UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS - Become a pathfinder for change
The Klorane Botanical Foundation strengthens its commitment to education for sustainable development through its role as a founding partner of
UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS shifts the spotlight to men and women around the world who have launched remarkable projects in education or awareness for sustainable development to build a better future. They are the “Pathfinders for change”.
In partnership with UNESCO and SIPA PRESS, eight projects symbolic of the concept of transmission were selected in Japan, Senegal, Vanuatu, India, the United States, Egypt, Nicaragua and Britain. The portraits and documentaries allow these pathfinders for change to emerge from the shadows and share their story. These exemplary citizens can show us how to care for our planet, face the challenges of the future and make the best choices for a sustainable world.
Since 2008, in collaboration with the CNRS, the Klorane Botanical Foundation has given special support to the “Great Green Wall” with the aim of fighting against desertification in the Sahel by planting 60,000 desert date trees in Senegal over a 6-year period.
This action was recognized by UNESCO, through its UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS program, as an emblematic example of education for sustainable development.
The Klorane Botanical Foundation is strengthening its role as a beacon of change, by acting as a founding partner of UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS.
UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS is a traveling exhibition open to the general public and decision-makers
This project will travel around the world, sharing these new practices of sustainable development.
From 7 November 2016 to March 2017 at COP22 and in the Moroccan Airports
On the occasion of the COP22 that will be held in Marrakesh from 7 to 12 November 2016, the UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS exhibition will be presented in several airports from November to 2016 March 2017.
Come discover the exhibition in:
- the Marrakesh Merena airport in November and December 2016 - at the occasion of COP22.
- the Casablanca Mohammed V airport from 16 January 2017 to 15 February 2017
- the Rabat-Salé airport from 16 February to 9 March 2017
- theTanger airport from 10 March to 1st April 2017
- the Fès Sais airport from 3 avril to 28 april 2017
a platform for sharing experiences and best practices:
Travelling exhibition "Unesco Green Citizens" 2016
The eight projects selected by UNESCO GREEN CITIZENS as emblematic examples of education for sustainable development
A “GREAT GREEN WALL” AGAINST DESERTIFICATION IN THE SAHEL
The Sahel continues to suffer from widespread drought, village have been deserted and the ecosystem is threatened. To fight desertification, which has beset the Sahel, and its impact on the local population, 11 African countries came together in 2004 to launch a solution to this major ecological challenge: the “Great Green Wall”.
The goal is to create a multi-species belt of vegetation, which will cross the African continent from Dakar to Djibouti, over 7,000 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres in width. A number of native species have been selected as they are suited to the semi-arid climate and will fill in this Green Wall. In Senegal, the Klorane Botanical Foundation, in partnership with The French National Centre for Scientific Research, initiated the planting of 10,000 desert date trees per year over six years. These species provide a vegetation-based cover and a sustainable source of food and income for local populations.
Farming has started up again in the villages and local communities are now trained on land maintenance. In parallel to the construction of the “Green Wall”, many educational programs have been implemented. In schools, children are taught the importance of the environment and its protection through hands-on exercises. Nurseries and vegetable gardens have been created in Widou Thiengoli (Senegal) to increase date tree planting and to encourage the production of local food crops. Scholarships have been granted to PhD students for research on desert date tree properties. Finally, summer schools have been established to involve local communities while improving their access to healthcare services.
EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITIES WHILE PRESERVING OUR NATURAL HERITAGE
The Nilgiris (literally, the “Blue Mountains”) is the first Indian biosphere recognized by UNESCO and is the home of Indian Aborigines, the Adivasis.
To remain self-sufficient and to educate their children, they created and developed a tea plantation, which today allows them to preserve their ancestral land without affecting its unique natural heritage. Growth in the Adivasis population has created the need for a school and a hospital in the area.
These services, which previously were only accessible after several hours of walking, are now available to children within their own communities, including girls who were often refused treatment and feared being beaten on their way to the schools further away. Schools teach reading and writing, but also the tribe’s traditional dances and songs to ensure the survival of their traditions. Adults are also able to attend school with a view to working in the local hospital where patients are treated in their native tongue.
Thanks to these initiatives, over 50 of these children are now pursuing higher education, and maternal and infant mortality rates have significantly declined over recent years.
A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE FISHING IN BRITTANY
In the late 1980s, due to overexploitation and global warming, which pushed fish stocks towards northern Europe, scallop fishing in Brittany was under threat.
To protect this biodiversity and prevent the loss of their traditional skills, fisherman joined together and adopted a certain number of restrictions. They work with various organizations such as IFREMER (the French Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) and the Iroise Natural Marine Park in order to structure their activity and allow for the sustainable management of the scallop population.
