The „4days4future“ project – YoungCaritas in Europe
Author: Hannah D., youngCaritas Vienna
The room is small, warm and a bit stuffy, old-fashioned furnishings with shabby covers are decorating the wood-fitted walls. Light comes in from the windows which offer a beautiful view onto the light and dark green treetops of the Black Forest. A group of young people from 16 to 29 years old is sitting together in a circle around a small table, immersed in a discussion. The words are jumping from one end of the room to the other like a ball in a game, questions and answers back and forth. Sometimes in German, sometimes in French or English, from time to time interrupted by a young interpreter. So much different faces, languages, ideas – What brings them together?
The answer is: the common intention to change something and probably also the wish of a future. A future. It sounds so … uncertain. Which it is, as we all know. Because who can promise us, in turbulent times like these, that we will have a future at all? And even if we had one – what kind of future would it be? Young people from the “youngcaritas”, an alternative programm from the well-known charity Caritas imn Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Austria and different regions in Germany dealt with these and many other questions in a remote town called Lenzkirch/Kappel in the Black Forest. A lot of different possibilities to discuss ideas relating to subjects such as climate protection, sustainability and solidarity and to be proactive together awaited the 39 participants at the actionmeeting “4days4future”.
What began with a few get-to-know games between complete strangers, shortly became a small community – not only the linguistic barriers, but also the first reluctance were soon set aside. The willingness to get to know new people and exchange with them was from the beginning strongly present. The actual programm began on Friday, the day after the arrival : beside cooking together, we had to form work and project groups with people who shared the same interests in particular issues. There was no lack of any initiative or diversity: from an interactive course on “sustainable and natural cosmetic and body care” to “how is the EU handling the consequences of climate change?”, there was something for everyone. The dusty self-supporter house was sparkling from all of these inspired convrsations. It is pleasant to see that it was not always about the “climate catastrophe”, allegations and pessimism, but further more about confidence and positive solutions. Every single one of the participants seems to have one particular information, experience and/or idea to share with the rest of the group. They are an enrichment ans surprise to the knowledge degree of the group. It is also very motivating to talk with others about their personal initiative. In the following section I tried to sum up the most important and interesting informations and findings from the last 4 days:
Topic 1: climate-friendly travel
We all have the need to travel – to simply go away. Far from our daily life, far from work, far from our usual environment. The problem: not enough holidays/vacation days! Which explains why so much people are flying abroad for an intense relaxation programm, to be shortly spoiled with material luxury. Event though it might seem okay at first, this way of travelling is hurting the environment as well as our wallet. It does not do well to the human being either – is it possible to relax and tune out during an all-inclusive vacation in Spain with a full day programm and a personal animator? My conversations with Jasmin E. and Elena H. showed me that cheaper and more interesting ways to travel do exist!
Elena H. from Switzerland spend her vacation usefully: she travelled for one month by train through
Europe and visited in tota 7 countries. Thanks to her “Interrail”-Ticket she was able to travel 10 times by train for one month, which stepped out as a cheap and flexible travel option. Elena often stayed in hostels during her trip, she did also try out the “couchsurfing” App in Vienna one time. This app is enabling tourists to find a cheap acommodation in the city they currently are visiting, to stay with welcoming locals who are hosting them in their home. This is a great possibilty to save some money, meet new people and peek into the lifes of the locals. “Free walking tours” also offered Elena a realistic point of view into the city life. These unnofficially city tours leaded by locals are not only cheap, but also way more personal and interesting then the conventional bus tours and allow us to see the metropole through the eyes of the citizens.
Did the several hours of train travel disturb her? “Not at all. I prefere train rides a lot more than any other travel option. One gets a feeling for the route and the distances, that you travel, the surroundings seemed way more realistic. The train rides gave me the opportunity to see the rural areas of the countries – since I nearly only visited cities!”
Jasmin E. from Vienna, proved me that it is possible to travel climate-friendly and cheap even beyond Europe. She flew to Central America, where she travelled for half a year accross Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras. She earned her maintenance as laborer in local hostels and small inns. In return for her help she could eat and sleep there for free- the apps “workaway” and “helpx.net”, from which she heard of at the job fair BEST, helped her to acquire the best tenders. These apps from personal experience really advisable, you just have to get used to write to as much as possible different “hosts”, since the majority of them will not respond. Jasmins sees her 6 month long stay in Middle America as an enormous enrichment that cannot be replaced by any short vacation. Sure she did not live perfectly, but it was still very good. She took part in a surf and linguistic course and learned a lot about the true lifes of the locals and witnessed their culture, which is still really characterized by the Maya civilisation.
