EcoFootprint Romania Project




Everyone who pays some attention to the world around them is aware of the fact that we are facing ecological and environmental issues, but there are two other facts that remain to be ignored by the large public: the severity of these issues and the importance of education in the process of stopping them. Most people continue to believe that the well-known processes of global warming, biodiversity crisis and environmental pollution  will only show their destructive effects in other parts of the world, far removed from their own lives, in hundreds or even thousands of years into the future, and therefore do not feel the urge to push towards an education system, in which schools would be required to teach children about concepts such as the ecological footprint or biodiversity.

One of the EcoFootprint Romania Project’s main goals is to change this attitude in as many people as possible. In order to protect our planet and to save humanity, everyone must understand the basic concepts of ecological awareness, but perhaps more importantly, everyone must become aware that we have no time to wait in this matter. We believe that this understanding can only grow globally, if ecological education starts at a very early age, introducing both concepts and solutions to children of school age. As discussed in one of our previous blog posts, children are incredibly receptive towards ideas relating to ecology, some even showing signs of a deeper, more emotional connection to the environment and its issues than many adults (“my life would change if there were no trees”)1. With that in mind, it is possible to see that the children are ready to become more eco-aware and most of them even have a tendency to immediately implement changes in their lifestyle – but the teachers should have the same attitudes.

With these goals and theoretical approaches in mind, the EcoFootprint Romania Project has organised a series of workshops for teachers in three major Romanian cities – Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Sighetu Marmației. The participating teachers were applicants who are interested in both environmental issues and in how eco-awareness can be successfully adapted to their respective classrooms. They were taught by professors and ecological experts, who introduced the participants to the most important ecological concepts, such as the ecological footprint, the global hectare and the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy resources, not shying away from the fact that the issues highlighted by these concepts are not only incredibly distressing, but also require our immediate attention. Furthermore, teachers were also introduced to certain educational methods that could help their journey towards eco-awareness (including the SINELG-method2) and were asked to work in teams to come up with solutions to the ecological issues they have just about during the day.


The feedback we have received from participating teachers highlights two things. Firstly, while the base concepts of eco-awareness might be obvious for those who are more engaged with this topic, the participating teachers were happy to expand their knowledge in this field, as to the vast majority of them, ideas like the ecological footprint or the global hectare were unknown before the workshop. Secondly, the teachers were absolutely not aware of both the severity of the problems and the somewhat easier solutions that are available to them. To quote one teacher from Sighetu Marmației: “the most insignificant personal habits can have a major effect on the environment.” This quote perfectly encapsulates the main ethos behind our project, but also the eco-movement in general: small habits create big disturbances, and small habit changes create big solutions.


According to the feedback, teachers have also become keen to create small changes in their respective lifestyles to reduce their ecological footprint (the majority highlighting the importance of shopping local and reducing meat consumption), which they will also transfer to their classroom. This will create a chain of ecological change, in which the teacher makes small changes to their lifestyles, presents it to their class, and with that inspires their 30-50 children to make similar changes in their own household, forcing their parents and friends to reduce their ecological footprint in any possible way. This chain of inspiration is also how we as a project, and you as followers of eco-awareness can measure a sense of success in this matter: the more small changes to people’s lifestyles, the better chances our planet (and us as humans) have for survival. We contribute how we can, and our Earth will thrive!

1) José A. Corraliza, Silvia Collado: Ecological Awareness and Children’s Environmental Experience,

2) The SINELG-method encourages active reading in children, with special attention to maximising reading comprehension.

Zoard Honeczy