My first step towards sustainable living

Participants' photoreports August 2019 Estonia

The process of destroying natural environment of the Earth – the only planet known to be inhabited by humans – progresses at a terrifying pace. Huge international corporations and corrupted politicians are mainly responsible for the current situation. However, this fact does not take away from us, normal inhabitants of the Earth, an obligation to change our daily actions in order to make our lives more sustainable.

It is difficult to assess whether all of 24 participants of the My first step towards sustainable living project learnt this lesson. However, we need to admit, that the organizers from Continous Action did their best to raise awareness on this topic. The project was held on 11-18 of the August 2019 in Estonia. Other participating organizations were:

  • 4YOUth Foundation from Poland
  • Association Spin para o Intercâmbio, Formação e Cooperação entre os Povos from Portugal
  • Association Centrul pentru Dezvoltarea Instrumentelor Structurale (CPDIS) from Romania

The aim of the project was to promote self-reflection on our behaviour and inspire change through small actions.

We spent the first night after arrival in Tallinn. Thanks to that, we had an occasion to get to know one another and sightsee the medieval capital of Estonia. Organizers worked as our tour guides leading us through the old town. They also showed us an old rubber factory located in the suburbs. Thanks to the initiative and cooperation of different non-governmental organizations the place is currently being renovated and rebuilt as local culture center. After Tallinn, the next stop was the Prangli island.

 

The peaceful location, in which project took place, made all participants think about their lives and the current situation of the planet Earth. Prangli is an unique island with nearly one hundred inhabitants. The number slightly grows during summer months. Hopefully, beautiful ecosystem of the island maintained intact, mostly due to high prices which keep tourists rather away. On the island, we can also find one shop, a church and a school which works till this day.

We spent most of the time surrounded by trees, bushes and sheep grazing in the meadow. Classes started with agreement on the rules which would apply to us until the end of our stay on the island and presenting problems and practices used in sustainable development in our countries. During the following days, we were exchanging knowledge on inspiring entrepreneurial activities and developing our ideas of appropriate activities.

Learning about adopting Sustainable Lifestyle is not always easy and often requires changes of habits. That is why we were looking for ideas for small changes that we can implement in our lives (so-called life hacks) to be able to become more sustainable. We wondered, among others what products could be eliminated from our lifestyles and how to make informed consumer decisions. We also took part in a workshop on holistic thinking to deepen our knowledge of development and make sure that we all understand this term in a similar way.

 

Our discussions were accompanied by so-called energizers – short physical activity breaks prepared everyday by other national group. According to the Erasmus+ tradition the cultural evenings were organized, during which one of the national groups presented their country’s traditions and culture and treated people from other countries to liquors and sweets brought from their motherland. First cultural evening was Portuguese. Theatrical and musical display as well as amazing treats (burning sausage and chocolate shot glass) really made an impression on us. At the same time we started to being concerned whether we could prepare such an impressive evening as Portuguese one… Luckily, thanks to our improvisation skills, which we had certainly inherited from our Polish ancestors, and extremely interesting Polish culture, it turned out that we were able to organize no less interesting activities and attractions.

Despite constant attacks of the mosquito hordes and an inconvenience in the form of “sustainable” and natural toilet, we didn’t want to leave Prangli. We are tremendously grateful for the opportunity to spend time in such a lovely place and we do hope that this time we spent on learning and playing together will result in a real change in our way of thinking and living.

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