From the Environmental Justice School in South Africa and community leader training in Sustainability Villages across Uganda, to youth summer camps in Colombia, Europe and Asia Pacific, the federation is engaged in a range of diverse forms of political education to empower people to mobilize, resist and transform societies and create a just world.
“The school of sustainability is a popular learning and information exchange program. It is a one of a kind of environmental education system.”
Rehmuna Nurain, Research Associate, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA)
School of Sustainability comes from “Escuela de la Sustentabilidad”, a regional learning event first organised by Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC) in 2007. This escuela brings together Friends of the Earth groups and allies in the region to share and develop a critical consciousness on the drivers of social injustice and environmental destruction, inspired by popular education.
The term ‘school’ is not used literally to mean an institution, but rather a process of learning taking place in a variety of places and in non didactic, nontraditional and nonhierarchical ways.
Friends of the Earth International works in four main regions, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe. Each region organises an at least one annual School of Sustainability, that is hosted by a different Friends of the Earth group each year. Friends of the Earth member groups and allies from the region are invited. The themes and objectives of each school change to accommodate the needs of the groups and region.
The key theme of every school is to share and deepen our collective and political understanding of the root causes of social and environmental injustice.
The program covers skills in taking action, inspiring stories of solutions and successes as well as creative, artistic, spiritual and musical expression, to create a space for hearts and hands as well as minds. Popular Education principles and methodologies are an important part of the programs.
“What I really like about the School of Sustainability is the young blood in the APAC region coming together and sharing our actions, thinking, passion and enthusiasm .. that was really cool.”
Hye Lyn Kim, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements (KFEM)
Friends of the Earth International runs an exchange programme for staff and activists within the federation. The topics of the exchanges are widespread and diverse, and are designed to facilitate campaigning on common resistance targets or on an exchange of learning and practice between groups and regions. They build stronger links and solidarity across the federation.
Currently, our exchange programme is focused on youth and strengthening intergenerational learning in Friends of the Earth International.
“I can’t even put into words the amount of things I’ve learned during this exchange. From technical information about particular issues (REDD, coal, hydropower) to the specific context of Mozambique. It’s past and present, the African context, as well as actually seeing the disastrous impacts of coal mining and hearing first hand about it from the communities. I’ve also (finally and truly) understood the need for solidarity and linking our struggles. It suddenly became so clear to me and I will never forget that feeling. It will guide me in all my future work.”
Dora Sivka, Zelena Ackija