Younger Europeans dedicated to the surroundings provide progressive options for sustainable improvement

ENGAGED GENERATION. They are between 18 and 30 years old and, alone or in a group, invest in favor of the planet. As part of the European Youth Conference, five projects were awarded and highlighted. Enough to make this generation real players in the challenges of tomorrow.

An itinerant laboratory of curiosities, which visits schools in priority neighborhoods or isolated rural areas. “Wonderlab”, the project led by Justine Goyon, 29, and her association Les passers de curiosities, is part of the of the five winning projects of the call for projects “Youth and eco-committed”, the results of which were announced at the European Youth Conferencewhich took place from the 24th to the 26th of January at the European Parliament in Strasbourg – and remotely due to the health context.

Children from 4 to 11 years old can discover various ecosystems there, in a fun way, around an investigation designed in the model of escape games. The call for projects allows Justine to benefit from a financial allocation of 10,000 euros, in addition to the support of the Ministry of Youth teams. “We are at a turning point in our project. The tests are complete, as well as the prototype, and we need additional resources to start the next phase”, explains the young woman.

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“Being part of a community of young people on the move”

In addition to the financial aspect, Justine also enjoyed participating in the European Youth Conference. With the feeling of “being part of a community of young people moving to do great things”.

She was thus able to get involved in the production of a collective climate fresco, as well as in a workshop on environmental education and sustainable development goals. “It allowed me to interact with young people across Europe who have the ambition to make this planet a little greener. I was surprised by their professionalism.”

An impression shared by the Secretary of State responsible for Youth and Engagement, Sarah El Hairy, at the end of the three days of meetings: “We have seen high quality projects. In addition to the advocacy dimension, they are very operational, she welcomes. With ‘La Friperie du Sport’, for example, we are asking ourselves how to make second life a mode of daily consumption, in particular sport, while making sport activity more accessible. This project led by ANESTAPS (student association in science and technology of physical and sports activities) and which aims to collect and make available second-hand sports equipment, is already in operation on several campuses.

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Solutions to address sustainable development challenges

Alongside “Wonderlab” and “la Friperie du sport”, three other projects were selected by the jury and the participants: “Green Tsunami”, which offers a new solution for greener festivals, “Ouroboro”, a plastics recovery project on the back and “Recypient”, which develops reusable packaging for food products.

More generally, the call for projects made it possible to highlight innovative solutions carried out by young people : aquaponics kits, plant and seed exchanges, plastic collections, apps to share ecologically responsible places, etc. A way to show that everyone is full of ideas for adapt to climate changepromote the circular economy and the management of waste and natural resources, act for biodiversity or even develop citizen education for sustainable development.

This is also what motivated Lola Ott, 28 years old from the Octop’us association. Her project, “Revolution is in the hair”, was selected to be presented also during the European Youth Conference. “This call for projects is the opportunity to make our solution known to the widest possible network, with this European dimension., explains the young woman from Strasbourg. And the opportunity to raise awareness that hair is no longer a waste, but a resource.” The association uses cropped hair to clean water in case of oil spills or pollution.

A total of 55 projects were submitted by 117 participants from 15 EU Member States since last October. Substantial material to think about tomorrow’s solutions. “Youth must not be used as a pawn, a guarantee to bring proposals on the challenges of society, they must be able to really participate”, insisted Sarah El Haïry.

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