9.5 Green volunteering, production and consumption
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There is no official strategy or agency that would cover topic green volunteering specifically targeted at young generation, but the current Strategy of the Slovak Republic for Youth for 2021 – 2028 includes the topics of climate crisis and global environmental issuses, green volunteering and carbon neutrality.
The financial support from state budget through the Environmental Fund (Act on the Environmental Fund) is limited and usually not directly open to youth organisations or young people themselves.
As we live in a globalized world, which is far too complex to give us all opportunities to be active members of global movements, many young people as well as adults, are actively engaging in their communities - either place, or interest-based. Many of these communities give opportunities for their members to be proactive in green volunteering. Globally, such activities are roofed by Transition Network.
Locally, in Slovakia, one can find them almost everywhere - from local community gardens, to revitalised public spaces in our cities. Usually, no big movement or organization stand behind such movements and are solely based on.
As for more formal and centralized organizations relevant in the field of green activism and volunteering, the most active in Slovakia are the following:
- Centre for Environmental and Ethical Education Živica (literally Resin), which is an organization based in Zaježová and Bratislava hosts number of programmes for active young people, who are interested in green volunteering. Sokratov inštitút is one such programme, where a cohort of 20 young people from 18 - 32 years of age take on year-long studies of global education related topics and issues, while also starting-up their own socially impactful or green project. Živica also has a prominent green programme Zelená škola, which targets young people through schools.
- Friends of the Earth Europe in Slovakia does mostly policy related work, but provides resources for young people to be active in green policy making, as well as gives young people and broader public opportunities to be active parts of different petitions.
- Greenpeace Slovakia is one of very few organizations in the country which systematically works with green campaigns and with green volunteering and activism, providing training and workshops for their volunteers, while giving them space to engage in different direct actions.
The transition to circular economy is defined as one of the strategic priorities of the Strategy of the Environmental Policy up to 2030. In the area of legislation, the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic is currently setting important aspects of the functioning of waste management. It is also striving to change consumption and production patterns by using economic instruments, including strengthening green public procurement.
The Slovak Environment Agency was entrusted with the operation of the Enviroportal by the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic.
Circular Slovakia is platform in which the public, private and third sector work together to exchange knowledge and stimulate entrepreneurship in the circular economy. In December 2019, the seven founding partners signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in support of the establishment of the Circular Slovakia platform at the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic. By June 2020, another 20 members from the private and non-governmental sectors and the science community had signed up to the platform.
Youth for Climate is an initiative managed by NGO called Youngsters. The Youth for Climate Instagram acount currently has 27 500 followers. In addition to the facts on about climate, the instagram account provides inspiration and tips about what young people can do to help the climate.
The Tree of life is an environmental, non-governmental, voluntary and non-profit organization working with children and youth towards the protection and enhancement of the life on Earth. At the same time. Its aim is also to develop children's emotional intelligence, influence their value system and strengthen their personal responsibility to themselves, others and to the world.
Green Foundation is a Slovak program-based Foundation transcending Central Europe that primarily focuses on developing social innovation, adapting society to major challenges such as climate change, new technologies, and supporting young people’s civic engagement. Green Foundation is currently concentrating its attention on the program Roots & Shoots by Jane Goodall and development of coworking and community center of great ideas – Búdka 22.
Truly Healthy School is a programme aimed at helping school children to develop the skills and habits needed for a successful and healthy lifestyle. The Really Healthy School program builds on the experience of the same program in the Czech Republic (and a similar program in the UK - Food For Life Partnership - FFLP), in which more than 70 schools have participated since 2014, offering 3,000 lunches per day under FFLP rules. The program helps to create a culture of healthy eating in schools. It helps school canteens to offer healthy and tasty meals prepared with fresh and seasonal products purchased from local farmers or grocers.