During November and December, we spent the last four weekends in the Info zone at the workshops of the Youth Seminar, a part of the project Active Youth for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Community Development. During the implementation of the activities, we had the opportunity to listen to eleven different lecturers.
The first workshop was reserved for strengthening communication skills and advocacy. Through interactive exercises, participants had the opportunity to explore various aspects of communication, develop assertive communication skills, and learn to effectively advocate their views.
The second workshop involved listening and participating in the topics of environmental protection, waste, and marine litter.
At the workshop, we learned many interesting information, such as that 40% of total waste consists of biowaste. Also, in the production of plastic bags from recycled materials it is necessary to add as much as 70% of new plastic! That is why we discussed how to reduce waste generation, and why it is important to start from the individual employing the principle of reducing and reusing before the waste recycling process itself.
We also reflected upon situations in which environmental problems occur, how to address them properly, and whom to report them to. We introduced them to Green Phone – Sunce’s free tool through which you can get legal advice or help in solving environmental complaints.
At the third workshop, we had the opportunity to hear about marine protection under the expert guidance of Sunce employees with many years of experience in the field of management of protected areas.
The participants learned about direct threats that affect biodiversity, with an emphasis on the issue of invasive species in the Adriatic Sea. We recalled the categories of protected areas in the Republic of Croatia, with an emphasis on Split-Dalmatia County, and got acquainted with BIOPORTAL – a web browser where you can get all the information related to protected areas of the Republic of Croatia.
We also talked about the minimum protected marine area of the Republic of Croatia of 1.93% and discussed what is necessary to achieve a higher percentage of protection. As far as protected species of the Adriatic Sea are concerned, the emphasis was placed on Posidona oceanica. The greatest enemy of the meadows of our endemic seagrass is the anchor. In one of its research projects, Sunce claims that the average density of shoots of P. oceanica in Mljet National Park is almost twice as high when anchoring is absent, rather than present.
While discussing invasive species that have been found in the Adriatic Sea, we notice that the intake of new species is frequently mentioned, whether caused by ballast waters or ocean warming and climate change. We also looked at the common practice of removing invasive species in other countries, and readiness if there is a sudden spread of allochthonous species.
The last workshop, lasting two days, was dedicated to the development of the project proposal and the way of managing the project cycle. Participants had the opportunity to receive instructions on writing and implementing the project. You can read more about the project cycle and the development of the youth project blueprint on our web pages – HERE.
In the end, after the awarding of participation certificates, the gathering was wrapped up with the game Secret Friend, which encouraged gifting our preserved belongings that are no longer in use and could serve someone else, instead of a consumerist gift. Thus, among the gifts, various plants, homemade products, handicrafts, and the like were found.
The topics discussed are important for contributing to the sustainable development of the community, which directly affects the improvement of the relationship with the environment in the local community. We also conducted a group evaluation which yielded satisfactory results and useful advice for future workshops.