Eco-Schools International Ceremony Paris, France
November 18th, 2017: Opening Ceremony
The best way to describe the mindset of myself and my partner at the Eco-Schools International Ceremony would be initially “flying blind”. We did not know what to expect as we made our way to the conference. It was quite daunting to be in a room with so many knowledgeable and influential people. At first, it was extremely intimidating to say the least. But luckily our nerves quickly dissipated as we began to speak to some of the representatives. We found them to be both friendly and incredibly informative in their fields. It was very interesting to learn about their diverse points of view with regards to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The first representative we interviewed, Peter Dae Young Kang, was from South Korea. He chose to talk about SDG goal 14 (life below water). This is extremely important to South Korea as the country is a peninsula with many public beaches. On the governmental side, programs such as ‘Blue Flag’ have already been implemented to promote clean beaches. In addition to this there is a new non-profit program aimed at reducing beach waste by promoting citizens to deposit their trash in recycling vending machines and receive sunscreen as payment. The concept is similar to glass and plastic recycling machines in North America which return deposit money when materials are recycled.
The representative we interviewed from Iceland spoke about a main priority of increasing the dwindling Birch tree population on the island. To accomplish this goal they have planting programs where volunteers plant trees throughout the country.
The representative from Brazil spoke about the importance of education. They stressed how it is one of the country’s main goals to educate children about climate change and its effects on the earth. They believe that the children are the ones who will be able to make a difference in the future.
During our interviews and discussions with the representatives we found that their national programs were as varied and diverse as their countries. They shared a common goal of working to make the world a cleaner place for the citizens of tomorrow.
Although each country had different programs already implemented or in the planning stages, there was a common thread between them all: their citizens. Without the help of the local population, no programs will succeed. By educating the citizens of their respective nations with an emphasis on the younger generation, these organizations believe that people will become more motivated to make positive changes that affect the planet.