This year marked the 21st edition of the Earth Charter Youth Contest. As in previous years, Green Cross Italia promoted this environmental education initiative in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education. The aim is to teach and inspire youth to become environment superheroes and find solutions to our Earth’s problems. This year’s theme was focused on one of the biggest problems humanity faces today: “Inizia da te: l’acqua (It starts with you: water)”.
The large participation of children from kindergartens and primary schools in the context of the International Year on Water Cooperation shows how this generation is committed to safeguarding “blue gold”. About 18,500 participants out of the total 30,000 were under 12.
“The game of life is over without water.”
These are some of the mottos created by the children during their activities, which included drawings, nursery rhymes, games and video clips, as well as theatrical performances and town events. All their work proves that many small drops really can create a river of solidarity to support students from developing countries, who often have to walk several kilometers to acquire a few liters of water.
While a European citizen uses an average of 200-250 liters for drinking, washing and sanitation, an African inhabitant has access to only 20. For women and children it takes several hours of walking to collect water from safe and healthy sources. According to the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, on a global scale, more than one in six people – equivalent to over 894 million people – don’t have access to clean water. By the year 2025, almost 2 billion people will live in high water risk regions.
“New generations are aware of the risks of natural resource shortages that we will face in the years to come,” says Green Cross Italia President Elio Pacilio. “This is why they commit themselves to building a sustainable future, using their creativity, their knowledge and all their enthusiasm. Thanks to the Earth Charter Youth Contest we have fostered their paths and we have launched a message that has been understood to perfection by children and youngsters. With the prize money for winning schools we will contribute to valuing and safeguarding the environment”.
The list of the winning schools can be found here.