‘What I did in my holidays’ by Laura, aged 36: reflections from the 2022 RCE Europe Regional Meeting
Laura Curtis-Moss is Vice-Chair of the Learning for Sustainability Scotland Steering Group and our Youth Co-ordinator. In this blog, she reflects on her recent participation in the 2022 RCE Europe Regional Meeting.
In mid-October, I took some annual leave from my day job to travel to the Netherlands with other Learning for Sustainability Scotland colleagues to attend the RCE Europe Regional Meeting – wearing my LfS Scotland Youth Co-ordinator hat for the last time as it was just over a week after my 36th birthday!
Setting the scene
Earlier in 2022, our hosts, RCE Fryslân, our sister Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development which covers the northern part of the Netherlands, hosted the first part of the 2022 RCE Europe Regional Meeting online; a fantastic and inclusive ‘first course’ to whet our appetites for an in-person meeting later in the year!
‘Greater than the Sum of the Parts’: Strengthening the European RCE Network for ESD
This second meeting brought together RCEs from across Europe; providing an opportunity to strengthen our Network and discuss in person how to continue our co-operation more effectively. A key theme showcased over the course of the meeting and running across every activity was that of a truly CIRCULAR approach to sustainability; and how to weave this across a whole community.
In Fryslân, this was a vision shared by everyone we met wherever we visited. We were humbled by the inspirational practice demonstrated by staff and students at Wannee Restaurant at the NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and Restaurant Kiem run by ROC Friese Poort; where the five principles of Dutch Cuisine (culture; health; nature; quality, and value) underpin hospitality training and their curricula have sustainability at their core.
Two other amazing visits were to AERES; a Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institute that has successfully implemented a Whole School Approach to sustainability with the curriculum and the ‘Living Labs: from Global Challenges to Local Solutions’ approach to translating theory into practice being demonstrated by staff and students at the University of Groningen Campus Fryslân. The icing on the cake of the whole experience, however, was being able to spend time with like-minded people who believe the future can be better.
Thoughts and next steps…
Some key things that I’m bringing home with me are the need to improve inclusion and accessibility across the ESD sector: something that Learning for Sustainability Scotland are going to be actively working on in 2023 and beyond. That, and a shell from the Waddensea to remember a remarkable trip.
RCE Fryslân hosted the Europe Regional Meeting 2022 (part II) from 10-13 October, 2022 around the theme of ‘Greater than the Sum of the Parts’, with the support of RCE Scotland, RCE Oldenburger-Münsterland, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Ministry of the Environment, Japan and financial support of the Province of Fryslân, Netherlands.
More information about the meeting can be found here: https://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/european-rces-gather-engage-exchange-and-identify-action-points-advance-goals-region-regional