Sometimes, because of the fast life we’re living, we fail to really understand the impact we have on the Planet. For many of us this type of information isn’t mainstream, and definitely isn’t a huge concern to the majority of the population. In this capitalist era, priorities seem to be others – paying the products and services we need -, but without realizing, or sometimes refusing to know, that and how our buying and consumption habits affect us and the planet in the (not so) long term.
Therefore, awareness is key when it comes to protecting our planet for us and for the future generations. And this only comes with education and knowledge.
Fortunately for Romania, another lifestyle that the one lived today is not so far in the history. Three decades ago, we all (living those times) were using glass instead of plastic, canvas instead of paper, soap bars instead of dispenser soap, homemade cleaning products, lifetime steel razors, wooden combs and other long-lasting products that are now pushed forward as “zero-waste lifestyle”. There are nations living in this “disposable era” for more than a century and never knowing anything else, that’s why we can consider ourselves lucky and hope it will be easier for us to go back to the right values and habits, according to the needs of the present era
On this line, one of our main directions at Ecovillage Firiteaz is to educate and inspire people about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for them, humanity and planet through information, know-how, power of example and hands on activities.
We do it two ways:
- in our ecovillage, where people can visit us, see what and how we do, participate in various hands-on workshops (food, sustainability, farming, recycling and reuse, building, landscaping, gardening etc.)
- on the field, through presentations of all kinds in various locations (events, schools, universities, NGO-s, companies etc.)
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” – L.R.Knost
So we take the job to teach kids how to make a better world, by respecting nature and any being and be mindful of the waste they create and the path they make.
We do it on many levels:
1. Encourage parents to lead by example, make it fun, get kids involved, read to them or watch documentaries together, volunteer with them
2. Encourage and support schools to organize sustainability and healthy lifestyle classes, make school trips to Firiteaz and involve kids into local hands-on activities
3. Run afterschool programs for children in Firiteaz and neighborhoods in working days, and for children in Arad and Timisoara over the weekends
4. Organize sports and recreational activities with children in Firiteaz, discussing the benefits of sport in our lives while running or cycling
5. Help kids develop abilities, play and interact with each other (e.g.: bake whole meal bread buns with kids, out of organic cereals that are milled on place)
Soon in ecovillage we will work with children on the basis of a program called Brighter Minds, a Brain Training Program to enhance the cognitive abilities of children between 5 and 15 years. Why 5 to 15? Because at this age the neuroplasticity is at its maximum.
The mission of Brighter Minds is to inspire and equip every child with tools and methods to enhance cognitive functioning for achieving personal excellence and to instill confidence in oneself.
What is cognition? Through a highly scientific program and asymmetric exercises neurons of the right and left hemisphere are triggered at the same time. Neurons that fire together wire together and like this more neuropath ways are formed which stay a lifetime. That’s why the Brighter Minds Program is called “a gift for a lifetime”.
The effects are more than stunning! Children can feel colors with closed eyes and, believe it or not, they can read with closed eyes! First letters, then words…. later on, whole sentences. Why do we need that? We don’t have to read with closed eyes but in every single thing we do, our brain is involved. Children will have better coordination, better overall capacities, better overall efficiency, better overall understanding, they will be able to make better decisions because of improved self-esteem and better observation capacity, better emotional intelligence… and so many more! More than all these overall improvements, many children have developed by this program their special abilities to excellent performances.
“It’s a two month after-school program that has impressed me personally very very much! I have seen kids and also adults read with closed eyes. That made me shiver because it made me realize that as a human we are capable of so much more than we are used to….! Let’s evolve… lets help at least our children to get this gift of a lifetime” – Katharina
If you are interested to take part in a facilitators course, in order to be able to give forth this wonderful gift of a lifetime to children in your own community, household or school, please contact us, we are organizing soon an event to prepare facilitators.
One of the core ideas of sustainability is that each generation inherits the earth from those who have come before them. The aim of every generation should be to leave it in better, or at least in no worse, condition than when they found it.
According to European Commission, “youth work can play an important role in ensuring that this happens: in addition to the family and the formal education system, youth work exerts a strong influence on young people’s transition to adulthood, and it can help in promoting their participation in society.”
We try our best in this direction by:
1. Encouraging young people to volunteer
2. Encouraging and supporting schools to organize sustainability and healthy lifestyle classes
3. Facilitating skill development through hands-on projects involving young people
This year, from 26th of April to 6th of May, we welcomed our first group of 45 young people from five partner countries (Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, and Spain) as part of an international Erasmus+ youth exchange program, called “Up-cycling and online sales”. During 9 full days, 45 young people and youth leaders explored the following objectives:
- Understand the principles of reuse and recycling of different waste
- Present different methods of reuse and recycling in a creative way
- Understand the online sales systems of products realized through recycling
- Create an intercultural group of young people
Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet, live together and work on shared projects for short periods. The group also benefited from two experts inputs for recycling products and online sales shops.The programme included sessions about: The 4 R’s – refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle; Campaign about zero waste; Practical workshop on up-cycling materials from plastic, wood, glass, metal; Presentation of online platforms: WordPress, Shopify and Amazon; discussion about wellbeing and youth; Personal and professional action plan and others. Each national group shared examples and experience from their national reality as well. The youth exchange ended with good plans which the young people committed themselves to implement to live in a more sustainable society. You can observe their work here: www.upciclysts.art
Life as adults is busy and full of duties. And as an individual living in the society, it’s sometimes hard to get time for questioning daily acts we and everyone around us take as habits. Or, if we do so, it’s often much easier to take the known path and do what we usually do. But when somebody brings into discussion subjects impacting us and our loved ones, and also comes with handy solutions, change occurs. If one person’s mentality changes, behavior changes. And when one person starts behaving different, the world around them changes.
This is where we come! We make people question their habits and show them another path, the natural path. We teach them a lifestyle that is healthy for them and the planet. We do this in our ecovillage, where people can visit us, show what we do, participate in various hands-on workshops (food, movement, building, gardening, reuse and recycling etc.), but also on the field, through presentations of all kind.