Russian students learn to build greener future
On May 22, a panel discussion titled "Environmental Thinking in the Professions of the Future: a Fashion Trend or a Necessity?" took place in the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman lecture hall at the VDNH, Moscow. The event summed up the all-Russian educational quest "Another Planet" for students of secondary vocational schools and hosted a discussion on the key skills of the future and environmental thinking like one of these skills. The discussion was attended by representatives of business, the non-profit sector, and education. The discussion was moderated by Pavel Boev, regional manager for corporate social responsibility and sustainable development at Deloitte.
Opening the event, Anna Yevina, Senior Project Coordinator for WWF Russia, spoke about the results of the Another Planet quest, a unique for Russia environmental education project for college and technical school students. The quest was organized by WWF Russia and the Citi Foundation with the support of the ECA Movement. More than 1,600 students from 172 Russian secondary vocational schools became its participants; for 5 months, they plunged into the world of "green" professions and mastered the skills of the future that would be useful for their future life and career.
Anna Samokhvalova, Public Affairs Director at Citi for Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, stated that developing environmental awareness of young people is of great importance for the country. "This project is a model of social programs that Citi and its partners have been implementing in Russia for 16 years. The components of success are a bright idea aimed at developing economic opportunities, the scale and a strong partner represented by WWF. We are glad that the students were interested in the idea of the quest, they took a creative approach to task execution and achieved good results. We are proud of both the project and its results," she said.
The experts further discussed how and in what formats to develop the skills of the future, shared the experience of such projects, reflected on the role of environmental thinking and on key trends that already affect the labor market.
Daria Varlamova, Chief Editor of the Atlas of New Professions project, encouraged students to actively develop such future skills as creativity, communication, self-management, proactiveness, and critical thinking. In her opinion, the modern model of economics makes people think strategically and be proactive, new standards and ethics of behavior appear, offering ample opportunities for career trajectories.
Ekaterina Rybakova, Co-founder of the Rybakov Foundation, noted the role of mentoring in modern education and singled out its main task — training of an independent person through the formation of different types of thinking, including environmental thinking.
"When we talk about environmental thinking, we are talking about nothing but long-term thinking. A person who thinks long-term cannot but think about ecology. The world in which we will live tomorrow depends on what thinking patterns we will embed in the new generation," said Ekaterina Rybakova.
"Environmental thinking is a supra-professional skill that can and should be taught today. The question is, in what form and in which areas. According to forecasts, growth of the experience economy is expected. In this regard, ecotourism is a promising trend," said Dmitry Burenko, Co-founder of the Age of Anthropocene project.
President of the Social Leadership Development Foundation, spoke
about the need for managers to develop environmental thinking in
order to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into real
projects and promote them among company employees and the wider
community around it. Potential approaches and technologies include
design thinking, development of emotional intelligence and community
Experts agreed that global issues, including those related to the environmental crisis, need to be addressed not only through the training of specialists in the field of ecology, but also through the formation of skills for the future and, above all, environmental thinking. We thank the VDNH administration for providing a venue for discussion.