Informing young people from the Republic of Moldova about the phenomenon of climate change and adaptation measures

The notion of "climate change" is often perceived as something abstract, a process that does not directly affect us and whose consequences can be easily rectified. The low degree of sensitivity to the subject causes indifference and generates inactivity in society. Every person believes that, as long as he has access to drinking water, has abundant food and lives in a sanitized environment, he is protected from any imminent natural catastrophe.
But are so far the times when there will be no way back for the mankind? - this is the key subject that we want to awake in the consciousness of the young generation, animating them about the effects of climate change in the Republic of Moldova, the causes of such effects and the contribution of each in the process of their mitigation. Effects of climate change in the Republic of Moldova are primarily felt by reduced amount of surface water, groundwater sources as well as rainfall. The droughts are becoming more and more frequent and the population observes and feels the lack of water directly. At the same time, farmers feel the lack of water for irrigation and for growing crops, looking for new sources of water or solutions to grow that crop. There are many things unknown in society about the effects of climate change, but also about measures to mitigate them. Research shows that these effects arebecoming more intense and the consequences will be particularly borne by the young generation that will be working as adults in the next 20-30 years. Unfortunately, our educational system does not draw attention to this issue and does not prepare the young generation to deal with the effects of climate change and to act accordingly. Only teachers from pre-university education institutions who are dedicated to the profession can mention about the notion of climate change, effects and possibly adaptation measures during the geography, ecology and biology clases.
The general objective of the project "Informing young people in the Republic of Moldova about the phenomenon of climate change and adaptation measures" aimed to increase the level of awareness of the young generation regarding the effects of climate change and the adaptation measures.

Within this project, the following activities were implemented:

Within the project, a set of materials has been developed, which will serve as informational support for the pre-university education institutions and governmental organizations in the formal and non-formal education process on issues related to climate change: effects, causes, mitigation measures, adaptation measures. These materials include a guide about the phenomenon of climate change, which also contains a number of adaptation measures. Teaching material can be accessed here, being previously distributed to education departments, schools and the general public through e-mail and social networking. At CNM's recommendation, materials can be used by teachers or civic activists as teaching materials for ecology, geography, biology, where climate change issues will be discussed.

Taking into account the fact that the effects of climate change in the Republic of Moldova have direct consequences on reducing the volume of surface water and groundwater sources, it is very important to analyze the current situation and to act, rehabilitating and protecting our water resources. Water protection is one of the climate change adaptation measures foreseen by the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy by 2020, which requires a number of actions to be taken. To raise the awareness of the young generation about the consequences of climate change on water resources and the urgent need to act in the near future to

 alleviate these effects, an ecological expedition has been carried out within the Raut river sub-basin, the largest hydrographic sub-basin in the Republic of Moldova, which is of great importance for maintaining the water volume of the Dniester River, as well as a significant impact on it, being an important source of water supply for a large number of population of the country. The River Raut sub-basin occupies one third of the country's surface and, unfortunately, it faces all the problems that cause water pollution and the decrease in the volume of water in the rivers. The problems that can be detected in the Raut river basin are pollution with untreated sewage, pollution with waste, lack of river protection strips and non-observance of its protection zone, dredging of the river course and non-observance of the waste water flow, seepage of the springs and others demonstrated to young people in the project and can serve as an example of non-compliance with environmental legislation and reasons for enhancing the effects of climate change. The river Raut also faces a dramatic decrease in the water volume due to the recent climate change, which affects the use of water for irrigation, fish farming and other needs, and finally diminishes the volume of water discharged in the Dniester River.
As a practical method of studying these problems, an ecological expedition was organized that allowed the participants to observe and study for 7 days the whole course of the river Raut, from the spring to the spill. At the end of July 2016, 25 young people aged between 16 and 23, selected on a contest basis (high schools, colleges and universities), took part in the expedition, which took place in the open air, with accommodation in tents, but with access to water, sanitation and electricity. Each day was an adventure, containing interactive activities and a lot of pedestrian traffic. The expedition contained educational elements about climate change, its consequences on water resources, and the actions we need to take to mitigate the effects and adapt to them. During the expedition, interaction sessions with local public authorities, competent authorities, farmers and citizens were organized to discuss the impact of climate change on people's daily lives and the actions that governments, citizens, farmers, water basin management do to adapt to climate change. Each day of the expedition was summed up in communiqués written by participants, who shared the experiences and conclusions of interactions with different target groups. During the expedition, young people shot different moments reflecting the consequences of climate change, accompanying them with explanatory messages on their part, and they reached the audience through media reports on the end of the expedition.

  • Conducting a series of ecological lessons on the subject of climate change
During the expedition, 10 selected young people were trained on how to disseminate the knowledge of climate change accumulated during the expedition. After that, a series of climate change presentations were prepared in 10 educational institutions where young people had ecological lessons, telling their colleagues about the experiences of the week spent on the banks of the River Raut. The ecological classes on climate change took place between September and October 2016 and were very popular with the participants.
  • The interactive evening "Change Climate Change"
At the end of June 2016, the “Home”movie screening night was organized in one of the youth clubs with the participation of about 100 participants of different ages, mostly high school students and pupils. In addition to watching the film, there were also interactive discussions on climate change and adaptation measures. The partners of the film were the Young Ecologists' Network, consisting of the young people involved in CNM activities over the last 4 years (over 4000 young people), as well as the National Youth Council of Moldova. The participants were deeply affected by watching the film and actively interacted with the organizers, discussing the impact and consequences of climate change as well as the small changes that each of us can make to diminish them.

This project was implemented by the National Environmental Center with financial support from the AO "EcoContact" through the program "Climate Change Forum in the Eastern Partnership" (CFE II). This program is carried out with the financial support of the European Union, the Austrian Development Cooperation (CAD) and the Austrian Red Cross.