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Three4Climate inspires zero emission trip across Europe

The idea

The first 2,300 kilometers from Bielefeld (Germany) to the project partner school in Braga (Portugal) should be covered by travelling in an electric car (Mercedes-Benz EQV), having enough space to carry the two teachers and their school e-bikes. To go from Braga to Lisbon and then to Beja (another 500 kilometers), the train should be taken and finally from Beja to Loulé two of the electric bicycles from the Friedrich-v. Bodelschwingh Grammar School e-bike sharing scheme would be the final means of transport for the last 150 kilometers. The teachers linked the trip to the e-CROSS GERMANY mobility project which was started at Friedrich-v. Bodelschwingh Grammer School in 2010. With Three4Climate and e-CROSS GERMANY, the school participates in the programme “School of the Future” of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

From Bielefeld to Braga via electric car

On Friday, October 1st at 04.00 a.m., Tobias Dewald and Jens Ohlemeyer started the electric road trip in Bielefeld. They needed to stick to a very strict plan of accessing the available hyper power charging stations on their way to reach Braga in Portugal in time on Sunday. Fortunately all the HPCs (hyper charging stations) in Germany, Belgium and France worked flawlessly and recharged the battery from 10% to 100% in 45 to 60 minutes. In Brussels, Tobias Dewald and Jens Ohlemeyer, met with Katerina Fortun from the Climate Pact Secretary of the European Commission to hand over urgent demands of the Three4Climate students for more climate action by the European Union.

From Braga to Beja by train

On Sunday morning, October 3rd, the two teachers were welcomed from the partner school in Braga, and continued their journey by train to Porto and Lisbon, taking their e-bikes with them. On the comfortable train to Lisbon, they could also recharge their personal batteries after two days of travelling without much sleep.

From Beja to Loulé by e-bike

On the final day of the journey, Monday, October 4th, the teacher team took the train from Lisbon to Beja and cycled 50 kilometers from Beja to Aljustrel/Messejana to visit a large 13.9 MWp solar power plant (electricity for about 8,000 households) to show and communicate where our energy should come from and that our future is electric and emission free. From there it was another 100
kilometers by e-bike to Loulé at the Algarve coast. Due to the very hilly terrain at the Algarve and quite some luggage, the last part of the journey was rather exhausting despite the electric support of the bicycles. On top of that, 23 kilometers before the destination of Loulé, the first of the e-bike batteries went offline and 10 kilometers before Loulé, the second e-bike battery was empty.
Hungry and exhausted, but absolutely determined to reach their aim in the intended way by bicycle, the two teachers pushed their bikes with heavy luggage on the last 10 kilometers up the ascents of the Algarve hilly topography and arrived in Loulé at around 11 pm just before midnight.

Cooperation to continue beyond the Three4Climate project

Very happy with the successful emission free journey, Tobias Dewald and Jens Ohlemeyer were welcomed by the partner school in Loulé on Wednesday, October 6th, and worked together with the teachers from Braga on projects to reach climate neutrality in the EU by 2050. Vitor Aleixo, the mayor of Loulé/Salir, invited the mayor of Bielefeld, Pit Clausen, to Portugal to continue exchange
programs with young people from both countries and cities.

The project schools of Braga, Loulé and Bielefeld will also continue their school cooperation beyond the Three4Climate project with official school partnerships for future projects, as the Three4Climate project was a huge success. A lot of inspiring ideas for effective climate protection measures were created with the call for expanding education for a sustainable development in schools. Strengthening the bonds between the participating three countries Portugal, Slovenia and Germany was another very important aspect of the project since new friendships across Europe developed and thrived.

Copyrights for pictures above: Jens Ohlemeyer

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