To echo the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), encourage people to make Taiwan as a starting point to understand local and global environmental threats, and subsequently inspire people to find solutions and take actions, the EPA organized for the first time a three-day 2020 International Environmental Issues and Education Workshop that was geared toward foreign students studying in Taiwan. A total of 30 students and young people from 16 countries attended the workshop from 29 November to 1 December to share and exchange experiences.
Since 2014, the EPA has been implementing jointly with the USEPA the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP), which aims to promote regional and global environmental education and facilitate collaboration networks to respond to common environmental challenges. The partnership also established the Asia-Pacific GEEP Center in 2019, allowing Taiwan to take the lead in promoting exchanges and collaborations on environmental education among countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, global exchanges were limited in 2020. The EPA therefore took a different approach and organized an international workshop that broke national and geographical barriers to allow Taiwan to continue to exert its influence, and for the world to see Taiwan’s outstanding experience and creative ingenuity in environmental education.
With the Force of Environmental Action Awakens as the theme, and through courses that combined theory and practice, the workshop covered environmental literacy, initiatives and actions to enhance participants awareness and a toolkit for sustainable development. The workshop played a video that was pre-recorded by Judy Braus, Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) which is the GEEP secretariat to explain to all participants the core beliefs and goals of the GEEP. She also encouraged all participants to believe in the power of education for bringing change to the future.
Through learning about the development of environmental education in Taiwan and various creative strategies for environmental actions and group discussions, the workshop aimed to inspire these 30 young students/environmental educators to come up with and share solutions for environmental issues that arose in their hometowns. In addition, the workshop took participants, each with their reusable utensils, on a tour to plastic-free night markets to experience green lifestyle in action. Furthermore, the workshop also brought participants to experience in person environmental education courses in Taijiang National Park and Chiaonan Community. They also watched traditional puppet shows that conveyed environmental protection concepts in the community and learned about efforts of locals towards environmental protection.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Dec 2020
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)