the teacher exchange an online survey was conducted to collect methodologies, techniques and tools teachers in Loulé and Braga have been using to approach the topic of climate change in their subjects. Based on the results, the Three4Climate teachers elaborated an action plan and next steps in order to further promote the topic in their schools.

Day 2: How to address Education for Sustainable Development in all subjects

On the following day, teachers from the Pr. Sebastião Teixeira School organized an open day on which the topics of ESD and climate action were addressed in each subject. The visiting teachers had the opportunity to share best practices by co-teaching with their colleagues. Some examples of the lessons held are a gardening session during which students planted seeds brought by the teachers of Bielefeld (Biology lesson), the creation of a peddy-paper with questions related to climate action (various subjects), a bicycle ride in the school vicinity (physical education lesson) and related lab experiments (chemistry lesson). Participants from Bielefeld also contributed to the English lesson by presenting their e-trip to Loulé. For this presentation even the mayor of Loulé, Mr. Vitor Aleixo came to Pr. Sebastião Teixeira School and was accompanied by the municipal team for climate action and by representatives of the regional energy agency of the Algarve.

The visiting teachers from Braga and Bielefeld had the opportunity to share best practices by co-teaching with their colleagues at Professor Sebastião Teixeira School in Salir, Loulé, Portugal. Copyright: FCiências.ID

A networking lunch offered by the municipality of Loulé not only strengthened the relationship between the participating teachers, but also with the core team of the municipality of Loulé . The mayor of Loulé expressed his wish for future joint projects and exchanges between the municipalities of Loulé and Bielefeld.

Keeping the spirit of the Three4Climate project alive

On their way back to Bielefeld, the teachers from Germany stopped Braga, Portugal at the School EB Celeirós which is also part of the Three4Climate project. Mrs. Graça Pereira, Mrs. Isabel Pinto and Mrs. Mafalda Parente (Three4Climate Braga Teachers) organized for a Ginko biloba tree to be planted together with the teachers from Bielefeld, before they continued their route to Germany. The tree now serves as an emblematic symbol of fraternity and commitment to keep the spirit of the Three4Climate project alive and to continue the collaboration for climate action between these two schools.

On their way back to Germany, the teachers from Bielefeld stopped at the partner school in Braga to plant a Ginko bilbao tree. Copyright: Jens Ohlemeyer

Congratulations to the winners of the Three4Climate school contest

Further Information

Winners from Germany

Meret from Bethel Gymnasium in Bielefeld submitted a passionate essay that is an appeal to politicians to listen to scientists who have been warning against the severity of climate change and its consequences. Meret describes how she draws hope for a climate neutral and climate just future from participating in climate strikes organized by Fridays For Future. To her, climate justice means that the countries most responsible for climate change take responsibility because: “Yes, [here] we also notice that the weather is getting more extreme, especially the hotter summers. But the MAPA (most affected people and areas), which have contributed the least to human-made climate change, feel the greatest consequences”. Her vision is a life in solidarity together without racism, classicism, sexism and other forms of oppression. With her essay, she won the first prize at her school.

Model of climate neutral Bielefeld of the future built with modelling clay. Copyright: Marieke Kaasch

Smilla, Marieke and Linn, the first prize winners from Gymnasium am Waldhof also in Bielefeld used modeling clay to build a model of their dream future. In a video they introduce the characters Lea and Emily who guide viewers through climate neutral Bielefeld of the future. Lea and her neighbours grow vegetables together so they don’t have to go to the supermarket very often and adjust their diets to the seasons. Private cars are completely banned from the city, citizens shop for their clothes in second-hand stores and meat is only sold in one local shop. Emily, now a teacher at the Waldhof Gymnasium looks back at how the climate movement led by figures like Greta Thunberg has sparked revolutionary rethinking in the population, politics and the economy which enabled change.

