Norway's SPARE Project
Norway produces all sorts of things – Vikings, Edvard Munch, Christmas trees – and, since 1996, they’ve also produced environmental education. Friends of the Earth Norway decided that if you want to educate the world, you should start with its kids. The SPARE project (School Project for Application of Resources and Energy) teaches school children about where energy comes from, how it works and why it needs to be conserved. It’s a curriculum that starts with the big bang and works its way all the way down to interrogating white goods salesfolk about their fridges. It started in Norway and is now taught across 17 European countries.
Students are given workshops emphasising that we use electronics, stoves and cars in our lives – not coal, gas or oil. Practical experiments help them see that we can swap out how the energy gets made. They make solar-heating boxes or get taught the basics of insulation with a cup of tea and a metal spoon. Other principles get taken home – like reading the electricity meter, and experimenting with how much energy their family can save. Sure, these things can be done with everyday devices, but nothing gets change done like a child who understands climate change, and who won’t take no for an answer.
By Zacha Rosen