By Young Europeans
“European Footprints” is a multimedia project on the Sustainable Development Goals showing young Europeans’ viewpoints on sustainable development: what do young Europeans care about?
We strive to raise awareness among all who share European values about the footprints we leave behind and empower them to cultivate a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle – ecologically, socially and emotionally. We have 3 main pillars: Europe, Sustainability, and Stories.
We believe “European” is an attitude; not by taking a geographical or political stance, but by uniting diverse groups and striving towards common goals of stability, well-being, and community-building. We think the best way to live your life is to take only what you need, without causing any harm to your social and natural environment. We rely on storytelling as a medium to reach across borders and inspire identification with a common European cultural space.
In October 2018, a group of trainees of the European Commission Blue Book traineeship started to produce a short educational video to raise awareness on the SDGs, under the mentorship of Director General of EAC, Themis Christophidou, and in collaboration with the World’s Largest Lesson – an NGO introducing the Sustainable Development Goals to school aged children.
They launched an open call to involve other participants and the outcome turned out to be unexpected: there were so many young Europeans out there caring about many different things concerning their future and sustainability. A short video simply wouldn’t have been enough to collect all their personal stories, amazing projects or grass-roots initiatives connected to the Goals. That is how the European Footprints initiative came to life.
The project covers perspectives from all 28 EU member states, involving former European Commission trainees who have come to share their stories both on camera and on paper. For example, Monika from Lithuania shares her experiences with gender equality, Diego from Spain is part of a music project striving to promote cultural inclusion, Stefanie from Austria shares her responsible nutrition choices, Giulia from Italy talks about her work as a chemical engineer, and many others.
The project’s title “European Footprints” summarizes it all: it is undeniable that we all leave some traces behind us, but we have the power to choose to leave a responsible footprint, one that takes into consideration the world we live in and one that perhaps others can follow!
The European Footprints project has rapidly grown into 2 complementary sub-projects: videos and storybook.
We have produced 3 videos, grouping the participants’ contributions into 3 main thematic clusters:
NATURE CLIMATE and ENVIRONMENT
The videos are available online in a dedicated Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The language of the videos is English, but subtitles are provided in 20 EU languages: English, Croatian, Czech, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Slovak, Slovene, Finnish, Swedish, Maltese, Greek, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Irish. Our aim is to provide subtitles in all 24 EU languages and new subtitles will be directly uploaded on our YouTube channel.
The “#WhatDoYouCareAbout” storybook has been created as a teaching tool to be used in classrooms or educational workshops for students (13 – 18 yo). It combines the participants’ personal stories with additional teaching resources, such as facts and questions on sustainable development, the EU institutions and programmes.
The stories can be read all together as an introduction to sustainable development, but also function as independent examples of citizens’ initiatives.
Download the storybook HERE
The European Footprints initiative started with the aim to produce a video showing young Europeans’ interest in SDGs. The project now wishes to connect young people all over Europe through the medium of personal narratives and provide them with accessible, inclusive and imaginative spaces to take their own steps towards more sustainable societies.
As of December 2019, we are sourcing funding and support in order to continue our work as a non-profit association and further develop the future basis for our project. This includes developing a visual identity, new materials (new videos, translation of the storybook into other EU languages) and a website. The latter will also function as a platform to disseminate the project’s resources.
YouTube: European Footprints