The Academy in Curitiba took place on 4/23, 2019. 27 children from the Escola Municipal Dario Persiano de Castro Vellozo were keenly waiting for the academy to start. The event was free-of-charge for all the attending children, aged from 9 to 12.
The Academy began with some welcoming words of organizers Marina and Renata. Then the full attention of the children turned to the presentation “Now we children save the world!” given by Climate Justice Ambassadors Renata and Natália. Complex topics, such as sources of CO2, global warming, photosynthesis, the climate crisis and global justice were presented in a suitable way for children – and nobody could be better for that task than children of the same age as Renata and Natália. After the presentation, the participants had the chance to clarify their questions.
For the following part the children were divided into small groups, to learn about global distribution and global justice in the so called “World Game”. The children distributed tokens, sweets and balloons among the continents displayed on the world map. The three playing figures symbolize the world’s population, wealth and CO2 emissions respectively. After seeing the real life distribution of these resources, all children agreed that the distribution was unjust. Although only 0.5 percent of the population live in Northamerica, they possess almost 30 percent of the world income and emit 20 percent of CO2 emissions. Therefore the children redistributed the sweets and balloons, in order to visualize how a fair distribution would look like and to keep in mind that everyone should have equal rights.
In order to take action and speak up for their future, the children need good presentation and speaking skills. Therefore the particpiants prepared and presented short passages from the opening presentation they had listened to in the morning in rhetorical training. They gave each other feedback on how to improve their presentations in the future.
Everything passed as if the hours were minutes and then, it was already lunch time. All sat down to eat and soon after They had lunch, Melany approached one of the volunteers, pointed to the courtyard that was full of trash, and said, "Teacher, look! They are polluting our planet!", The volunteer replied "True! What do you think of us collecting?" And the girl, without thinking twice, then said, “Let’s do it!". Not a minute later, Melany already had a black garbage bag in her hand saying she wants to clean the patio, all loved the idea and went for the collection. It was not long before many other children offered to help and in the end they had put together three big garbage bags.
After the lunch break, a small group practiced the final presentation for the evening event and the rest of the children started the World Café. During this activity the participants were collecting ideas to the questions how to get the attention of the media, how to motivate adults, friends and classmates and how to organize a planting party. Afterwards the children gathered in their school groups and planned their own project, which they would want to implement after the Academy.
At the end of the day the children proudly presented the prepared presentation and their ideas from the World Café. The group that made the Academy presentation pointed out an unusual one among the others: to implement the "Meatless monday" in their school. The seal group created the FOCA project (Inspection, Organizing, Awareness, Helping – these words, in portuguese, are Fiscalizar,Organizar, Conscientizar, Ajudar, that way, putting together the first letter of each word, we have
FOCA, that means SEAL). The Lion group decided to make the "Dario's Garden", in addition to the vegetable garden, another garden in the school. The Cat group decided to do a School Workshop, with their Environmental Practice teacher, to help the other students at school, learn as well. The Cub group created a project with cleaning goals, such as: not getting the school dirty, clean the classroom, separate and recycle the garbage.
An interesting day had come to an end. Apart from the experience and newly found knowledge, all participants were appointed as Climate Justice Ambassadors and received a certificate and a Plant-for-the-Planet T-shirt. Organizers and guests were very impressed by the performance of the children.
One week later the children had the opportunity to take action for their future right away:
They went to plant trees!
Before the activity started, the representative of the Environment Secretariat, Leandro,explained to everyone how to plant and told the kids along the planting that the plants needed to be cared for, to be well treated in order to grow strong. Properly explained, they went to their respective seedlings and started planting. Each child had a seedling for itself. Everything went well and smoothly and they organized themselves so that everyone had the opportunity to plant.
The Academy was made possible thanks to the Plant-for-the-Planet Programme Coordinators Marina and Renata. Special thanks go to all the other supporters. Without their support the Academy would not have been possible.