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Digital facilitation technology accelerates the growth of the international school climate movement

By Sanni Juoperi on Dec 4, 2019 12:59:39 PM

 

More than 450 schools, internationally from every continent, are committed to a joint Climate Agreement of Schools. The agreement was drafted using Finnish digital facilitation technology. The common goal of the schools is to capture more than three million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2025.

Environment Online (ENO) is an international network of schools and communities coordinated from Joensuu, Finland. More than 10,000 schools in 150 countries have participated in sustainability activities organized by ENO. In May 2019, ENO was facing a project of a new scale, when 230 teachers and students around the world were invited to Joensuu and Helsinki for the long-planned World Summit of Students for Climate, aiming to establish a worldwide climate agreement for schools and students.

“In early 2019, as we were getting finalized with the event's scope and funding, we paused to think about how we could really make the most of the short time we will have together in Finland.

 

It was clear to us that building a community around the event and engaging in conversation should start before we meet in person. Planning how to do this was challenging because the participants were on different continents, in different time zones, with different technological backgrounds and had various levels of equipment at their disposal.

- Kaija Saramäki, facilitator of the ENO summit.

The Howspace digital facilitation platform was selected to support the event, and all participants, including teachers and 14-17-year-old school representatives, were invited to a digital workspace to do pre-work before the forum. “We would not have been able to build the climate agreement from scratch within a week if we had not started to get to know each other and discuss virtually before the event. The participants made video presentations, participated in facilitated discussions, and performed pre-activities on the platform before we met in Joensuu. Even though we were strangers on different continents and no separate training was arranged for the use of the platform, over 95% of those invited also participated in the work digitally” Saramäki describes.

Also, at the event, technology was used to document and discuss the tasks that were performed during the week. The content of the final climate agreement came from votes arranged in the digital platform. The collaboration resulted in the Climate Agreement of Schools 2019–2025, which has to date been signed by over 450 schools around the world. The goal is to capture more than 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2025. The signatory schools agree to either plant at least half a hectare of trees per year or to organize fundraising events to support the planting.

Climate change is a challenge affecting us all, and we strongly believe in the role of facilitated digital collaboration in solving international problems of this scale.

- Ilkka Mäkitalo, CEO of Howspace.

“The ability to engage in facilitated discussions and make decisions across locations, organizations, time zones and roles is extremely important. As we have a solution, we definitely want to be involved in supporting forums like this to come together.”

“We admire the work ENO does to educate children internationally on climate related issues. In this case, the use of the tool was offered from us to ENO and we want to continue to support its use in similar cases to combat climate change in the future”, Mäkitalo summarizes.

Follow ENO's inspiring Climate work: 

FB & Twitter: @enoprogramme
IG: @enoschoolnet
 
Climate Agreement of Students : https://www.eco-nnectors.net/