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Youth's visions for sustainable futures

May 2024

In April, the Norwegian CULTIVATE team visited Austrheim high school – one of three high schools in Nordhordland UNESCO biosphere – to lead a day focused on sustainability and cultural landscapes in the past and in the future. There were about 20 students aged from 15-16. First, they were introduced to the fact that they live in a UNESCO biosphere reserve, and what it is and what it means. Further, they learned about ecosystem services – or natures benefits to people – focusing on the coastal heathlands, which is the traditional cultural landscape in this part of Nordhordland BR. After the introduction in the classroom, the students were taken out into the heathlands to assess different ecosystem services.

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Following the evaluation of ecosystem services outdoors, the students were brought back inside, and it was time to look forward. Using the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes methodology, the students worked in groups together with a facilitator, creating a common positive vision for the year 2054. Further, they identified seeds – meaning existing initiatives, projects, organisations, etc. – that could help reach their future vision. With the help of the facilitator, seeds were then clustered into different categories, and by focusing on one seed-cluster at the time, the students thought of and came up with suggestions as to which stakeholders are important for the seeds in question, and potential barriers and enablers.


The same procedure was repeated in May with first-year students of Knarvik high school – only this time there were about 80 students. To accommodate so many students, this day was hosted at the Heathland Centre on Lygra island in Nordhordland BR.

Data are yet to be analysed, but an interesting note, made with both high schools by several people facilitating the workshops, was that where adults envision open landscapes free of forests, youth seem to envision more trees, and less forest harvesting. As Nordhordland has previously been dominated by very open, tree-less landscapes in the past, spruce planting during the 1950s-1980s has now resulted in many areas with dense spruce plantations – and recently a lot of forest harvesting. It seems like both age groups prefer the landscapes they grew up in, the landscapes they know.



It will be very interesting to compare the workshop results with those of Wester Ross, Hiiumaa, and Trebon Basin.

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