Thirty-five participants from 16 countries met in Galicia, Spain last week to discuss activism across Europe.
The group spent a week at the As Corcerizas environmental centre for the 'Get Moving Too' event. The activities featured workshops on environmental activism across the Friends of the Earth Europe network, in-depth analysis of the current economic crisis and discussion of the responses to it in their different regions. An activist from Costa Rica attended to discuss the Friends of the Earth Latin American region's 'Sustainability School' model whereby international participants engage in a learning process and share their analysis of issues.
Campaigners from as far afield as Ukraine and Latvia travelled overland for over 72 hours to take part in the event. Pavlo Khazan, sustainable development and energy campaigner, Friends of the Earth Ukraine said "It is important for us to take inspiration from the struggles and activism across Europe. The challenges of our work, such as Chernobyl, industrial or water pollution, are not just challenges for Ukraine but for all European citizens."
The event was held in an environmental education centre managed by Friends of the Earth Spain with the participants learning about the hostel's renewable energy generation, natural water-treatment system and the local ecology.
The activists overcame language and cultural barriers to share strategies and experience and identify opportunities for future collaborations. Participants made commitments to build upon the connections developed and to form working groups to strengthen upcoming campaigns and to increase information exchange within the network.
Anna Watson, empowerment campaigner from Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland said "I recently read that 'I don't learn anything by listening to myself' and I think that this spirit has epitomized this event. We came to this wonderful venue to build solidarity, to learn from others and we have certainly increased our ability to mobilize people on our return home."
As Corcerizas is a finalist in a worldwide competition to provide funding for sustainable youth hostels. The prize will support the installation of a wind turbine to enable the venue to become an 'energy island' and to support school programs which promote sustainability education.
The voting closes on 30th September and you can find out more details here.