Our intern Sebastian was at his first IYNF activity and his first non-formal education experience earlier this month, when he was part of the team for “Keeping Sane within Climate Activism”. He wrote a little recap of the activity so sit back and enjoy!

The training workshop took place during the second week of May in Reichenau an der Rax, Austria where the participants experienced a different climate activism approach. The trainers, Mona and Tadzio were the guides on the activities and workshops of the training course. Within their own experiences as Climate Activists and knowledge on different areas related to the environment, they guided and instructed the whole group. The participation and atmosphere was the most favourable. The encounter within oneself and nature was the aim of the course, and we are glad to affirm that we all reached that goal. We cannot tell the whole activities, emotions, feelings, thoughts and sensations of the week, but here’s a quick recap of the amazing week in Austria.

Day 1

The participants arrived to Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben in Reichenau au der Rax. To arrive at the hut, it was needed to take a train in the mountain called “Salamander”, and then one hour hiking. It was challenging,  but well worth it the incredible view and contact with undisturbed nature. The landscape was full of deciduous trees, such as Oaks, Chestnuts, Birch, among fauna species. After arriving at the lovely hut and settling in their rooms,  the participants started to plan the rest of the week along with the trainers. After getting familiar with each other and the expectations of this course, the first workshops started. Participants got to know each other and the trainers.

Then the activities in nature began, having some strolls through the woods and the surroundings. After an exhausting first day, the participants had dinner and rested for the upcoming days.

Day 2

After the vegetarian/vegan breakfast, the participants went to a hike in the mountain, learning about different types of plants and other vegetation. At the end of the hike, the landscape view was sublime, which also was time for reflection and conversation about environment and mental health. After coming back, more workshops took place, topics such as; what brings us together for climate activism, the reasons for starting this journey and what we want to achieve.

Likewise, the trainers had an activity, consisting of identifying the methods and tactics to address climate change activism. Setting start goals with the SMART tactic, with the participation of the whole group. Identifying the problems that concern the most on environmental matters. Also the resources at hand, that every advocate for climate change shall dispose and strive for. And at the end the Spectrum of allies, which settle the bar for those sectors that as climate activists we want to reach and raise awareness depending on their beliefs and thoughts.

Day 3

For many of the participants and staff was the most nurturing and enlightening day. The workshop started with an activity of inner introspection among the earth. Participants needed to remember sensations and feelings, starting with the beginning of their day, then last week, and so on, until arriving at the beginning of time. Then come back gradually, with important dates and events, until that day. The focus was on environment protection and oneself. It was emotional and enlightening, many feelings and concerns were on sight. But most important, the atmosphere was alike to all, the purpose of feeling the world and his weight was settled. Then we had another workshop to clear our minds and thoughts about the experience.

Day 4

After more sessions with the trainers, one of the activities consisted of expressing our concerns and fears on advocating for the environment. It was a moment of finding ourselves and which role we play on this planet. Realising that we are not alone in this fight for what belongs to all of us, that we are part of something bigger than us, that we are all one together, that it is our home that we need to take care of and preserve.

After the meal, another session started, now with my interview-podcast, about Mexico and its populistic-environmental issues. I was interviewed by Tadzio about how the current government is committing an ecocide in the south of Mexico, with no regards to the right to a clean, healthy, sustainable environment or the endangerment of species and flora.

If you are curious to know more about what was said, you can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Day 5

The last day of activities arrived, the participants were aware of their feeling of belonging to environmental advocacy, and a sense of harmony was present in the room. The trainers prepared some activities of collective support. A particular one was lifting members of the group with our index finger. At first people were sceptical, but after trusting each other and our trainers, we made it possible. We also sketched our learnings and had a view of our expectations of the training course. The participants had time for themselves and nature, which was spent with joy and consciousness. 

After final thoughts about the previous days, we had one last chat with the whole group and prepared for the upcoming trip of the next day.

The learning and teaching will prevail among the group, the notion of defending the environment is a task that we all promised to look for and defend no matter the circumstances.  There is a necessity for climate activists to try keeping a sane state of mind while advocating for the climate, which is an imperative need for this tremendous task. We believe this week will persist in the hearts of the participants and will take the learnings forever. 

Thanks to the whole organisation for this week, it’s been an amazing experience.