I will take you on a journey of climate action, joy, tears, and development through Italy. It was the 1st of June 2021 when I decided that I will go on a volunteering project with AIESEC in Torino. I decided that I want to be part of the change. Bringing my contribution to a cleaner planet while traveling, meeting amazing people from different backgrounds, having fun, and developing myself.
The project called “Lead Nature” started on the 29th of June and ended on the 1st of August and it was focused on the 13th Sustainable Development Goal: Climate Action. These six weeks highlighted the most amazing summer for me. I was very confused and a bit scared of what will come. But when I arrived there, I was welcomed in a little family of 9 other volunteers from all over Europe, and each of them had a nervous excitement in their voice. We were all curious about what was yet to come.
How did 10 students contribute to the change?
Through these six weeks of the project, we’ve been through a whole process of learning. We were doing a lot of activities, contributing to climate action: (1) cleaning forests and beaches; (2) cutting bamboo forests (3) volunteering in an EcoVillage
Climate action through cleaning forests and beaches
Each week we were traveling to a lake/forest to clean and recycle the trash that surrounded them. Sometimes it was frustrating as there were huge amounts of trash and after hours of cleaning in the sun, we were finding more and more. However, that’s how I realized that if each of us is doing a small effort to clean the surroundings and stop throwing garbage in nature, the problem will not be so crucial anymore. What were the most unusual things that we found? From irons, car tires, fridges, sex toys, and many more random things thrown in the forests.
2. Climate action through cutting bamboos
We learned a lot about alien/invasive species. We saw how alien species are so damaging to the local fauna and flora and took action for it. In Carignano, a city near Torino there is a forest of bamboos. Even tho it looks kind of pretty, it is very damaging to the other species of plants as it takes all the light and space from them and bamboos expand extremely fast, so once they start growing and spreading, it is a matter of time until they kill the local species. Therefore, we started cutting down this tall bamboo forest. It was one of the funnest activities we did in the project. An important point here is that from the bamboos that we were cutting, people made fences or tables, so they didn’t go to waste.
3. Climate action in an Ecovillage
After the project ended, and some of the volunteers decided that we don’t want the experience to end, and through the application WorkAway, we found a nearby EcoVillage in which a family hosted us and gave us food, while we were helping them within the farm and around the house. Here we saw how possible it is to build and sustain a community through environmental practices and very little waste. Here we were volunteering at a sustainable farm, helping with planting salad and maintaining the greenhouse.
This was such an emotionally fulfilling experience and I was so grateful to choose to go in a volunteering project where I acquired so much knowledge and meet amazing people. Also, after I took part in this project I decided to become the Health Manager as a member of AIESEC.
- post written by: Iasmina Caramidariu