SEQ and ProjektPolska.is participated in a three-day training course at the Ekorezort Vendelín in Slovakia in mid-November, not far from Považská Bystrica. The resort itself reflected the content and program of the training, as it incorporates numerous environmental and eco-conscious aspects into its operation.
The purpose of the event was to test the “CO2 footprint eco-board game” and present the upcoming “Reduce your CO2 – Help Planet” mobile application, utilizing elements from the game. While the former serves as an educational tool for working with young people, targeting teachers and educators, the application is designed for anyone to assess their daily actions from an environmental perspective. Since environmental protection and education for environmental consciousness are not widely integrated into formal education in many countries, including Slovakia, we aim to introduce eco-consciousness into the classrooms through initiatives led by our teachers and trainers in dedicated workshops. The authors of the board game are Danka Moderdovská (mother, writer, owner of the @zerowasterka Instagram profile) and Katka Moško Veselá (mother, project manager), who aspire to preserve the planet for future generations. Danka and Katka already have had experience in creating board games, previously developing a game for elementary school students with a similar theme (Planéta Zem sa usmieva).
We believe that every small step can make a significant impact, and there’s no need to wait with folded hands for large corporations or the government to take the first steps. The goal of our CO2 game is to bring a new approach to the topic, equip young people with knowledge and critical thinking, and initiate dialogue and collaborative thinking. The board game aims to draw the attention of the youth to environmental sustainability and encourage them to act more consciously in their daily lives. Every decision and action we make has an impact on the planet, and it’s crucial to start addressing this at a younger age so that today’s high school and university students can become conscious adults. A notable advantage of the game is the traffic light system, which helps making the topic easily understandable through colors. Its simplicity and easy playability further contribute to the discussions. During the three-day event, we not only played and got to know the game but also experimented with various alternative game rules to make this new tool even more enjoyable and beneficial.
Our trainers and educators will strive to reach as many young people as possible with the game, offering an innovative approach to increasing awareness. Following the training, a national game testing phase will begin, and we will also be collecting feedback to shape new directions for the game’s trajectory. Upon completion of the project, an online conference will be organized, where both SEQ and ProjektPolska.is will report on how the game was received, its noticed impacts, and gather insights and experiences from the trainers, educators and players themselves.
In addition to the board game elements, the mobile app includes a self-assessment option, which evaluates our current actions on carbon footprint in addition to weekly activities. We can track our environmentally conscious performance, decisions, and actively engage in continuous improvement. The application is further complemented by a tips function, providing suggestions for real-life improvements in areas where deficiencies are identified, allowing us to further reduce our carbon footprint.
Beyond the official training program, we had the opportunity to visit the lesser-known Dupna Cave. Guided by the enthusiasm of local cavers (Jaskyniarsky klub Strážovské vrchy Slovenskej speleologickej spoločnosti), we delved into the world of bears, ancient cave lions, and the current inhabitants of the cave—the bats. In the cave house, we marveled at the ancient cave artifacts and learned about the underground historical treasures of the region. They conveyed an important message about why it is worthwhile to preserve our local values and natural treasures.