Coesfeld, April 2014 – For the third time already, a children's academy of the environmental foundation, Plant-for-the-Planet, took place at the Parador site in Millenkamp. Here, children and young people deal with the issues of climate crisis, world citizenship and distributive justice. In small groups they also learn how to make absorbing speeches and fill other people with enthusiasm. Among them was Marek Walde, 13, a pupil at the Nepomucenum grammar school. Not as a participant, however, but as a speaker and co-organiser, because this is what makes the academies so special: children who are already involved in the student initiative pass on their knowledge and experiences to others of the same age.
“I have been active as an ambassador for climate justice since 2012 already,” says the boy from Lette. “Back then, my mother read in the newspaper that the first children's academy was taking place in Coesfeld and I put my name down. Since then I have been part of it, as well as six other pupils from the Nepomucenum.” For example, with support from Plant-for-the-Planet, the students have collected money for a new fence for the school biotope. The 13-year old has been able to prove that he meanwhile has become an expert in environmental protection and global justice issues by holding sophisticated presentations and answering the many questions competently. For the practical part of the academy, the 66 participants from 14 schools were taken by bus to a glade in Flamschen, where they were allowed to plant 300 trees in holes already dug for them under the expert guidance of Martin Kleining (Coesfeld District Forestry Operation). In doing so, they put the foundation's mission statement, “Stop talking!” Start planting!” directly into practice. Because not only are trees the most important storage facility for the greenhouse gas, CO2, but they also produce oxygen, which is necessary for us to live.
At the end of the day, the newly appointed “Ambassadors for climate justice” presented their findings and future plans. Marek is very happy at the end of a long day. He has got many new fellow campaigners interested in climate protection and can now undertake other projects.