For many years now, we have been cooperating with Pekarna Magdalenske mreže – an Institute for the Support of Civil Society Initiatives and Multicultural Cooperation. They carry out critical literacy workshops for our participants, involving them as volunteers. In the last two years, we have participated in two projects on climate change at the city level. At the workshops prepared by experts, the participants gained a lot of knowledge in environmental protection, climate change, sustainable development and rational use of space in cities. Last year, they learned to make stop animation films and showed their views on current environmental issues through entertaining animated films. They also presented them to local authorities with the desire to initiate changes.
This year we joined a new project with a similar theme – A City for All. Out in the field, the participants learned with experts about the problem of urban heat islands and efficient and fair use of space.
They formed the vision for using unregulated and abandoned public spaces and then carried out an urban intervention. They placed warning signs with symbolic messages all around the city, such as “Uh, it is so hot in here” or “No more concrete surfaces, we need parks.” They aimed to draw attention to the importance of green and quality, accessible and well-maintained public spaces in the broadest sense. They also stressed that in maintaining public spaces, the opinion of those who use them should be taken into account. They created a commendable example of a green roof. They have prepared a plan and made a green roof on an abandoned transformer station in the city centre. Thus, in their way, they contributed to the reduction of thermal stress in the city. The project was led by Urška Breznik and Kaja Fiedler from the Institute Pekarna Magdalenske mreže. Participants developed a sense of belonging and participation in the local environment. After the project finished, they placed the warning signs in the immediate vicinity of our executive organisation. They realised that by doing small acts, each could contribute to a healthier environment and impact the awareness of others. The key is to recognise that we ourselves are our cities. The quality of life in them is also our responsibility, and we have the right to participate in decision-making. We are pleased to visit “our” green roof from time to time and proudly observe how the vegetation on it flourishes. We are grateful to the Institute Pekarna Magdalenske mreže for fruitful cooperation and hope for new joint projects.
In addition to new knowledge and experience, it is valuable that our participants get to know youth and other organisations in the local environment in this way. Here they can recognise their opportunities, get involved, learn and grow, e.g. as volunteers or participants in youth projects.
Klavdija Mirič (firstname.lastname@example.org), Maribor AEC