Developing new ideas and approaches to support young people’s (positive) attitude towards taking active action has been a big topic in the European Union. Young generation is becoming more and more aware about what is happening to our environment, about decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels. It is a general tendency that young people lose trust and confidence in political institutions and try new ways to find their voice and express themselves politically.
Therefore the Austrian-Ukrainian Youth Green Conference became a powerful tool to bring together young, bright people to talk about some pressing topics of today. Developed and organised jointly by the European Wilderness Society, partner in the Centralparks project and FORZA, Agency for Sustainable Development of the Carpathian Region, the 3-day Conference hosted approx. 60 young students from Ukrainian and Austrian schools. The event used many innovative ways to address the topics of sustainable transport, environment, the importance of wildlife and protected areas.
Centralparks was presented to these kids as an example of how the EU supports such transnational projects. They had the chance to openly discuss the importance of the Carpathians, the many ways local communities can benefit from such natural values and how can local decision-making bodies and communities be encouraged to be open for new tools for nature conservation. The presentation and related discussions were powerful to bring appreciation for natural treasures on a local level. Regardless of the level of development, cultural and societal differences, the nature in each country has its uniqueness and intrinsic value. Kids learned about the history and wildlife in the Carpathians, the purpose of protected areas and how human actions can influence the future of the Carpathian mountains. At the end of the day, kids were proud to know that they can contribute to the protection of the rich biodiversity of the Carpathians, in particular in the Ukraine.