24-31 May, 2015

Vanadzor, RA

1st_meeting_b

What is sustainable development and how can you develop your community sustainably? The initial answer of most of the EcoLab participants, who come from different regions of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, is planting trees, gathering trash and making the environment nice and clean.

Our response is: ″Is this the key to welfare and sustainable development? Is this all regular citizens can do? ″

During the 8 days of Spring School we tried to find out how we organize our communities and the society in general. What is in the core of economy? What is the impact of our activities on the environment? In which cultural environment do we live, which values do we possess and how do those values interact with our social and economic activities? Hence, what type of an ecological footprint do we leave on planet Earth? Also, how are the resources distributed on the global level? What are we learning from the older generation and what are passing along to the younger generation? And finally, what can we do individually and collaboratively to positively impact our lives, our communities, and last but not the least, make our share of contribution in creating a better world?

We address the above mentioned topics in participatory, accessible and engaging methods as we believe that learning should be not only a useful but also a joyful process. What is more, research proves that people learn best when there are the brain (cognitive knowledge), the heart (feelings, experiences) and hands (learning by doing) involved.

EcoLab Spring School 2015 united 21 young people from various towns and villages of Armenia. Towards the end of the seminar the participants, either individually or in teams, have formulated ideas for personal and community development.  However at that point those ideas were no longer about waste management or planting trees. Instead, the projects focused on public spaces, upcycling and recycling, composting, condominium management, raising social issues through art, beekeeping/ independent and cooperative economy, education and more.

The next meeting, which will take place in July deals with the intricacies of project management and aims at tailoring the projects to be realized their level best in the reams of the resources allocated for that.