Will insects and education save our future?
9 November 2020
As you may know, Tallinn has taken part in the competition for the European Green Capital for quite some time know. This year we were one of the finalists to become European Green Capital 2022. Unfortunately we had to accept a slight loss to the French city of Grenoble. Our willfulness has no boundaries and therefore Tallinn has announced, yet again, that we will be running the European Green Capital 2023. So, the big question is – what will we do differently from previous years? Oh, I’m glad you’ve asked!
This time we believe to have the ace in our back pockets!
Our city is developing a species-rich linear park and a green movement passage called the “Insect Trail” (i.e. “Putukaväil”). There are many big plusses with the “Insect Trail”. To mention a few - it will bring fresh quality for city life, offer a new movement connection and provide various community activities, whether it will be urban gardening, city beekeeping, festivals or other fun community get-togethers. The trail will be a part of a public space concept based on biodiversity, nature-centered solutions and soft mobility movement corridor. This completely green “Insect Trail” will ultimately connect six city districts to the city center and create ways to boost soft mobility. The greenway path will lead a 15 kilometers long flow from the city center to different residential areas.
Our planet is facing the dire consequences of climate change and a global effort is underway to reduce emissions and create a sustainable future for new generations. That’s why one of the central themes of our “Insect Trail” is the promotion of sustainable modes of transportation: walking, cycling, e-scootering and, not to forget, the use of public transport. These small steps of promoting soft mobility will add up to a larger impact – the habit of using soft mobility. In the future this green trail will hopefully be a way to schools, kindergartens and even to the markets and offices. This could mean that future generations will be used to leave their cars at home and use alternative means of transportation. Today we still tend to grab the keys of our four-wheeled man’s best friend, but future youngsters are more likely not to even own a car, because of the great connections via districts and quick ways to travel from point A to B. These habits will hopefully lead to a higher environmental education level and lowered CO2 emissions.
On top of providing more information about the solutions available to mitigate climate change, environmental education gives power back to the younger generations. The essence of educating youngsters to be more aware, nature-centered and prosper biodiversity is another goal of our insect trail. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long-term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more youngsters are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. On our greenway we commit to encourage a love of the outdoors and to instill appreciation for nature, while leaving meadow areas untouched by human activities.
Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue careers in environmental and natural resources. And not only that - environmental education can help children perform better in social studies, science, language, arts and mathematics.
So, with that green trail being one of the assets helping us to win the title of the European Green Capital 2023, there is much more to it. We will cherish the well-being of our citizens, encourage love of the outdoors, shape new ways for environmental education and finally boost the habit of using soft mobility. Hopefully these steps will all add up to Tallinn being the real green and smart city not just of the year of 2023 but of all the years to come. Fingers crossed!