It is advisable to bring environmental friendliness up and take it into account in all projects, even if the theme of the project is not environmental. Good examples help green choices spread further and become more common. Don’t hesitate to try new things and change familiar habits. Also remember to share your experiences and set an example to others. New practices and habits become normal very quickly and people will soon wonder why things were once done in a different way. Making a change is easier with an encouraging and positive attitude that does not blame anyone. Green choices and reducing consumption have been found to increase wellbeing and happiness. We have compiled tips and guides for how it is possible to learn about sustainable development, talk about it and develop the operating culture of one’s own organisation.
Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are huge challenges faced by humanity. Solving them requires cooperation at different levels, from local to international. In Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps, environmental responsibility has been defined as a priority that should be part of all project activities – even projects in which the theme is not environmental as such. The aim is to enable the participants of the programme to become real drivers of change in the promotion of sustainable development.
If you would like to promote environmental responsibility in projects, this is what you can do:
- Choose a greener means of travel
- Make more ecological choices during the periods abroad and when organising events, for example, with catering
- Hold events or participate in them virtually where possible
- Choose green issues as the theme of your project
- Discuss environmental responsibility in different contexts
- Remember to share your experiences and good practices!
Sustainable choices in everyday life and in events
Green choices in projects and mobilities may permanently change participants’ habits and make them greener as well as helping them to spread into the immediate environment and to the participating organisations. A large number of good practices worth sharing have been developed in Finland. However, there is still a lot we can do better and many opportunities for us to learn from others.
The most ecological way to organise meetings and events is to organise them virtually, but emissions can also be reduced in many ways in physical meetings and conferences. Furthermore, it should be noted that virtual activities also cause emissions, but even they can be reduced with different methods.
The programmes encourage participants to take advantage of the opportunities of green means of travel, which according to the definition include trains, buses and car-pooling. To make it easier to choose a slower means of travel, a top-up for green travel is available. In addition, it is possible to get travel compensation for several days.
Finland’s geographical location makes green travel to other parts of Europe challenging. However, there are some options and it is worth exploring the size of the emissions of different modes of transport. Trains are by far the most ecological option, while there are considerable differences in the emissions of ships. Therefore, if participants want to reduce the carbon footprint of travelling, they should choose a ship with the lowest possible emissions and continue the journey by train. It should also be noted that one direct flight to the destination is significantly more ecological than several flights.
Travelling by land is often a richer experience: it brings local life and nature closer and enables the traveller to experience Europe while the landscapes and different local conditions keep changing.
Green themes as the content of projects
When projects are selected, contents that develop the awareness and competence related to environmental and climate issues and promote a change in consumption habits and the way of living are an important priority.
The themes of projects that promote environmental responsibility may be, for example, the following:
- methods for understanding and handling climate and environmental issues
- drawing up plans for sustainable development
- supporting environmental education through art
- developing an environmentally responsible operating culture
- knowledge and competence in sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources
- building thematic networks and partnerships around environmental topics
- supporting environmentally friendly consumption habits (e.g., reduction of waste and energy consumption, low-emissions travel and circular economy.