From 10 to 14 August, the Latvian Fund for Nature, in cooperation with the magazine “IR”, organised a summer school for young people “Game On Climate Change” within the project “Game On: Don’t let climate change end the game!”. The summer school aimed to raise awareness of climate change among young people and introduce some specific climate-friendly actions. At the end of the summer school, the participants presented the ideas of climate-friendly initiatives, that were created in the hackathon and that the young people are planning to further develop.
Every day, the participants of the “Game On Climate Change” summer school learnt about how human activities in the area of transport, industry, agriculture, or architecture contribute to climate change. For example, exploring the transport topic, young people learnt about different modes of transport and their impact on the environment, as well as identified possible travelling alternatives. Anthropologist Viesturs Celmiņš was invited to participate in the summer school to teach about environmentally friendly urban solutions. He spoke about sustainable architecture and showed examples from all over the world.
To generate solutions for climate change mitigation, the young people at the summer school “Game On Climate Change” got acquainted with various mechanisms of public information and involvement. The participants met with an influencer Edgar Fresh to learn how to talk about the environment on social networks and how to attract a wider audience. The summer school also hosted a discussion on the impact of the media on society and how positive changes in public behaviour can be achieved through communication; this discussion included the participation of journalist Pauls Raudseps, the Head of Communication of the Latvian Fund for Nature Liene Brizga-Kalniņa, and an influencer BetaBeidz, aka Beāte Bērziņa.
Various creative activities also formed part of the summer school “Game On Climate Change”. Co-founder and chairman of the board of the Debate association “QUO tu domā?” (“QUO do you think?”) Mārtiņš Vaivars helped the participants to develop critical thinking and argumentation skills, leading a discussion in which the participants helped the Brazilian Minister of the Environment to decide how to deal with the protection of the Amazon rainforest area. Rūta Abaja, the project manager at the Institute for Environmental Solutions, offered the young people a workshop on natural meadow seed balls in order to show the possible options of sowing in different areas.
Learning about what climate change is and how it contributes to human activities in different fields, as well as how to communicate with society to inspire sustainable living, at the end of the “Game On Climate Change” summer school, the participants took part in a hackathon to develop and present ideas on climate change mitigation. The initiatives #GoVeloRiga and #ZaļāksTransports (#GreenerTransport) are designed as social media campaigns to promote the use of more environmentally friendly vehicles. The authors of the initiative #ZaļāPietura (#GreenStop) will work on providing a beautiful and oxygen-enriched public transport waiting time, cultivating plants at the transport stops. Excessive meat consumption will be combatted by #GNAB - the Meat Prevention and Combatting Bureau. Members of the #KlimataSpēle (#ClimateGame) idea want to create a game for schools that promotes environmentally friendly daily habits. In turn, the main form of communication of the initiatives #ZaļieJaunieši (#GreenYouth) and #MaināmTagad (#WeChangeNow) is video; therefore, various audiovisual materials are expected for public education that would help to evaluate current daily habits and introduce new ones.
The summer school “Game On Climate Change” is one of the first projects implemented by the Latvian Fund for Nature within the framework of “Game On: Don’t let climate change end the game!” activities. Until 2023, the project will hold public discussions, creative seminars, and other activities to encourage young people to combat the threat posed by climate change to the future of humankind. “Game On: Don’t let climate change end the game!” is a joint initiative of environmental organisations in 8 European countries, which aims to raise young people's awareness of climate change and how individual actions can contribute to sustainable and climate-friendly development, and to encourage young people to get involved in the 'climate game' - to become climate activists. In this project, Latvia is represented by the Latvian Fund for Nature.