03 • 10 • 2017

Eco-school Students Give Their Contribution to Low Carbon Development

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Joint learning on climate change and low carbon development was the main goal of the Latvian eco-school forest expedition held on 29 September. JSC "Latvia's State Forests" (LVM), together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and the Nature Protection Board, encouraged children to think globally, act locally and plant their own low carbon development forest, to be used in the future both as a place for leisure activities, as well as for educational purposes.

During the LVM-led expedition, school students moving from one stop to the other, performed practical tasks, which also supplemented their theoretical knowledge. In this adventure, the school students sought answers to such questions as which tree can be sawn, and which still should grow; where does a large tree start; how to determine the age of a tree; and what creatures live in the forest.

The students were very much surprised that the size of a tree depends to such a great extent on the growing conditions. At the first stop of the expedition, the students headed to the forest to observe pine trees that grow in a well-tended and thinned stand, while at the last stop, where the students were asked to determine the age of trees, they could see pine trees that were growing in underbrush, where selective felling had been previously carried out. It was a great surprise to the students that the pine trees that were growing in underbrush were even 20 years old, but very small, less than a metre in height; while in the tended young stand, the pine trees were only 9 years old, but already three times taller than the students determining their age.

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During the day, 111 students from 14 schools in Latvia jointly planted 500 pine trees. Steinar Egil Hagen, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Norway to Latvia, also took part in the planting process.

"I am happy to participate in this event to raise issues that are faced in solving climate change and environmental problems. It is important to take measures at the local level to prevent climate change and promote sustainable development," the Ambassador pointed out.

The children participated in 14 different workshops, where they could learn about both the impact of trees on climate change, and about the role of marshes in the accumulation of carbon dioxide, as well as in climate change in Latvia.

The planting of a low carbon development forest is an introductory event of the  international conference organised by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development "Baltic Way to Low Carbon and Climate Resilient Development" (Baltijas ceļš uz oglekļa mazietilpīgu un klimatnoturīgu attīstību), which is to take place in Riga, on 30-31 October 2017.

Prevention of climate change and the associated risks are the main benefits of low carbon development. However, these benefits are supplemented by other, no less important aspects such as a stimulus for economic growth promoted by the development of the "green technologies", more efficient use of resources, improvement of health and quality of life, which is faciliated by the reduction of air pollution, etc.