The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
Results Empowerment Change
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Green Pack, Green Pack Junior, Green Steps

Implementation period:
2000–Present

Project leader:
Kliment Mindjov

Green Pack, Green Pack Junior, Green Steps

“I would like to congratulate the REC for the great job that they have done. This Green Pack is very important for raising awareness of the public in the European Union, but also for neighbouring countries. The programme in previous years has involved about 12,000 teachers and more than 1.2 million students. It’s really an incredible number of people who have been educated and will pass the knowledge to all those who are around them. This will raise awareness of environmental issues, climate change — which is very important not only for the protection of the environment, but also for public health and for the sustainable economic development of our areas.”

Stavros Dimas, European Union Commissioner for the Environment (2004–2010). The remarks followed a presentation of the Green Pack to the European Parliament in 2007.

Background
Inspired by the political process “Environment for Europe”, in 2000 the REC launched a programme on education for sustainable development (ESD), sponsored by Toyota. This included the development and introduction of an innovative multimedia educational kit, the Green Pack, for schoolteachers and their students in Central and Eastern Europe. Other ESD tools similar to the Green Pack have been developed and introduced in recent years to address different target groups.

After 15 years of project implementation, the Green Pack has been introduced in 18 countries in Europe and Asia. Since 2001, it has been used to educate around 40,000 teachers and over 4.5 million students, fundamentally changing the way in which the teaching of sustainability is approached. Each project has been developed in cooperation with businesses, governments, professional organisations and NGOs in order to foster community support across a broad spectrum of society. Many donors from the international, governmental, business and private communities have supported the process.

The Green Pack has been presented at many international forums, including the Fifth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” in Kyiv (2003); the Green Week initiative of the European Commission in Brussels (2003); the UN Decade of ESD opening conference in Beijing (2004); the European Parliament in Brussels (2007 and 2011); and the UNESCO ESD conference in Nagoya (2014).

The development and adaptation of the Green Pack involves close cooperation at national level (authorities responsible for economic, social and environmental development); professional level (institutions, organisations, universities and NGOs); individual level (educators, scientists, politicians and decision makers); and international level (political, business and not-for-profit organisations). This methodology encourages the active involvement of local partners in the adapting and upgrading of the Green Pack and allows them to take charge of teacher training and Green Pack dissemination. This in turn motivates local partners to improve the quality of the materials, produce new editions and train new groups of teachers.

The development and adaptation of the Green Pack involves close cooperation at national level (authorities responsible for economic, social and environmental development); professional level (institutions, organisations, universities and NGOs); individual level (educators, scientists, politicians and decision makers); and international level (political, business and not-for-profit organisations). This methodology encourages the active involvement of local partners in the adapting and upgrading of the Green Pack and allows them to take charge of teacher training and Green Pack dissemination. This in turn motivates local partners to improve the quality of the materials, produce new editions and train new groups of teachers.

Goals and objectives
The Green Pack programme goals are to build capacity, transfer know-how, and improve opportunities for sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe and worldwide through the introduction of a tailored and flexible multimedia toolkit. The concrete objectives of the programme are to:

  • raise awareness of environmental and development issues among teachers and pupils, thereby raising overall social awareness;
  • encourage individuals and groups to address environmental issues and concerns in the context of sustainable development; and
  • invest human resources and capacity building into education, teacher training and public awareness raising.

Product structure and components
The Green Pack is primarily intended for use with students aged between 11 and 15. It emphasises the formation of new values and behavioural models for all social environments — school, home and society.

The toolkit covers between 22 and 25 topics related to environmental protection and sustainable development, and includes a teachers’ handbook with lesson plans and factsheets for students, a collection of animated clips and educational films, an interactive CD-ROM with a valuable library of information on environmental and development topics, and a dilemma game. Lesson plans feature complementary video presentations and additional information, with links to relevant websites.

Green Pack topics are structured into five chapters:

  • Environmental components: air, water soil and biodiversity.
  • Threats to the environment: urbanisation, noise, waste, radioactivity, electromagnetic fields, landmines and chemicals.
  • Human activities and impacts: energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and tourism.
  • Global challenges: climate change, ozone depletion, acidification, desertification, mountains and glaciers, and seas and oceans.
  • Values: consumerism, human health and the environment, citizens’ rights, and responsibility for the Earth’s future.

Each of the main Green Pack components — the CD-ROM, teachers’ handbook, film collection and dilemma game — follows the same structure.

Innovations
The Green Pack materials interpret the sophisticated messages of a number of political processes and initiatives (Environment for Europe, the post-Rio process, the UNECE Strategy on ESD) as they relate to the implementation of the sustainable development concept in countries undergoing political and economic transition. The Green Pack adapts these messages for targeted groups of educators, teachers and students in the following ways:

  • Specific challenges are presented in their global, national and regional contexts, as well as at the level of the individual citizen.
  • Sustainability is conveyed in a compelling, accessible way and in multiple formats.
  • Emphasis is placed on the formation of new values and behavioural models. Students and teachers work as partners in activities, discussions, role-playing exercises and decision-making situations.
  • Students are encouraged to take a proactive approach towards environmental and local development challenges, and are asked to share their new-found knowledge and skills with family members.
  • Discussions are initiated with local community stakeholders on ways to achieve sustainable development.

Other ESD tools

Green Pack Junior
The REC developed a version of the Green Pack to provide teachers of children aged between seven and 10 with simple, accessible materials promoting sustainable development. It helps younger children to grasp the concept of sustainability by focusing on the environmental impacts of choices made at home, in the supermarket, at school, in the park and on holiday. The materials, divided into between 10 and 12 topics, explore interactions between the environment, society and economic development. A structured lesson plan is provided for each topic, along with supporting materials required for course planning and delivery. Each lesson plan provides teachers with background information on the topic, lesson objectives, the methodology used, the materials required, and suggested locations. Related factsheets, handouts, simple tests, dilemmas and stories are available at the end of each lesson plan.

Green Steps
This multimedia toolkit aims to raise public awareness about sustainable lifestyles, citizens’ environmental rights, and changes that individuals can make in their everyday lives to contribute to sustainable development. The primary targets are members of civil society organisations, but there is also valuable information for educators, students and families. The Green Steps awareness-raising materials, which will be tailored to individual countries in the future, are divided into four sections: a virtual tour around a number of locations typically visited in the course of everyday activities; information on 25 to 30 topics related to environmental protection and sustainable development; a series of around 50 factsheets that can be used in educational and group activities; and an encyclopaedia containing information on up to 300 species common to Europe.

Further information

Green Pack | www.greenpackonline.org

Green Pack Junior | gpjunior.rec.org

Green Steps | greensteps.rec.org

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