Over the last years we had an opportunity to look at civic engagement in several cities while completing our own projects. Among the places we visited, the biggest gap between the aspirations and engagement from the youth and the local government in the matters of environmental protection was visible in Pionki (Mazowieckie Voivodeship). In 2018 a local river was polluted because of a failure at a local treatment plant. To mitigate the pollution, the local youth was helping inform the local population about the ways to limit water consumption. Despite the ambitions of the local young people, the local government does very little to support their initiatives and does not offer permanent support for citizens who would like to act to protect the environment. Governmental grants promoted by the local authorities are often inaccessible to the young people because they require personal financial contribution.
We will organize a youth team of activists operating in Pionki, composed mostly of the student councils from three high schools and the Climate Strike. We will hold a series of workshops on designing local projects, creating an association, or creating a climate strategy. The goal of the workshops will be to create a youth vision for the city for the year 2030 and to audit the local government and municipal companies over their efforts to support the citizens in environmental initiatives and adaptation to climate change. The youth will assess current strategies of the city and in consultation with the municipal companies will conduct an audit of their educational efforts, as well as financial support offered for the citizens.
We will organize a working visit with our partner in Norway – Klimaalliansen – during which we will learn about changes in habits of the local community to more climate friendly. And during the return visit to Pionki, we will learn about the creation of the communal garden and food self-sustainability in an urban setting.