The project “Wild Nature” was an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange with a focus on sustainability and climate change related topics. It was held from November 20 to November 28, 2021 in Lanjáron, Spain. Including Germany a total of four countries participated with about five to six participants per country.
Most participants have already been interested in sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change for a long time, so they took this opportunity to deepen their knowledge. Others chose this project because they wanted to acquire basic knowledge in this topic since sustainability and environmental conservation have been playing a big role in social media in the past few years. The project offered the opportunity to gain not only theoretical, but also practical knowledge on this topic in a very short time.
The activity that most reflected the central topic of the Project was a two-day trip to the Sierra Nevada National Park, where we contributed to a long-term reforestation measure by planting rosemary in a designated area. Apart from that, we spent one afternoon in Lanjarón picking up litter along a local river course. On a different afternoon, we were visited by a representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, who motivated a discourse among the project’s participants and familiarized us with the many facets of sustainable development.
The Youth Exchange ‘Wild Nature’ gave us an insight into Lanjaron’s culture and history. During one week, we got to know many different people and places in and around the town. Main focus and common thread of all the activities was the connection between nature and us as humans. We learned how we affect our environment with our actions, what we can take from it and what we have to do in order to preserve it. Unfortunately, the full schedule did not allow a lot of discussions and input from our from our point of view. It was a lot of information we had to take in and to process but a lack of interactive participation. However, this might be even more important because it needs us working all together to preserve the “Wild Nature” so future generations can still enjoy it.
All in all we were reminded once again that it is of great importance to address the issue of sustainability and that we need to work altogether to find solutions to prevailing problems. In doing so, the project has given us thematic ideas and inspiration that we can continue to learn about in the future. Now that we are back home, we will be more sensitive and attentive to environmental problems and solutions. Some of us will travel less by plane in the future to follow the good example of certain participants who preferred trains and/ or buses. Furthermore, we share our acquired knowledge in our social environment and channel a dialogue with other people on topics such as recycling, conservation of nature or water usage. In addition, we critically reflected on how sustainable youth exchanges are in general, and in the future we will carefully consider whether a project contributes to sustainability or is more detrimental to it overall.
The project “Wild Nature” was financed by the Erasmus+ Programme.