Youth Conference Ravensburg 2019 – Sustainable Development

The fact that our planet Earth is slowly dying raises many concerns and there are many attempts to change that so the City of Ravensburg decided to organise a youth conference about sustainable development with the topic “Act Locally, Think Globally.”. With the support from the European Union (the EU program Erasmus+ Youth in Action), and other sponsors, the city authorities developed an Erasmus+ project which included students from nine countries – Germany, France, United Kingdom (Wales), Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Belarus and Croatia. The conference was six days long and it lasted from 26th October 2019 to 1st November 2019. The idea of the conference was to raise awareness about our habits and our impact on the environment. Through a number of workshops we learned what we could do more and how we could encourage others to change their lifestyles and reduce the pollution of the planet Earth.

Consumer Behaviour and Resources Consumption

Consumption of the resources in individual countries
Photograph: Krunoslav Rukelj

Each country had one delegation (except Israel and Germany who had two) consisting of two boys, two girls and a team leader. The members of the Croatian delegation were the students of Prva Gimnazija Varaždin: Erin Begović, Stela Radek, Sven Sekovanić and Leon Klobučarić lead by Krunoslav Rukelj, Geography teacher. Each member of the delegation had to measure the family consumption of water, gas and electricity and the amount of garbage they produce in a week. That way we estimated our impact on the climate change and determined not only what we could improve in our households, but also what our country could change to protect our environment. In the consumer behaviour workshop, we calculated our delegation’s food intake per year. Croatia had the smallest intake of sweets and we were one of the best when we talked about how much fruits and vegetables we eat. Surprisingly, Turkey had six times higher intake of sweets per year than Croatia. According to that, we calculated how many carbon dioxide is produced and how much water is needed to make that amount of food. The conclusion was that the production of meat and sweets is the worst for the environment and we were advised to lower the intake of those nutrients and eat more fruits and vegetables. Apart from food, we also discussed how we could reduce the usage of plastic in packages, the impact of smartphones and new technologies in general on the environment, what we can do to lower the traffic and usage of non-renewable energy resources and also how textile industries pollute the planet Earth. Part of the conference was a visit to the recycling centre where we saw and learned how garbage is separated, taken care of, and what they do with it afterwards. The whole conference was followed by many lectures about clime change, especially in last few decades. We were also told how we could make a difference, no matter how young we are and the best example for that is a young activist, Greta Thunberg, who has started a global campaign “Fridays For Future” which has inspired many to change their lifestyles and protect our planet.

Building Cultural Bridges

Croatian students with the Deputy Mayor of Ravensburg
Photograph: Krunoslav Rukelj

Concerning some activities that weren’t connected to the sustainable development, we had an official welcome in the Ravensburg’s city hall where we met the deputy Mayor of Ravensburg. After that we had a City game where we had an opportunity to see the beauties of The City of Towers and Gates. Through the whole conference we had cultural evenings where each delegation had an opportunity to represent the tradition of their country. We also had an international dinner where each delegation prepared a traditional meal from their country. All dishes were pretty simple, but at the same time really tasty, interesting and it was great to try some new combinations of food.

Croatian table for the international dinner
Photograph: Krunoslav Rukelj

To conclude our conference, everyone got “A list for a better future” where we wrote what we had learned during this conference and what we were going to apply to our lives in order to make the Earth a better place for, not only humans, but for all species living on the planet.

Written by Leon Klobučarić

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