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Leaders of Eco-Change

Project Promoter: Stowarzyszenie Przyjaciół Puszczy Knyszyńskiej Wielki Las
Proposal: 1st thematic call
Co-financed from the program: 114 185,65 EUR
Fundacja Centrum Inicjatyw na Rzecz Społeczeństwa (Poland)
Wyższa Szkoła Finansów i Zarządzania (WSFiZ) w Białymstoku (Poland)
Innovation Circle Network (Norway)
Duration time: 01.11.2021-30.09.2023

In this project we deal with the environmental degradation caused by the region’s economic development. The problem is due to a low level of ecological knowledge among the Podlasie residents, which results in a lack of pro-ecological attitudes. According to the Podlaskie Province Strategic Diagnosis (2020), the sense of inhabitants’ influence on the state of the natural environment is getting stronger, but their motivations for pro-ecological activities are mainly financial. The ‘Zero waste’ style, ecological shopping or resource saving habits are extremely rare phenomena. Local authorities make decisions regarding area development and infrastructure without consulting the inhabitants, which results in social conflicts. In the Podlaskie Province, public participation in environmental protection is the lowest in the whole country. Local institutions and businesses implement green projects on a very small scale. This diagnosis is confirmed by a survey conducted among the project participants. This is why the main aim of the project is to create the Academic Centre of Ecological Education and Practices and to include in the curriculum of the faculties of management, finance, accounting and administration a new subject: ecological empathy. We will develop the programme of study, create the Ecological Empathy Students Club, conduct classes and student internships in the Knyszyn Forest. The Eco-influencers film studio will be founded, and a training camp for nature educators and a civic monitoring training on climate change will be held. We will organize two open events: 1st Championships of Plogging in the Knyszyn Forest and the Festival for Mother Earth. On the basis of our experience and in cooperation with partners from Norway we will elaborate a manual for nature educators and the ‘Eco-leader Knowledge Bank’ e-platform.