Here you can find the link to her travel blog:
Topic 2: sustainable and environmental-friendly body care
Feryale, a French girl, who switched entirely to sustainable and natural body hygiene products, lead a very interesting course about the fabrication of divers care products. By means of different pastes, cremes and peeling she showed how easy and effective it is to create your own care and house cleaning products with lemons, natrium and vinegar. A few easy recipes, informations and links can be found here:
- shampoo: you can already find a few recipes for it online, but Feryale uses a mixture of rhassoul (a kind of deep cleaning mineral clay), natrium powder and natural soap (soap from Marseille or Aleppo f.e.). You can also only use a natural soap to wash your hair.
- hair mask/conditioner: Feryale uses a conditioner for her hait made from coconut oil which she mixes with shea butter
- peeling and skin care: who does not have to struggle with skin impurities such as pimples and blackheads at our age? These can also be beaten with natural products. You can produce your own serum: just mix lemon juice with natrium powder and apply it on the concerned skin parts. It is worthwhile to use a clean toothbrush to thoroughly rub and massage the impurities out.
Special tipp: the coffee peeling! All you need to produce it are slightly wetted coffee ground residues from your machine and a bit of coconut oil if you like. Apply and rub it softly on your skin! The effect is very impressive!
- feminine hygiene: Yes, there are also eco-friendly alternatives for that: the menstruation cup! (amongst others) You can use the same one for a very long time – until the end of time!
- house cleaning: and for the truly motivated people here – the Marseille or Aleppo soap can also be used to clean your house! (floors, windows, countertops, bath…) In the following video you will see how much unnecessary chemical and polluting cleaning products these soaps can truly replace.
Tuto : 4 produits écolo pour nettoyer sa maison Ça ne pollue pas, c'est moins cher, et ça désencombre nos placards. Avec La Maison du Zéro Déchet
Gepostet von Brut nature FR am Dienstag, 11. Juni 2019
Topic 3: internet consumption
One of the biggest and surely most complicated subject, that came up along the “4days4future” project, was the internet consumption during the use of electronic devices. We were depending on the knowledge of the few of us who were well informed on the subject due to their studies in automotive engineering and informatics, since our work group was mainly composed by unexperienced technical “laypeople”. Our biggest outcome: every process needs electricity!
To help you understand this process let us do a small thought experiment: you are sitting on the couch on the opposite side of the room is a basket with 5 bananas. You have 2 possibilities to get the bananas to the couch: walk 5 times and bring the bananes one by one (5 processes) or take the whole basket (one process). Obviously the first possibility costs you more effort. The same rule does also count for processes, which happen on your computer or smartphone. The more you change the “initial state” of the programs or documents (f.e. openin, closing, editing or deleting) the more energy you consume!
Attention, please! The storage of files, pictures, documents, etc. that already have been downloaded in closed state, is NOT costing any electricity, as long as their state is not changed actively.
What is insight of what we concluded, worth remembering:
- the downloading and editing should be avoid if possible (only open emails, newsletter, etc. if you can truly need them)
- delete unnecessary sendings such as publicity mails and newsletter, since each sent mail is an energy-intensive process (to ease your task we recommand the use of the “cleanfox” app)
- only keep the documents and programs running that you truly need (avoid unnecessary background process)
- only download and send as much pictures as needed, since the compressing of the data energy-intensive is (Snapchat and Instagram are therefore anything but eco-friendly)
Topic 4: Climate in the kitchen
As the most of us know from the newspaper, every year we are wasting millions of tons of food, while they are children dying from hunger in other countries. What seems to be an unmanageable and insurmountable problem, can be easily overcome. Meanwhile you can use apps, aside of your conscious food consumption, to help you act against food waste. The apps that are offering you such services are: “Etepetete”, “scan me”, “toxfox” or “too good to go”. Thanks to their help it is possible for you to buy and use products that would have been thrown away. Even the change to bip products is becoming easier and more accessible – the challenge consists in accepting to buy “unperfect”-looking aliments. The taste speaks for itself!
I sincerely hope that all those tipps will help you out and give you the initiative to participate to future events of the youngcaritas. Every new person and every new idea is an enrichment!
~ Hannah D.