Young Leaders, The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.
The Young Leaders Programme of The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago was created in 1991, though its roots date back to 1981. The aim is to help young people develop leadership skills, learn the value of working as a team and develop projects, which benefit the community.
Today, almost every secondary school in the country, as well as youth groups, vocational centres and cadet forces participate in Young Leaders. Students are given six months to complete a project under a theme.
In 1996, Young Leaders chose `The Environment: 21st Century - The Future in Our Hands'. Some of the projects undertaken included paper, glass and plastic recycling schemes, tree planting, cleaning of beaches, rivers and parks, beautifying school compounds, creating jewelry and other utility items from driftwood, paper and other waste materials, and wildlife exhibitions.
The Bank had a difficult task in choosing a winner from the many exemplary projects. The Williamsville students project, however, stood out. Inspired by the drowning of a student and his sister when the garbage-choked Guayacare River overflowed, the school decided to clear the River. The students spoke to villagers, undertook research on water pollution and tested the quality of the water. They wrote newspaper articles and produced TV programmes and posters. Signs were erected and the people signed petitions, which were presented to the Government to prevent further dumping. Systems were put in place ensuring the continuity of the project.
Greening Australia is a national, community-based organization working with Australians to establish, rehabilitate and manage Australia's vegetation. Since 1982, it has developed and implemented vegetation programmes for four national governments. Activities include the National Tree Programme and the One Billion Trees Programme through which more than 800 million trees have been planted, sown through direct seedling or protected so they could regenerate. In 1996/1997, Green Australia protected or regenerated 8,194 hectares of remnant vegetation and planted 5,000 hectares of trees and shrubs. Greening Australia encourages Australians to change the way they think about vegetation, and this has been achieved through grassroots activities. For example, during a 12-month period in 1996 and 1997, Greening Australia's 200 strong staff worked with 3,000 landcare and community groups and more than 500 local government organizations; conducted 300 public presentations, delivered more than 8,000 hours of training to landowners, schools, councils and community groups; organized activities attended by more than 28,000 people; and handled 22,000 requests for information. Green Australia stimulates community and business support which adds value to government funding by a factor of at least four, through funding, materials, equipment, skills, time, labour and land use.
Oeuvre de Bienfaisance pour Haiti (OBH)Ninety five per cent of Haiti's surface was once covered by forests. Today, this has been reduced to a paltry 0.5 per cent. Oeuvre de Bienfaisance our Haiti (OBH), established in 1992 and supported by the European Commission, aims to prevent soil erosion by planting once or twice a year 25,000 to 30,000 trees, strengthen the position of women, provide the peasants with a sustainable income; promote the use of neem seeds; and to control deforestation. To date, 225,000 trees have been planted, namely need and casuarina, and despite the area's arid climate (500 m per annum), more than 100,000 trees are still growing with heights of up to 8 metres. Other achievements include a marked decrease in soil erosion; the use of some trees as lumber; the use of seeds for medicinal and other purposes; paying same wage to both men and women counter to Haitian tradition' an increase in the social status of women; and bringing to public notice the ecological benefits of the project. OBH consistently holds discussions with the peasants and provides information to counter the traditional belief that "the tree is the enemy of the peasant". By paying for the planting and watering of the slips and the leasing of the land, OBH also provides employment for women, which not only helps them support themselves and their children, but also boosts their self-confidence and independence. In future, OBH hopes to provide additional income by encouraging the production of neem-oil as a natural insecticide and to control woodcutting.
|Ecole Propre/Ecole Verte|
Ecole Propre/Ecole Verte is an environmental education programme, which was created in 1992, as a pilot project, in four primary schools in Conakry, Guinea. Today, the project has taken root in 92 schools with 20,000 students participating. Its objectives are to: encourage schools to play an active role in promoting hygiene and environmental protection; to get students to spread the environmental message in their schools, families, neighbourhoods and villages; and to encourage parents and the community to take action.
Through their ecological clubs, the students ensure that the classrooms, latrines and yard are clean, and that flowerbeds are well managed. They control the sale of food around the school, and educate the community using plays, films, debates, radio and TV programmes and competitions. They publish a bulletin which is distributed to 25,000 subscribers regionally, nationally and internationally, and the content, including articles, cartoons, word and visual games, all dealing wit h the betterment of the environment, are produced by the students.
This programme has elicited great interest from a number of organizations, including the Canadian Study and International Cooperation Centre, which manifest their support by giving financial aid. Regular awareness campaigns and practical demonstrations are also held by the students. The success of this programme is evidenced by the concrete actions, which have been undertaken by parents and students alike. Under the banner Ecole/Quartier, the project has expanded to include other districts and villages.
Hellenic Marine Environment Protection
The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) Junior aims to promote the voluntary participation of children, between the ages of eight and 15, in the protection of seas and beaches. HELMEPA has an education programme, which operates in 12 geographical areas of Greece. With the support of the Ministry of Education, HELMEPA implements its programme whereby students are organized into groups of 10 and are asked to execute during the year, 12 of the following activities: voluntary clean-ups of beaches, lakes, rivers or streams; recycling of cans, paper or glass in their schools; creation and dissemination of information material; presentations at schools or at parent associations; publication of a newsletter; writing letters to the local press; presentation of group activities to the media, dissemination of information material to visitors in their area; cooperation with other HELMEPA Junior groups; creation/distribution of posters; production of audio materials with environmental messages; development of comic books starring seabirds and other marine animals; production of a weekly or monthly radio show; and conducting polls among the local population. HELMEPA produces a newsletter, which reports on the progress of the groups, and provides teachers with updated information on the marine environment and its integration into the curriculum. HELMEPA set up a permanent and mobile exhibition. More than 170,000 children have visited the exhibit to which they are transported free of charge.
