From the 2nd to the 11th of July 35 young people between 16 and 30 years from all over Europe came together in Apetlon in the national park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel in Austria for the first ever Hoopoe Summit. The main objective of the event was to create the Hoopoe Declaration, a document outlining the participant’s demands for the future of Europe.
The Hoopoe Summit 2021
From the 2nd to the 11th of July 35 young people between 16 and 30 years from all over Europe came together in Apetlon in the national park Neusiedlersee-Seewinkel in Austria for the first ever Hoopoe Summit. The summit was initiated by Green Steps to connect and empower Europe’s youth in the fight against the climate crisis. Five groups of six people each joined from Germany, Spain, Lithuania, Georgia and Austria. The main objective of the event was to create the Hoopoe Declaration, a document outlining the participant’s demands for the future of Europe.
This is what they have to say:
- We demand from European policymakers to make nature connection an educational priority.
- We demand to give easier access to meaningful jobs.
- We demand to policymakers to enact laws which reduce climate change apathy, e.g. through higher taxes on planet and people exploiting corporations or compulsory labels on climate negative products.
- We demand that European governments make available more financial resources for young professional nature educators.
- We demand to lower thresholds to set up social businesses and educate more widely about social impact.
YOu can read the full declaration here
From arrival day onwards the mood in the camp was very positive. All participants were eager to get to know each other and learn about the stunning location. Every morning they went out with national park rangers and discovered different parts of the local ecosystem together. The Neusiedler See-area is famous for its enormous diversity of birds. 348 different species can be spotted here over the course of the year, thanks to its location on a common route for migratory birds. Another specialty of this national park are the salt marshes, a very rare phenomenon in central Europe. They are the last remains of an ocean that flooded these lands millions of years ago.
In the afternoons the participants were able to create their own activities or share best practices by using the ARK. This opportunity was used by some to learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons while others facilitated a mindfulness walk. In addition, every day there was the chance to do nature journaling, which is a great way of deepening your connection to nature and to create a more immersive experience for yourself when you are out exploring.
The evenings were designated to the Hoopoe Declaration. Everyday a different country group was in charge of presenting a topic and leading the subsequent discussions. The topics nature disconnection, climate change apathy, meaningless modernity, youth unemployment and low productivity of social entrepreneurs were chosen beforehand.
The detailed input from the country groups’ presentations always guaranteed vivid discussions in the mixed group sessions afterwards. The results of the evening were then put to paper and eventually fuelled the demands, which are outlined in the declaration.
The summit peaked on Saturday July 10th with the presentation of the Hoopoe Declaration, which was written by a team from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (Austria). The document was formally handed over to MP Markus Koza from the green party as a representative for the government of Austria and Dr Robert Nehfort, a university professor for education for sustainable development at PH Burgenland. The country groups will now go on to do the same thing in their home countries and spread the word about young people vision for a better future.
In the end everybody would agree that the Hoopoe Summit was a great success. With the Hoopoe Declaration the participants formulated a valuable collection of demands from Europe’s decision-makers but equally important for them was the collective experience of connecting to likeminded people and enjoying a week of inspiring discussions and shared laughter. A combination that can empower you to be productive and impactful in your daily life.
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