This year, the Italian Climate Network was called upon to integrate the air quality monitoring activities carried out by the Municipality of Milan and AMAT as part of the Air Climate Plan, with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, with a training component aimed at primary schools.

Expert trainers from ICN met with over 750 boys and girls from schools in the Milan Metropolitan City to share scientific knowledge and provide them with tools to understand air quality issues. The lessons helped the pupils learn about the concepts of pollution and global warming, the difference and connections between these phenomena, and also the mitigation and adaptation measures that can be implemented as individuals and as a community, including school roads, the 30km/h speed limit, and other good practices for a sustainable lifestyle. 

ICN believes that providing awareness tools is a key aspect, considering that it is from the youngest that the change we need as a society can start.

To realise the Mission Clean Air project, Italian Climate Network has designed specific educational materials suitable for primary school age groups. Made available to classes in the form of cards, they were produced in collaboration with Edizioni Ambiente, involving illustrator Alessia Lotti’s “Alternates” and game designer Federico Latini. The scientific contents and activity proposals were taken care of by Serena Giacomin, an atmospheric physicist and climatologist, President of ICN. 

After this initial training and introduction by ICN on the subject of air quality during the meetings at school, enriched with games and simple experiments aimed at actively involving the boys and girls, the way is then open for work that each teacher can carry out with his or her class independently and integrate with other school activities. By creating an educational alliance, a profound appropriation of the proposed content and the construction of an awareness that is fundamental for feeling oneself a full citizen is made possible. The classes thus continue their Clean Air Mission, individually or as interclasses, sending in some cases photographic evidence of their own journey.

An exemplary case among them was the Istituto Comprensivo Simona Giorgi ex T. Ciresola, where the Clean Air Mission project became part of a broader pathway on the topic of sustainability in which the school was engaged thanks to the European e-Twinning project “Together for a Beautiful, Inclusive, Sustainable School of the Future”. This experience emphasises the importance of creating interdisciplinary connections around complex topics such as combating pollution and climate change, thus succeeding in connecting the knowledge acquired over the course of an entire school year and linking the local dimension to the global one. As the Italian Climate Network, we are proud to have contributed to adding a piece to this valuable experience of exchange between classes on an international scale, which fully recognises the role of boys and girls as active citizens. 

Article by Maria De Pasquale, Climate and Education Coordinator

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