Leave It To Us Junior Board
The idea of holding an International Children's Conference on the Environment in Eastbourne, England in October 1995, came from the Junior Management Board of a local zoo park. This idea was supported by Eastbourne Borough and the East Sussex County Councils, which won the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and eventually secured a major sponsorship from British Airways, whose contributed included the provision of free flights for delegates around the world. Some 800 children from 90 countries attended the Conference. They presented and discussed environmental projects they developed, devised and debated "challenges" to the United Nations and national governments, and participated in study tours and workshops on environmental themes. It was accompanied by an extensive exhibition/display area open to delegates and the general public, and a week long festival organized by the Borough Council and local business for local children and visitors. During the planning of the conference a Junior Board was established to work closely with the conference sponsors and organizers. This Board comprised members from local schools, foreign nations and played a vital role in developing the Conference programme, selecting facilitators, devising workshops and study tours. They also introduced and chaired sessions, organized and presented the environmental "challenges" and attracted media interest. Today, the Conference is being considered as a regular event on the global environmental scene.
Red Scarf Environmental Protection Action Group
Wangyue Primary School was set up in 1989. In 1991, at the suggestion of the students, the Red Scarf Environmental Protection Action Group (RSAG) was created. Once a week, the pupils leave the school grounds to observe their environment, analyze pollution problems and propose solutions to the polluters and the Government. In 1992, RSAG discovered that a lot of wastewater from a brewery was being discharged into the Xiangjiang River without being treated. This situation was reported to the local environmental protection agency, and at RAG's suggestion and under its supervision, a waste water treatment station was built. There was a time when there were 10 garbage dumps in the Wangyue residential area, which contaminated the environment. RSAG noticed this and proposed to the area committee that the rubbish be packed locally and collected. As a result, the situated was changed and dealt with appropriately. In 1996, RSAG initiated a movement to wipe out "white pollution". Under their leadership, the movement spread throughout the school, the district and city. More than 10,000 students took part and the district government prohibited the use of all plastic foam dinner sets. RSAG has also carried out activities dealing with environmental education and summer camps. They have written essays on the environment, which have won awards at the provincial and city level. In 1998, Wangyue was chosen as an environmental education model by the Environment Protection Agency of Hunan Province.
All-China Women's Federation
When International Working Women's Day (March 8) was marked in 1990, the All-China Women's Federation launched its Green Engineering Programme. Six years since, the programme has attracted the support and participation of both urban and rural women throughout the country. Every year, the Federation organizes 120 million urban and rural women to take part in voluntary tree-planting activities. To date, 4.2 billion trees have been planted. In 1995, during the Fourth World Conference on Women, some 500 pine and cypress trees were planted in Huairou, near Beijing in an effort to express friendship and unity among all women of the world. Since 1993, supported by the Ministry of Forestry and through their Green Engineering Programme, the Federation has set up similar tree planting effort in 22 cities and counties in 16 provinces. In urban areas, women have planted trees and grown grass to make cities more green and beautiful. The Federation has also helped some 80 million women to attend training courses on applied new technology in forestry. In five provinces, namely Hubei, Jiangxi, Zejiang, Hunan and Guangxi, the women have planted trees on 193,000 hectares, fruit trees on 37,300 hectares, and transformed 2,500 low-yield hectares by planting tea oil trees. Through the All China Women's Federation and the Green Engineering Programme women have played a significant role in afforestation and environmental improvement activities in China.
Global Environmental Action
In 1991, Global Environmental Action (GEA) was established as a non-governmental organization (NGO), whose committee comprises decision-makers of high standing in the fields of policy, industry and academia. GEA is continuously playing a key role as an advocator of environmental protection and sustainable development in close collaboration with UN organizations. In March 1992, three months before the Rio Summit, GEA held its first international Eminent Persons Conference on Financing Global Environment and Development in Tokyo in collaboration with the UNCED Secretariat. The results of this Conference, presented to the special session of the Earth Summit for consideration, did much to pave the way for the successful discussions and outcome of the Summit. In 1994, GEA hosted its second international conference entitled "Tokyo Conference on Environmental Action" in cooperation with the UN Committee on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). Using the conclusions of this conference as a base, the '94 Tokyo Declaration was sent around the world calling for a deepening international dialogue and global concrete actions, which would contribute to sustainable development. In 1997, to review the implementation of Agenda 21 and provide input to the UN General Assembly at its Special Session, GEA, in conjunction with UNCSD, held its third international conference entitled "Global Partnership Summit on Environment".
Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps - (PaSEC)
The Pennsylvania Senior Environment Corps (PaSEC) is the first partnership in the United States between the State Department of Aging and Environmental Protection. This private sector programme is the Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) - a national non-profit coalition dedicated to increasing the involvement of older citizens in environmental volunteerism.
PaSEC's goals are to: increase the involvement of older citizens in local environmental problem-solving; provide quality-controlled environmental information on environmental concerns throughout the state; change the traditional view of seniors from frail to vigorous; improve the health of retired citizens who are not traditional volunteers; use skills and leadership capabilities developed through lifetimes of experience; involve home- bound and frail elderly in productive community activities; and create a sustainable, community-based resource for inter-generational mentoring in a positive, productive setting.
In 1997, the year PaSEC was founded, 300 senior citizens volunteered to participate in this project. In the first two years water quality monitoring was undertaken, and some 250 stream sites are being tested monthly for state-identified parameters. Twice annually, the volunteers carry out stream habitat assessment and bio-surveys, and all collected data is entered into an electronic database developed by EASI.