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Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Green Entrepreneurs Europe

The GEE (Green Entrepreneurship Europe) project aims to bring together the twin necessities of a green economy and increased entrepreneurship that provides meaningful jobs and restores our natural wealth. GEE will improve the capacity of schools to teach the key competencies and skills for young people to take an active role in building the green economy and strengthen cooperation between school and the world of work. GEE has been identified by the partners as a response to the need for a pan-European response to building the green economy, a belief shared by our project schools that have identified entrepreneurship education as a priority.

Find out more about taking part: GEE Project for Teachers and Students

Green entrepreneurship is not primarily about starting a business but about taking responsibility for your life choices. Once you feel responsible for your environment, who you are and what you do, you can discover an opportunity or an opening in a market or you might just find a more sustainable process at work. It is this attitude of positive action that defines green entrepreneurship. This is the foundation for entrepreneurs who start a business to make or offer a product, service, or process that benefits the environment.

GEE marries an understanding of the natural world with the skills for entrepreneurship. The natural world is a model for sustainability; it is both a mentor and measure. By learning the principles that make nature sustainable, we can apply the same principles towards entrepreneurship to create new business ideas and job opportunities that meet Europe’s need for a green economy.

The natural environment provides the ideal environment for learning about sustainability. In natural systems there is no waste; it is food for another process. We can apply this ‘waste=food’ principle to the business world. Coffee grounds from cafes which they consider a waste product can be used to grow high value mushrooms. Starbucks is aiming to turn thousands of tons of its waste coffee grounds into everyday products by using bacteria to generate succinic acid which can then be used in a range of products from detergents to bio-plastics and medicines.

These examples demonstrate that it is possible to rethink how we make and use things. By connecting directly with local business and entrepreneurs we will create excitement about what young people can do now, making it practical and not theoretical. This will also stimulate an interest in young people to develop their own ideas and further their motivation and entrepreneurial skills.

To make this change possible pupils need a different set of skills and knowledge. A change from reductionist to whole systems thinking will be critical. To design sustainable products and services for the 21st century pupils will need the ability to think in systems, to see the bigger picture and connect diverse impacts. Thinking in whole systems rather than parts will lead to better decisions. For example, traditional problem solving see the world as linear i.e. solutions are simple and target a specific issue. This can lead to unintended consequences such as the rush for biofuels to power cars in Europe that reduced land for growing food crops and increased stress on food systems. A whole systems approach looks for these unintended consequences and designs better solutions. GEE will be unique in it will encourage the competencies to think systemically, synthesize ideas from a range of perspectives and promote collaborative cross-disciplinary approaches. We aim for transformative not additive learning.

To learn more about the project please contact Noel Elliot.

Our Project Partners:

Bernu Vides skola (Latvia)

Focus Eco Centre (Romania)

Fundacion Tierra Integral (Spain)

Ecosystem Europe Association (Bulgaria)

Business in the Community (Northern Ireland)

Prakse.lv (Latvia)

Asociatia Intreprinzatorilor Arbor (Romania)

Integral Sociedad para el Desarrollo Rural (Spain)

Business Foundation for Education (Bulgaria)

BIC Innobridge (Bulgaria)

 

Green Entrepreneurs Europe has received support from the European Union Erasmus+ programme.

This publication has been produced with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the Field Studies Council and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the NA and the Commission.