December 2022 in Varberg, Sweden. Participants coming from eight countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Türkiye, Portugal, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Sweden) had the chance to learn and share skills and knowledge about climate change and digital storytelling during the youth exchange “Digital Storytelling: DigiTime” on the dates 3-9.12.2022. Through different points of view and experience, youngsters confronted each other and discussed the diverse ecological situations in their countries, the different problems connected with the topic, and various ways to solve them.
Climate change is a very popular topic these days, and not without a reason. We live on the brink of a natural disaster. We cannot continue with the current system and our ways of living if we do not want to completely destroy the planet and the future of the next generations. The main cause of climate change is human activity. We have less and less time and we need changes – we need action. If we won’t do this and just continue the way we are living now – we have completely forfeited our future and that of other creatures that inhabit planet Earth. There will be more heat waves, floods, drastic cooling, famine, climate refugees, and a huge part of the inhabited surface covered in water. We need concerted action to reduce the severity of this disaster.
Thanks to this project, we learned how we can counteract this challenge. The good practices we have discovered and shared – buying used products, recycling, shorter showers, collecting the trash as well as cigarette butts, pushing for political change, reducing the number of animal products we consume, saving electricity, using public transport, and if possible choosing an electric car over traditional, supporting renewable energy sources, planning shopping and meals wisely, reducing unnecessary consumption, choosing green transport, and buying local food.
In order to raise awareness of climate change and a sustainable approach to our daily life we have been ambassadors of the movement against climate change through several activities. First of all, we have been informed about climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and the effects of all these factors on us. In each of the sessions, we have been split into groups to work on the materials. We created posters related to the topic. Also, everyone shared their point of view on the problems our world faces now. After the Sustainable Development Goals session, we created our own sustainable cities considering the current situation of our own cities and presented them. Connected to the main topic of the exchange and being the core name of our project (“DigiTime”), we also had the chance to enhance our digital skills and our art of storytelling by creating a video from scratch.
We started our journey of telling stories by understanding some of the styles used in this field. Then with groups, we faced the challenge of finding a story connection by using Dixit cards, and to sum up all our learning time we experienced first-hand what it’s like to be in the “Behind the Scenes”. From brainstorming the ideas at a round table to shooting our final videos, the journey was filled with cooperation, a delegation of tasks, much laughter, and freezing times (or wouldn’t we be in the cold lands of Sweden). However, most of the chills felt arose from the outstanding yet realistic job all the participants did raising awareness of our global situation and our human negative impact through filmmaking.
This youth exchange brought together a vibrant group of people of different nationalities and backgrounds. Each participant had a unique perspective on the topics that we were discussing, which naturally broadened our horizons. One of the greatest aspects of the project was experiencing the people and their stories. We challenged our ability to distinguish fact from opinion and strengthened our critical thinking skills.
We also had the wonderful chance to explore the local area which is enchantingly beautiful – on the coast of the North Sea. Participating in an intercultural night enriched us culturally by allowing us to learn more about each other’s countries’ traditions. However, the best part of the experience was how quickly and deeply we bonded in only one week. It’s fascinating how you can arrive all alone in a foreign country and in just 7 days you can gain close friends from all over the world.