Conference Day 1
Moderator Gunnar Will and project coordinator Sarah Gül opened the conference and invited two high level representatives from environmental ministries from Germany and Czech Republic.
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary,
German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety:
- This is by no means a farewell conference. Today’s meeting with your colleagues is a chance to find inspiration for new activities and measures in climate action and to consolidate your network beyond BEACON.
- I hope the next two days will also provide new insights into old problems, give you the chance to meet inspiring people, and generate fresh inputs for climate action.
Pavel Zámyslický, Director of Energy and Climate Protection Department, Czech Ministry of the Environment:
- It is important that others also benefit from the experience gained and brought by the BEACON project and this is the reason why we discussed with the BMU how to continue in the future, because we believe that BEACON should serve as an example for further activities in this area.
Keynote "Breaking news from BEACON schools"
Students live-broadcasted their news from BEACON schools. They reported about their projects and showed how a dedicated pathway to climate action can look like! They left us with some though-provoking demands to policy makers and authorities.
Pupils who took part in the BEACON project have clear demands to elected representatives: climate change mitigation should be considered in every political decision!
“Let’s make every day a climate action day” - Alexia Pojar (RO)
Greta Lohrenz: Climate change mitigation must take place in the classroom, integrating it into the curriculum is not only the task for teachers, but politicians!
Daniel Parashevov: Put climate change on the top of the priority list. The longer we wait for climate action, the more expensive it will get!
Alexia Pojar: Climate change mitigation should be considered in every political decision…. Every decision has a climate dimension… politicians have to change their mindset on that.
Ludmilla Kozlova: Climate action has a lot to do with justice between generations. Some adults do not take our ideas seriously or treat us with condescension. I would like to encourage them to give young people a voice by organising some actions to motivate us and support us in real projects, that can change something.
Plenary Session: "Navigating Europe towards climate neutrality: progress, partnership, and pandemic"
Speakers discussed about the initiation and implementation of the BEACON project and which impacts were achieved. They gave an outlook on how the continuation of European local climate action could look like beyond BEACON and Covid-19 implications.
Silke Karcher, Head of Division, IK II 5 EU Climate and Energy Policy, European Climate Initiative (EUKI), Carbon Markets, German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
- Recovery programs show that paradigms have changed, now climate change is at the heart of the biggest recovery program the EU has ever seen.
- Projects such as BEACON have helped to facilitate the conversation between the national and the local level that is necessary in order to ensure that funds will trickle down to the local level.
- With EUKI we not only wanted to start things, we want to root them and expand them - now the continuation needs to be nationally/locally driven.
Leonor Folgado, Senior Officer, General Secretariat of the Environment, Portuguese Ministry of Environment and Climate Action:
- Regional and national action means local action, because without local action we will not achieve any of our targets.
Petra Trambova, Deputy Mayor of Pisek:
- The involvement of the municipality of Pisek in the BEACON project has had positive impacts in the areas of smart solutions, environment, mobility, as well as heating sources.
- The involvement with the Covenant of Mayors helps scale up goals and ambitions
Dimitar Zhelev, Sofia University:
- I like the emotional response of the students to the climate emergency because this is how we can get the awareness of the wider population and of the politicians
- There is no society that will succeed if the voice of the young people isn't heard.
Conference Day 2
Keynote: "Elected representatives & students in dialogue on their vision for a climate-neutral future"
Visions for a climate-friendly future were shared in this keynote session and created an atmosphere of hope! The attendees were especially inspired by the dreams of the young students who rewoke what politicians should stand for when it comes to climate action.
Maria das Dores Meira, Mayor of Setubal
- Young people give me hope, they are the guarantee that the future will get better.
Ludmila Kozlova, Student from the Czech Republic
- I wish for a community that lives in accordance with nature!
- If everybody would do some changes in their life to be sustainable, we sometimes think it would not make a difference, but I think it can really make a big difference to create a sustainable future.
Kristýna Kosová, Vice-Mayor of Roznov
- We want a city that is not only smart, but wise as well.
Greta Lohrenz, Student from Germany
- In my vision of 2050, we will live in a different world, which is more sustainable, social, more colourful and with less traffic - but more nature sounds.
Vitor Aleixo, Mayor of Loulé and teacher Gabriela Dirloman gave final inspirational remarks to continue dedicated work for a better future, and the project coordinators used the chance to praise the work from all partners and the innovative ideas that have come out of three years BEACON. Thanks went to the project initiator, the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, to EUKI, to the BEACON partner organisations in all the countries, to the partners behind the projects and to all the schools, teachers and students.
Vitor Aleixo, Mayor of Loulé highlighted the importance of working together and the impact of educating children:
- Many dynamics for local climate action were integrated with the participation of the community, as for example with schools adapting climate measures. The children at the schools now understand what these measures are about and can impact their parents.
Gabriela Dirloman, Romanian teacher shared a final demand to the national level to improve climate education impacts at schools:
- From the national level, I hope they will help us to implement the curricula and, among other things, facilitate cooperation with municipalities better.
- The new generation will be the next citizens, and as we need strong future citizens, they need to be prepared…
“I am very optimistic after this conference, that there are good things ahead of us.”
– Camille Serre, adelphi