The number of fishing days allowed is now limited. The size of vessels and width of the fishing net mesh is heavily regulated, and a licensing system has been put in place. The fishermen have set their own quotas, which change throughout the fishing season. A number of educational measures have been put in place in schools to raise awareness amongst children from a very young age about the economic and natural wealth that scallops represent for the region. In Erquy, school outings underline the importance of sustainable fishing.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
RESTORATION OF THE GULF COAST IN MISSISSIPPI
The oil spill caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010 was the last episode in the Gulf Coast’s decade of catastrophes. This series of disasters caused major damage to the region’s environment and economy. Since 2010, the population has come together to restore and revitalize the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems. By calling on local labour to take charge of this restoration, the community has become vocal in defending the broader cause of environmental protection. An educational program was implemented to train underprivileged youth on aquatic resource management. For example, they learn to conduct assessments on site restoration, erosion and aquatic species, and they participate in the search for solutions to restore the environment and therefore the region’s economy. Not simply a professional training course for students, the program offers an opportunity to appropriate this region for future generations.
A RECYCLING SCHOOL IN EGYPT
Cairo produces 14,000 tonnes of waste every day. At the foot of Mokattam, in this vast metropolis, live the trash collectors, known as “Zabbaleen”. They live off the income from the garbage they collect and have become a “cast” in their own right, often excluded from society. In 2004, Ezzat Guindy created the Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) to ensure recognition and management of the Zabbaleen status by the State, in order to improve their living conditions and to bring them a certain dignity by transforming their work into an actual business. Today, waste sorting and recycling is a major industry.
With UNESCO’s support, Ezzat created the Recycling School, which gives children basic education, as well as health recommendations and practical training to turn recycling into a genuine trade. This turns the complex process of recycling into a trade that has a positive impact on society. A number of educational programmes have been implemented: literacy, mathematics, hygiene, as well as practical and commercial skills related to recycling. The school has provided education to over 350 children.
PROMOTING AND TRANSMITTING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
The Bosawas Reserve in Nicaragua is home to the indigenous Mayangna (or Sumu) people who have lived there for centuries. They have developed intricate and extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna, and have shaped the territory’s ecosystem through their cultural practices. This biosphere reserve has been threatened with extinction since 2005. At the request of Mayangna leaders in Central America, UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme launched a project to record and safeguard Mayangna knowledge and perceptions of the world.
The first phase chosen focuses on fish and turtles, a primary source of protein and a vital part of the Mayangna way of life. In 2010, after extensive communitylevel consultations, the LINKS programme published “Conocimientos del Pueblo Mayangna sobre la Convivencia del Hombre y la Naturaleza: Peces y Tortugas in Spanish”. The publication captures in meticulous detail the breadth and depth of indigenous knowledge about the aquatic world, weaving together empirical observations on behaviour, habitat, reproduction and migration patterns, with social commentaries on sharing, learning and harvesting, as well as cosmological reflections on human-animal relations and local spirits. This provides a starting point to improve the management of biodiversity by combining science and indigenous knowledge.
PERFORMING ARTS TO CHANGE BEHAVIOUR
On the Vanuatu islands, the Wan Smolbag Theatre NGO believes that performing arts can change the world. Here, they use theatre and film production to change behavior within the populations of Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands with regards to the environment, health and citizenship. The theatre performances touch on a variety of topics: agriculture, fishing, but also nutrition and health, to educate people on the benefits of a balanced diet. Founded in 1989, this NGO now has 100 employees and 400 volunteers. In addition to the artistic offering, the NGO has implemented many educational programmes. These pathfinders for change have protected turtles and the coral reef to better preserve the environment. They have fought domestic violence and promoted the role of women in society. Finally, they are also involved in the prevention of STIs, in particular HIV. This prevention has allowed for a considerable increase in the number of young women who seek information on contraception, and it has also changed mentalities markedly within the community. Today, more and more men, who often believed previously that contraception was a woman’s responsibility, come to pick up birth control pills for their partner, as well as condoms.
USING RICE FARMING METHODS TO TEACH ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
In northern Japan in the region of Tohoku, Chiba Tomio, a farmer, opens the doors to his rice paddies to schools in the region. The ESD Rice Project, which is a regional cooperation-based initiative that uses the example of rice farming methods to promote sustainable development education, contacted him. Children visit the rice paddies and participate in various activities to discover the local fauna and flora, and to learn how to protect them. They also learn to farm by stirring the earth, sowing, weeding, harvesting, threshing and, finally, tasting the rice produced. Meanwhile, in the field, the young apprentices study food and live species, which raises their awareness on the natural riches of their environment. Through this initiative, the ESD Rice Project addresses various sustainable development issues using the example of rice: consumption, production, biodiversity, prevention of natural risks, water, GMOs, etc. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand also participate via a network of schools. This network shares information programmes on best practices for the production of rice, an essential grain for these countries whether it be from a social, economic, nutritional or environmental perspective.