Chile celebrates World Environment Day

Pupils standing behind solar panel

Pupils of Liceo Polivalente Los Guindos and partner of the IKI project; Photo: Erick Cartes Márquez

The theme of World Environment Day on 5 June was ‘Go Wild for Life’, calling attention to the illegal trade of endangered animal and plant species. An IKI project in Chile used this opportunity to carry out a climate change campaign for action with local pupils. 

Since the first Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm on 5 June 1972, this day has been officially proclaimed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is observed annually in over 150 countries. The day of action calls for people around the world at local, national and global level to get involved in environmental causes.

Climate change, energy efficiency, greenhouse gases and renewable energies are topics that can seem very abstract to children. The IKI project ‘Smart Energy Concepts Chile’ therefore came up with a campaign to help pupils understand these concepts. Presentations and working groups on various climate change mitigation topics were organised at the agricultural school in Buín. Following an introduction, the pupils (aged 12-15) discussed these topics in working groups. Representatives of various institutions facilitated their work. The German-Chilean Chamber of Industry and Commerce spoke about recycling, the Chilean Agency for Energy Efficiency discussed the topic of energy efficiency, the Strategic Programme for Solar Energy provided information on renewable energies, the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria in South America reported on the topic of water, and the company Euro Renovables discussed solar irrigation.
After the pupils performed the tasks in their groups, they signed a symbolic contract with the environment in which they committed themselves to protect nature. At the end, the Chilean Vice-Environment Minister Marcelo Mena handed out a certificate for their successful participation in the campaign.

‘Smart Energy Concepts Chile’ is supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) with EUR one million in funding.  It is being implemented by the German-Chilean Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Chile) and the Agency for Energy Efficiency (AChEE). The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Chilean agriculture and food sectors and expand the potential of these sectors in an energy-efficient way.