International youth environmental parliament in St.Petersburg

"International Baltic Code of environmentally friendly behavior" was adopted by participants of International Youth Environmental Parliament (YEP), which was held on 22 April 2006 in Znamenka on the South coast of Gulf of Finland within Nordplus Neighbors Program of Nordic Council of Ministers. In Parliament took part more than 60 schoolchildren, students, teachers and activists of NGOs from Russia, Finland, Sweden and Estonia.

Opening of the meeting YEP was organized by inter-regional non-governmental non-profit youth environmental organization "Friends of the Baltic" in cooperation with Youth Environmental Club "Domovjonok", theater club "Rubikon" (Russko-Vysotskoye, Leningrad region), Lomonosov Center of Youth Environmental Tourism "The South Shore", "Optimal World" NGO (St.Petersburg), RUSSIA; T?l? gymnasium and H?gstadieskolan L?nkan school (Helsinki), Porkkala Senior High School (Kirkkunumi), Joutseno upper secondary school, FINLAND; ?stra Reals gymnasium (Stoskholm) SWEDEN, Center for Applied Ecology (Sillamae), ESTONIA.

Participants of YEP discussed, what means environmentally friendly lifestyle and what steps we can do to make our everyday life more harmonic and friendly to nature. Participants analyzed their own behavior, exchanged experience and opinions and made proposals for the Code in four workshops: "Environmentally friendly house/dwelling place", "Environmentally friendly food", "Eco-tourism/recreation/traveling", "Environmental culture and mentality". "Youth press-centre" was working during the YEP and prepared materials for publicity of YEP results.

"Safety for myself - safety for nature. Start from yourself and tell to others." - this was YEP slogan.

Participants of workshop "Environmentally friendly house" You can construct your house/flat using natural and non-toxic materials, which are produced in your region (to exclude costs for transportation); can save electricity, collect solid wastes separately, use water rationally, repair broken equipment in time, buy materials with eco-label. Participants of workshop "Environmentally friendly house" consider: these recommendations can be carried out by each person.

Participants of workshop "Environmentally friendly food" What we eat and how can we choose products in the shop, taking in consideration not only cost and beautiful packing? Participants of workshop "Environmentally friendly food" consider that when you buying food you should take into consideration information from what country and region is the food came from, possibility to recycle the packing, ingredients of this products, where and how fruits and vegetables were grown and so on. Eco-labeling of food is usual for many European countries. But in Russia you almost don't find such products in the shops. At the workshop participants managed to taste ecologically clean pears, apples, cheese and even chocolate.

Participants of workshop "Ecotourism" The term "Ecotourism" became very popular last years, but not so many people understand what does it mean. Participants of Parliament suggest simple recommendations for travelers: don't use more energy, water and land than you really need for your rest, don't harm the nature - use recycling materials, use less plastic and chemicals, compost your organic waste. Choose environmentally friendly types of transport: train, boat or bicycle. Support local producers and companies, which have ecological certificates, for example hotels with label "Green Key", beaches and water-craft with label "Blue Flag". Don't forget that your respect and interest makes local people proud of their nature and cultural values.

Participants of workshop "Environmental culture and mentality" All these recommendations seem to be very simple, but not everyone follow them. What we should change in our minds in order not only to use the nature's resources and gifts? Participants of workshop "Environmental culture and mentality" consider that everyone should revise the life values and understand that without clean water and air, green forests and meadows, without animals and plants we can't survive, even if we have a lot of money, big and beautiful houses, modern cars and another material values. The real values for all of us are our health and favorable environment, good relationship with each other and good intensions and deeds. These values should be popularized more on all levels: family, school and mass media. In order to influence people's mind we need to keep balance between negative and positive information. To tie the theoretical teaching of ecological subjects at schools to practical ecology we should move from subject-orientated to problem-orientated education. The education should help people to realize that we are not Masters of the nature, but we are a part of it. We should try to solve at least one local problem and don't hope for miracles, we should involve friends in environmental activities.

Tasting ecologically clean food

Participants of YEP decided to follow main positions of the Code and inform their friends and other people, because changing of our behavior can form environmentally friendly lifestyle of society and play important role in saving of favorable environment for us and for future generations. (Look at the Code here)

Youth Press-center prepared information, photos, and video-materials about work of YEP. These materials can be used for publications in mass media.

"Friends of the Baltic" NGO during several years developed the network between schoolchildren and teachers in the Baltic Scandinavian region, it has established good contacts with partners from Finland and Estonia. Common work in the Parliament has brought new partners - schoolchildren and teachers from Stockholm (Sweden). And it means that youth environmental movement grows and develops.

For more information please contact:
Friends of the Baltic NGO
Tel./fax: +7 (812) 3156622

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