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GreenVoice: you reap what you sow

Article by Patrycja Perek, traduction française Kate O' Dwyer, traducción española Diego Beamonte
10 October 2011

As the old adage goes 'you reap what you sow'. Although the effects may not be felt for another few years, the ICV workshops, now in their second consecutive year, are setting a fertile foundation for the future. During July and August, over 200 children aged 8 to 12 attended activities that were part of the environmental program “GreenVoice”. As Dustin Miller, one of the volunteers overlooking the children admitted, "They are at the best age to learn. They can absorb everything that is being discussed and still enjoy it at the same time. I think it is educational and fun for them as well."

In fact, it was a lot of fun. But before the children sat on the grass, under the tree and started playing Wheel of Fortune, they took a trip to a place not accessible to most people. It was La Voirie, the recycling and waste management center in Geneva. There the children got acquainted with how the center functions and informed about the processes of sorting and recycling waste. The tour was guided by a knowledgeable man around who knows all secrets of the center, Jean-Marc Robbiani from the Service Communication de la Voirie.

The recycling center is a place which normally people do not give second thought to, but has a big impact on their daily life. Every year, 50 million tons of garbage is being recycle here. Although this might seem to be an impressive number, recycling specialists know that it still does not ensure ecological success. "Recycling in Geneva has reached a stagnation point. Roughly 37% of garbage is being recycled. In terms of catching up with other communities, Geneva still has to make more progress", underlines Mr. Robbiani. This race is a challenge, but there are many ways to win it. One approach is to help the citizens of Geneva realize that the growing mountain of waste will not disappear by itself. This is why the children's visit to Voirie is so meaningful and potentially fruitful for the future. According to Diego Beamonte, the GreenVoice Program Coordinator, these types of workshops are an excellent way to raise awareness amongst parents as well, because the kids become the communication channel and promoters at home.

After the visit to the recycling center, the children witnessed first hand how littering the environment and lack of respect towards nature impacts the Earth. Along with ICV volunteers, they saw at Quai Wilson the GreenVoice photography exhibition. There, photographs from all over the world depicted the devastation of nature due to the apathy and the careless behavior of humans.

The last part of the workshops, at the parc Mon Repos, caught the attention of all those who strolled by. With a big Wheel of Fortune as the backdrop and computers scattered on the lawn, it was quite an unusual scene. But it had an important purpose. Through questionnaires, computer games and competitions, the event coordinators were able to quiz the children on what they had learned throughout the day and their knowledge about recycling at home. "It reiterates and reinforces information that they might not have realized and ensures that they will remember these facts in the future. Hopefully they will share this information with others who were unable to attend these workshops," stated Dustin Miller. And this sentiment was shared and reflected by one of the participants who said after the workshop: "I knew quite a bit about recycling, but I have learned something more and it was fun!”

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