Circular skills: Can young generation learn from their grandparents?

Angry teenagers are now blaming the older generation for polluting environment, destroying the ecological balance and causing global warming. All true. But do young people know how to knit? How to repair their clothes? How to take care of their shoes so that they last longer than one season? Or how to make something beautiful and useful out of their old stuff?

The irony is that the younger generation has no idea how to live sustainably. The actual circular skills and competences are still present in our culture, but they are practically invisible, because people who know how to share, repair, reuse, recycle and upcycle products and materials usually belong to the disadvantaged social groups. These are elderly people, people living in remote rural areas, or immigrants from developing countries who are not used to affluent habits of consumer society. They repair old things because they can’t afford to buy new ones. They don’t throw away disposable containers because they know how to reuse them.

All these groups have a lot of knowledge that can be shared with young adults who want to live more sustainably. But will they listen? Will they be interested? Will they be willing to learn? This is the challenging problem we are trying to solve by starting the project “Building green skills for circular economy”.

FENAN Consulting (Netherlands) together with Non-formal learning club WE (Lithuania) aim to develop an online course that will help to build circular skills for young adults and non-formal learning methodology to support adult educators and ecological activists with educational tools for building circular skills.

The main idea is to involve people from disadvantaged social groups (senior citizens, people from remote rural areas and migrants from developing countries) as non-formal ADULT EDUCATORS in our project. These people deserve their voice to be heard, their historical heritage to be respected, and their circular skills to be recognised. By sharing their circular skills, cultural heritage and creativity with the younger generation they can gain more social recognition. And the young generation will learn how to contribute to sustainable lifestyle by using, sharing, reusing, repairing, recycling and upcycling durable products and materials.

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