This project is funded by the EU Youth in Action Programme, through the Youth Democracy action. It will run from March – October 2014 and will bring 10 young Irish people and 10 Polish people together to look at environmental campaigns in their two countries, in particular the campaigns against fracking and for renewable energy sources.
The two groups will also look at how decisions are made at EU level and will do a survey on the attitudes of MEP candidates on sustainable energy and fracking. Both in Poland and in Ireland, there are proposals to develop this industry – in Ireland, the proposals are at the planning stage; in Poland, projects have already commenced. Over 90% of scientists agree that climate change and global warming are realities. That makes this project very interesting and relevant.
Ireland could become energy independent and even could export electricity to other countries if we use our wind energy. A high-carbon economy is dangerous and not efficient any more. These issues were discussed at the 2030 Vision conference organised by GEAI.
Poland has huge coal reserves and also shale gas deposits and the Polish government promotes the use of fossil fuels. At present, the EU Commission studies this issue and EU Parliament considers major decisions.
Youth Democracy group
Aims of the project
There are two main aims of the project. First is to involve young people in a discussion of the future energy choices of the European Union. It can give them opportunity to see how decisions are being made in EU and how EU citizens can effect on it. Second is to encourage young people to be active citizens and engage them with this decision-making process through dialogue with local and national decision-makers, increasing their participation in the civic life of their community.
• Create opportunities for participants to explore and become informed on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change issues
• Create space to talk, interact with each other, discover that they are not alone
• Create an opportunity for presenting their own views through art, performance or presentation
• Dialogue with local, regional and national authorities
• Explore policies of M.E.P.s and candidates for the next election
• Explore the petition process and the possibility to use this tool in the context of Youth Democracy.
A group of 20 young people will work on this project between the ages of 18 and 30, 10 from Ireland and 10 from Poland. Initially, the project will focus on building relationships between the young people in each country and exploring ways of working together and other relevant issues through brainstorming and preparation workshops in each country. The two groups can initially contact each other and build relationships using Skype, email, social media, etc. The methodology of exploring and sharing relevant issues will be agreed. Resources will be developed both by the promoters and the participants to share information about
A visit by the Polish group will be organised to Ireland after an Advance Planning Visit. This visit will build relationships between the participants and will focus on how decisions are made nationally and throughout the EU. Activities will include meetings with Local Authority members, local TDs, industry representatives, policy makers (e.g. EPA) visit to Leinster House and meeting with the Energy Minister or department representative.
An important milestone will be the development and distribution of a questionnaire for candidates for the European Parliament elections in May.
Self-selected members of both groups will travel to Brussels. They will visit the EU Parliament and Commission in Brussels. As well as visiting the Parliament buildings, participants will get the opportunity to discuss the project with MEPs from member states and with Commission officials. The results of the questionnaires can be discussed.
Throughout the project, bi-monthly meetings will be held in each country to follow the progress of the project. An important deliverable of the project will be the production of a leaflet: ”Beginners Guide to Engaging with Europe”.
There will be a visit to Poland by the Irish group. This visit will have the important aim of discussing the results of the questionnaire and of the EU elections. Visits will be made to significant projects relevant to the theme of this project in the area of fossil fuel exploitation and/or renewable energy technologies. The potential of petitions as part of the democratic process in Europe will be examined.
The leaflet will be disseminated to every secondary school in Ireland and to Polish schools. The final action of the project is a conference in each country, which will include presentation of results of questionnaire, report on Petitions, and presentation of findings of the project. Following the conference, there will be an evaluation meeting in each country with Skype connectivity to allow the two groups to discuss the findings of the conference and come to some conclusions.