Marlene and Greta who made a short film that shows their vision of a climate neutral and climate just future “that it is worth fighting for” were awarded the second prize at Gymnasium am Waldhof in Bielefeld. In the movie they explain that the necessary transformation of all spheres of life like mobility, electricity generation, agriculture, industry, waste management as well as consumer choices and political frameworks requires all people and politics to work together now.

Winners from Portugal

The winners of the first prize from Loulé’s Escola Sebastiao Teixeira – Teresa, Ângela and Eliana – constructed a paper model of “Cidade TAE”. TAE city is the most sustainable city of the future and stands out as a city with many green spaces and with solar panels on all buildings. In the video submitted by the three students, they guide viewers through the city and give examples of what the sustainable lifestyle of its citizens will look like. For example, all the food provided in the school cafeteria will be organic. Further submissions from Loulé included more models of future cities and schools and of sustainable houses by Micael, Jéssica, Sofia, Amália, André, Leandro, Guilherme and João.

Model of Cidade TAE (TAE city) built by the winners from Loulé’s Escola Sebastiao Teixeira Teresa, Ângela and Eliana. Copyright: Maria Goreti Franzky

Raquel, Leonor and Sérgio, the winners of the first prize from Braga’s Agrupamento de Escolas de Celeiros shared their vision of a decarbonized world in a video. According to them, in 2050 cars will no longer exist since everyone will be moving around by walking, cycling, rollerblading and skating. In the future, all school material will be digital to no longer waste paper and other materials. Everything that is sold will need to have a carbon neutrality seal. The industry will also play a central role in decarbonization. Factories will be equipped with mandatory filters and new ways of ecological production will have been discovered. The second and third prizes in Braga went to Salomé and Emília who submitted drawings of their visions of a carbon-neutral life in the future.

Winners from Slovenia

Tea, Rasina and Lea are the first prize winners from Maribor. In a video they compare what life will look like in 2050 “if we take care of our planet” vs. if we don’t. In the optimistic scenario, people can continue drinking clean tap water and spending quality time outdoors with their pets. If nothing changes now, clean water will become scarce, people will have to wear masks when leaving the house because air pollution has become an even more severe health threat. The second prize in Maribor goes to Lora and Melisa who compiled a five-minute video in which they explain the main causes and consequences of human-made climate change. Karla, the winner of the third prize from Maribor, submitted an essay written from the perspective of a young tree whose family and fellow trees have been cut down by foresters and who urges humans to remember that “our common fate is in your hands”.

Ela’s calendar on how to save the planet. Copyright: Ela Bevk

Ela, Neža and Žiga, the first prize winners from Kranj, created colourful calendars with each month of the year containing drawings of ideas on how to protect the planet. Žiga for example reminds viewers to avoid shooting fireworks for New Years. Neža promotes taking the bus instead of driving in individual cars in the month of May. Ela suggests saving energy by turning off lights during the day in June.

What’s the prize?

The Three4Climate Team thanks all students from Germany, Portugal and Slovenia who participated in the contest. Congratulations go out to all of you! As current circumstances don’t allow for the students to go on an international train ride, the first prize winners from both schools in each country will instead take the train to meet within their country and enjoy three days of exciting exchange activities and workshops in June. They will also get to present and further work on their contest submissions with each other. A virtual meet-up will give them the opportunity to connect with winners from the other countries. The student trips will of course only take place if national Covid-restrictions allow it. It will be organized by the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU) and the project partners Faculty of Sciences – University of Lisbon (FCiências.ID) and Energy Agency of Podravje (Energap). To follow the students’ activities and look out for more pictures and insights, the Three4Climate project will share these via the EUKI channels.

Here you can see screenshots from some of the described student contest submissions from the Three4Climate Schools in Germany, Portugal and Slovenia. Copyright photos: © Maria Goreti Franzky, © Salomé Carvalho, © Emília Gomes, © Marieke Kaasch, © Ela Bevk, © Neža Rihtaršič, © Žiga Leben, © Raquel Sila, Leonor Machado, Sérgio Martins