by Dimitri Vedel, project manager for the LIFE Blue Lakes microplastics project at the Lake Constance Foundation
Sustainability, resource protection and biodiversity are not new concepts for students. The topics are part of the curricula and the school classes deal with them in class. During the study trip of the graduating class of the Lycée Hubert Clément to Lake Constance, the students wanted to learn what can be done in practice to protect the environment and nature. The three-day excursion was designed to show the effects of pollution on the environment and to describe solutions.
At an information event on “Sustainable Development” with a fishbowl discussion, the Lake Constance Foundation together with the Global Nature Fund (GNF) from Radolfzell explained the importance of partnerships and discussed with the students what their suggestions are on how to address an invisible threat like microplastic. Dr. Viktor Konitzer from GNF addressed the importance of networking between different, relevant stakeholder groups for sustainable regional development on an international level. He demonstrated with different international examples how the integration of people, authorities and local NGOs can succeed and thus achieve the greatest possible impact for example in mangrove protection for the environment and nature. But cooperation is also essential in the work at Lake Constance. Dimitri Vedel, project manager for the Blue Lakes microplastics project at the Lake Constance Foundation talked about the challenges of bringing something that is supposedly invisible into the public eye and thus helping to protect the water quality of the lake, the Rhine and thus the oceans. One of the main goals here is to raise awareness among local authorities, business and tourism for nature-conserving, environmentally protective and sustainable development.
In the exchange with the committed students, it became clear how important educational work is and to explain connections, such as what tire abrasion has to do with microplastics. At the same time, they were asked to reconsider their own (plastic) consumption and to look for alternatives.
After the visit to the Lake Constance Foundation, the group traveled back to Luxembourg, where they will also be involved in the fight against microplastics. The study trip was organized by Aurelia e.V., the organization is specialized in school-cul-tour and creating (international) study trips on high school level.