Young here we are – The Mayors and Presidents Meeting at EUROPARC Conference

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The role of the young generation

As every year during the EUROPARC Conference, our president Ignace Schops organised a session with all the member, talking about the central topic of the conference and how to develop it. The reunion was open with a general introduction made by Cairngorms National Park President Peter Argyle, talking about our role as human being in the nature and how our little gestures are influencing the planet. What is about Biodiversity? We as human are related to 0,01% biomass of the planet, which is why we need to act in a sustainable way.

“If we people start to think that we can change it will happen”

When we talk about sustainability we need to think that every topic has to be related, starting from the economy, tourism, lifestyle. It’s the moment that we need to pass from a linea to a circular economy, based in a inclusive way of living instead of a separate one.

Youth representative presenting the Youth Manifesto

Youth representative presenting the Youth Manifesto

In the panel discussion were present different examples:

  1. Cairngorms National Park

In the park, that was also the one that hosted the conference this year, the president said:

“Our park is a park for everybody”

They developt different programmes:

  • Junior ranger project that runs for years and the young are fundamental for the maintenance of the park itself;
  • Travel grant program was the funding is provided by the school to permit that everybody can reach the park;
  • Panoramas, that helps to give a sense of  belonging to young people;
  • Educational resource, producing every year new papers and tool that can be used as a school material;
  1. Youth + Representative

The aim of this Manifesto that was presented during the conference:

“Co-design a sustainable future. Now.”

Is a call for change made by young people, that have worked in the production of this Manifesto, explaining the action that they already had done as 2 workshop, one in Finland, one in Scotland and their volunteer to have a young empowerment, living, learning and working connected with what they love: nature.

  1. Parc Naturelle Regional

We belive in, and love our territory”

That’s why the park is involved in many activities:

  • Different project like the building of houses for birds and bees with the local community
  • Recycling: from wooden pales, young people made fitness courtyard and object to use in parks, such as benches
  • Environmental protection: creating educational programmes with the primary school to present at the final of the year in the “environmental week”
  • Live together: a group was sharing the opportunity to restore a “petange” and renovate an entire pavilion
  1. Parco Nazionale delle Prealpi Giulie

“Is never enough to do, we can always do a lot for our park”

The involvement of young people was always the key for the different program developed:

  • A guide from the park go to 4 schools during the year, giving lesson to the children (till 14 years old), talking about the different aspect of the park
  • Since 2007 is formed the Europarc Junior Ranger (from 14 to 18 years old)
  • Young board council: is formed by young people from 16 to 30 years old, that are actively part of the park decision. The directorate gives them a budget to spend on projects that they have to run out and develop, after the approvement of the general council.
  • Youth at the top: is a camp based on a specific theme and this year was the first one about “Climate Change”

So as we can see from these examples all over Europe there is this volunteer to involve the young generation in the decisional process.

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