Moscow schoolchildren reduce ecological footprint in agriculture

Author: Ludmila Zhirina

Text edited by  Bamidele Oni, Founder, Green Impact International

In the months of April, May and June 2020, the SPARE program for teachers and schoolchildren of the Moscow region was held in a remote format. The program included regional coordinators, active teachers, and schoolchildren of more than 25 schools. They conducted a remote brainstorming session, two webinars, and adjusted the plans of action for Moscow schoolchildren in the new conditions.

Our active group invited schoolchildren and teachers to take part in a theoretical weekly online intensive and a regional virtual workshop themed "Innovative resource conservation in agriculture will help reduce your ecological footprint." We have sent out the workshop guidelines to 250 email addresses! The mass distribution of newsletters helped create a forum dialogue and attract the attention of new participants in the SPARE program.
In the online intensive classes, students learned to think innovatively, identify steps for their goal, plan and prioritize. Special attention was paid to the ability to calculate the sequence of actions and the time to complete each stage. The ability to conserve  energy and time is important when participating in such workshops.
Many Moscow schoolchildren went to the countryside for a period of self-isolation and began to explore the possibilities of resource and energy conservation in their own garden. But most of the children decided to conduct an experimental workshop on the windowsill of the apartment, in the loggia, on the balcony.

Participants of the virtual workshop "Innovative resource conservation in agriculture will help reduce your eco-trail" decided to think about the spring preparatory work in agriculture. The guys suggested their families to use cardboard sleeves from toilet paper for germinating vegetable seeds not disposable polypropylene and polystyrene cups. More than 30 families wrote that they did not buy plastic seedling containers, but used cartons from dairy products, egg cartons and even eggshells.

Schoolchildren who went to the countryside decided to offer their own methods of resource conservation in agriculture. They designed reservoirs to efficiently collect rainwater and use it for irrigation. Many families began to create compost heaps from household and agricultural waste. As a way to save energy, for drying vegetables, fruits, medicinal herbs, they used the energy of the sun, wind, residual heat of the bath and stove. To protect the wood, fences of willow branches were built to decorate and protect the garden from rural animals, and old building materials were used to make benches in the recreation area.

Each workshop participant takes photographs, records observations in a diary, makes resource-saving calculations, calculates his eco-trail and rejoices at the opportunity to prevent greenhouse emissions. The children use the materials of the SPARE program published on the Program website and plan to include these calculations in their school projects.

More than 400 schoolchildren of the Moscow region and their families took part in the virtual workshop “Innovative resource conservation in agriculture will help reduce your eco-trail”. This helped a large number of city dwellers start greening their lives in new directions: "Do not use disposable", "Green cleaning", "Energy and resource saving", "Eco-volunteering", "Sharing economy", "Eco-friendly menu", "Time management".
At the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, workshop participants plan to initiate a dialogue on how cities can better cope with the impact of unforeseen situations through economic recovery, strengthening resilience, with the help of schoolchildren.




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