From the beginning, AIR-HERITAGE has actively tried to involve a significant number of students, and in parallel parents and teachers, with the aim to raise their awareness on the impact of everyday choices on air pollution.
More specifically, environmental educational courses have been introduced in schools. These put emphasis on the fundamental role that every single person can play in protecting the environment and improving the air quality of the city. Students learn about air pollution, for instance sources and causes of air pollution, their personal contribution to pollution, their exposure to pollution and ways to curb air pollution, as well as the importance of monitoring and modelling air quality. As these courses are interactive, and promote discussions in the classroom, students have the opportunity to raise questions and critically process the information provided. As a result, students have become concerned about their contribution but also exposure to air pollution, and have already been thinking of ways to reduce their share to air pollution by changing their behaviour. But learning does not stop in the classroom. Students are enthusiastically further disseminating knowledge and promoting behaviour change to other students, for example through posts in social media and other activities.
In addition to this, numerous workshops have been organised for parents and students that further diffuse AIR-HERITAGE to the local community. During these workshops, participants have the opportunity to share their opinion, discuss problems faced and potential solutions. After each workshop participants can provide feedback during follow up meetings and discussions and help improve future activities.
And then, everything changed…. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government in Italy imposed a national quarantine, restricting the movement of the population. The lockdown mandated the temporary suspension of all non-essential economic activities in Italy (e.g. shops and businesses) and the closure of schools. As such, many of the AIR-HERITAGE activities had to be paused or postponed.
But this does not mean that education stops, nor does it mean that AIR-HERITAGE stopped trying to improve the air we breathe. To maintain momentum, the educational courses were moved on line, and an online questionnaire for students was developed and distributed through the channels that teachers use for their online lessons, but also through other online channels. In this way, students had the opportunity to contribute to AIR-HERITAGE, in particular to the ongoing sociological and statistical surveys, whilst in parallel have some fun.
In the near future, students will be involved in implementing sustainable mobility projects. This is when the real fun will start and AIR-HERITAGE will change the way students move in the city. In particular, groups of students from 9 schools will participate in pedibus, a structured walk from and to school with predetermined stops near students homes. So students will see in practice that they do not have to use a car, a bike, or public transport to go to school, they can just walk. They can all just walk together and improve the present and the future of the city. Thus, with this fun and efficient way, sustainable mobility will be promoted and demonstrated in practice. Other modes of transport will also be promoted included the use of bicycles and greener public transport.
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You can also explore the AIR-HERITAGE site in Italian.