Could this pioneering summer camp on climate solutions be the first of many?
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
“It’s about moving out of the conditional tense — ‘I could, I should, I would’ — and getting into action,” explains Andrea Clément, Director of the Clement Foundation, which organises educational projects on sustainability and the environment.
Clement is passionate about the goal of last month’s “Climate Solutions Summer Camp”, held from the 10th to the 14th of August 2020 under the hashtags #HackYourCity and #WeFindSolutions. The event brought together a group of bright young minds and gave them the chance to learn, explore and develop local solutions to a huge and complex global challenge — climate change.
The Clément Foundation is the camp’s funding partner and facilitated the event throughout, in collaboration with a whole range of different educational and environmental organisations — both from the local area and much further afield.
Ecokids, an organisation based in Hofheim, Germany, which organises workshops and activities for children around the topic of sustainability, provided the camp’s beautiful location — an orchard complete with fruit trees, bushes and beehives — on the outskirts of Hofheim. Ecokids director Katrin Conzelmann-Stingl was also at the camp each day providing both pedagogical and practical support.
Alongside her was Kajo Stelter from Weltweit e. V., another German NGO based in Bad Soden that works to implement local solutions to global climate challenges, Irina Rogge from GeWissen-Schaffen, an organisation that leads educational projects on technology and sustainable development for children and teachers in both Berlin and Mexico, and I was there from 2811, a social enterprise I founded in Chile that supports international projects for positive social and environmental impact.
Another important collaborator was SolarInvest Main-Taunus e. G., a well-established solar energy cooperative that supports the production of green, decentralised energy in the region. Their solar panels produce green, renewable energy, which is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. But how can they encourage even more local people to support the energy transition and install solar panels on their roofs? That’s the climate conundrum that the young people were asked to solve.
Setting the challenge
Katrin, Kajo, Irina and Waldo led the camp and guided the group throughout the week, from Monday’s challenge presentation, through the brainstorming and idea creation process, all the way up to the final pitch on Friday, where they were to present their ideas to an audience of not just friends and family, but also local politicians, climate change experts, and of course SolarInvest themselves.
The 14 young participants, aged from 12 to 15, all study at different schools and came from different locations — including Dietzenbach, Flörsheim, Eppstein, Frankfurt and Hofheim — but were connected by a passion for positive change.