Eco-School - the way to sustainable development (phase I)

Implementation period: October - March 2011

People often forget that nature satisfies directly or indirectly our most essential needs. The abundance and variety of its gifts made us believe that its resources are inexhaustible, and man can use them without limitations. Now is the moment to understand that man and society are parts of the biosphere, and man depends on the resources provided by the nature.

Now, special attention should be paid to the environmental education, which develops the attitude of responsibility in the use and conservation of natural resources. Thus, the education has a crucial role in the educational process and will print an ecological thinking about the world.

To promote the education for sustainable development, the National Environmental Center, came up with the idea to introduce a model of education, which involves the application of the acquired theoretical knowledge in practical activities, using observation and analysis methods, teamwork, civic participation, strengthening in the same time the understanding of democratic principles of the society. Therefore, with the support of the Embassy of Finland in Bucharest, it was possible to build - up the Eco-School in the Republican High School of Real Sciences.

This pilot project aims to develop citizenship and participatory spirit of the young generation; to strengthen the understanding of democratic values of society by participation in debates, expressing opinions;  to develop analytical thinking of youth in order to follow the path of sustainable development, which involves the creation of a new vision, where the environment, society and economy are parts of the whole.

The target group of this pilot project are students of  9-12 grades from Republican High School of Real Sciences; teachers and school administration; parents interested in supporting children's initiative, representatives of environmental NGOs and media representatives.

Within the project was created the Eco-School Council consisting in majority of students and teachers from the high school, who together with the National Environmental Center have developed the Eco-School strategic operational documents. The Council was formed of three working groups on priority areas, selected by its members: water, air and waste.

The Eco-School Council examined and approved the Regulation, which provides methods of election and re-election of members, responsibilities, objectives, rights, frequency of meetings, etc. The Eco- School Council’s working group  made an assessment on the school environment, on priority areas identified by reference to the environmental situation in Chisinau, and the place where the school is located. This evaluation was summarized in the Report on the Environmental State, developed by pupils, assisted by teachers and NEC. Then, based on the analysis, it was developed The Environmental Action Plan. Certain activities like cleaning the riverbed, keeping the riverbed clean, planting trees and talking with the population on how important is to keep the water clean, were organized in co-operation with the National Environmental Center. Students, who were members of the Eco-Council had the opportunity to participate in the biological monitoring of river Isnovat organized in March 2011. On 16 April 2011, the students together participated actively in the action "Hai Moldova!” organized by an initiative group, whose purpose was to clean the entire country in single day.

The most important result of the project is the contribution to forming an environmental mentality and attitude of the youth who study in the Republican High School of Real Sciences. The project foresaw to develop a clear vision on sustainable development, civic participation, democracy, freedom and responsibility of election, natural balance, decision-making process and social responsibility.

Another result relates to the development of a new model of education in the field of sustainable development, which could be implemented at the national scale, in more schools of the country, thus contributing at building an adequate mentality of the citizens towards the environment in the whole country
Creation and strengthening partnerships between students, teachers, school administration, parents, civil society, local authorities, business community, in order to implement various civic initiatives beneficial to society, is another significant result.

The brochure "Eco-School - a chance for us and Earth”, was elaborated within the project. It makes a short outline on sustainable development and the processes initiated by the activists to transpose this idea in real life. This booklet contains information about the stages of creation the “Eco-School” for those interested in the approach direction of education for sustainable development.
Some reflections on education for sustainable development can be found in Articles "Sustainable development ... reality or dream? (I) “, " Sustainable development ... reality or dream? (II) "and “Education - the foundation of society".

Looking optimistic ahead to our future, involving our common effort to redress the ecological situation in the country, through education and awareness of citizens to take care of the wealth offered by our common home - the Earth, we have the chance to enjoy again beautiful pictures sung in Eminescu’s poems, which will warm our hearts and will soften our souls.