Environment and sustainability, Arts and cultural activities

UrJu preserving urban green through body awareness

Environmental awareness and local ecosystem preservation achieved by community activities that combine site specific education about sustainability and physical exercise.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Dimitra Chatziargyriou

Catgang

https://www.facebook.com/Catgang-270806593801352/

Greece

Who is joining forces?

Idea

Idea pitch

With tools from performing arts and alternative educational practices, participants will experience an ecological vigilance. The aim is to get in touch with the local natural ecosystem, change perceptions and take action on contemporary local and global environmental issues. Knowing that the external environment is related to the internal, it also aims at understanding and caring for our personal ecosystem through the body.

Where will your project idea take place?

Athens, Nea filadelfeia, a small cohesive area, constructed from Turkey refugees in 1922.

What is the local challenge?

The problem of the area which is a general problem around Greece if not the world, is the lack of bottom-up initiatives working unmediated for local issues. The specific neighborhood out of the center, has one of the last remains of urban streams that once used to run all over the basin of the Attica region. Starting from the hills surrounding Athens and ending in the seaside, Attica was not accidentally chosen to be inhabited in the ancient years. While the majority of rivers of Athens have been covered by concrete to become car streams, the specific one is completely left, dirty and forgotten. At the same time Athens is one of the European cities with the fewest urban green per resident. The new generation especially should be taking self-organised action towards sustainability.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

The idea is to inspire the local community and highlight the natural treasure they are lucky to have, in order to become a kind of ‘’tribe’’. A tribe which is not unconsciously part of a city but aware of the urban ecosystem and active part of it. With the use of educational techniques, based on experience and personal engagement but also team building the participants will clean and preserve the stream. They will create a community that works as a team, making decisions in democratic ways, working in a circle and self-organising their own neighborhood.
Finally they will broaden their members by involving the whole neighborhood, engage the municipality, interract with other initiatives.

Who are you doing it for?

At the area there are 9 primary schools and 5 high schools. For optimal effectiveness there will be a stable group of participants, preferably 60-100 children, 10-15 years old. The area is formed by a mixed group of third generation refugees, new refugees, immigrants etc. who live in a city and are disconnected from nature. Especially during summer season their activities are focused on digital entertainment and mediated socialisation. At the same time, there are a number of indirect beneficiaries: family and friends of participants who will actively and passively participate in the festival (200-400 people). At a third level, all citizens after the end of the action will have a clean, healthy and lively stream in their neighborhood and an activated approach towards their local ecosystem.

How do you plan to get there?

Initially we will focus on the necessary connections with institutes and organisations in order to reach the group of interest and get any permissions needed. Additionally time planning, and getting all the equipment needed . The second step will be setting up of the activities, organising the groups involved. The three summer months the implementation will take place, during weekdays, where parents still work but kids have no school. The first month will be building the community, forming the ‘’tribe’’, group activities, cleaning up the stream, preserving, learning. The second will be the co-creation, collecting material, and collectively forming a performance. Last the closing month, with sharing, building future steps as a team and celebrating- sharing through the closing festival.

What are the expected results?

The most obvious and tangible difference will be the vibrant, clean and wild ecosystem of the stream reinforced through the healthy symbiosis with the residents. Residents that are not just lucky to have a simply existing natural source but are an active part of this ecosystem, increasing the level of self-sufficiency and autonomy of their lives. In a more abstract and long term side of view the neighborhood will have gained an established community, a place to express, connect with others, organise bottom-up, direct solutions to organise their lives. Also the neighborhood will be a place of healthy, active, outdoor activities, people connected with their bodies and senses. Overall a tiny part of the world will get a step closer to the transition towards sustainability and inclusion.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Democracy can only work by truly empowered and active people. At the moment most of the governing systems don truly represent the people they work for. And that is the key to the problem: representation. The world cannot function through representatives, people need to be in charge of their lives, to act in situations, be autonomous and in charge of their powers. And not as individuals but collectively. Act local, think global as it is said. That is what we aim for: bringing a neighborhood together, act on a common problem, connect and apply democracy. And then interconnect with other neighborhoods, share their experience, teach and learn with the others.

What is your story?

My motivation is my personal connection to my neighborhood, the place where I grew up. I have already experienced the change of it, affected by gentrification and developmental plans, transforming the area to a place for consumption. Additionally I feel an equal part of nature, trying to form my way of existing as a coexistence. Also as an acrobat, educator I deeply know the huge impact that acrobatics have in the way someone perceives himself. It doesn't have to be acrobatics but the activation of the body, the research of your personal limits, the pleasure and fun that one gets by being active is vital. Combining all these instincts is natural to me personally and to us as a cultural team, being always in search of ways to realise them.

€ 10,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 15,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Salary staff
7 organizors, facilitators
(civic europe: 5000 € / volunteers// total: 5000 €)
Activity equipment
Environmental education activities
(binoculars, consumables, cleaning bags, etc.)
Physical activities:
(portable speaker, mattresses, floor coverings, activity games: balls, ropes, etc.)
Portable Pharmacy
(ce: 2000 € / other 2000 € // total: 4000 €)
Promotion, deliverables:
festival organization costs audio equipment, decoration etc, (ce: 3000 € / other 3000 €/ total 6000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

It would be very useful for us to exchange ideas with communities that deal with local environmental problems. Especially cities that have streams or rivers in the urban environment.

Team

Dimitra

Idea created on May 27, 2020

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