Green Artic Interreg Awareness Day: understanding the interaction between young people, cohesion policy, and sustainability

27th April 2024 – Luleå tekniska universitet, Sweden

On this 24th April 2024, during Earth Week, Luleå tekniska universitet hosted GAIA day, an event which aimed at making cohesion-policy-funded initiatives more accessible to the general public of the Arctic region.

Organised by Project Partner Pauline Gauvrit, along with her colleagues at Ar2CorD (an Interreg programme focused on sustainable building materials in Arctic conditions), GAIA day showcased the sustainable development efforts of the Nordic countries.

The morning was kickstarted by an interactive activity with the local schoolchildren. Aged between four and six years old, students were invited to learn about recycling by painting concrete sculptures made out of waste from Luleå’s labs. They were introduced to cohesion policy and were expected to collaborate in order to build up their statues from the ground!

Despite prevailing notions of the Arctic as “too cold, too dark, and with too many mosquitoes”, as pointed out by one attendee, the afternoon was dedicated to highlighting the region’s burgeoning potential.

Indeed, representants for GENGREEN, for example – an initiative supporting Nordic women launching sustainable business – underscored the importance of overcoming fear and leveraging interregional networks of female entrepreneurs. From bee-keeping to slow-fashion, they were making the most of a shared history across the great North, and were challenging gender stereotypes as a collective.
Scientists for a programme developing offshore wind farm additionally spoke up about the benefits of working together, in a harsh climate with limited resources: knowledge-sharing amongst expert is an essential component of innovative research!

Credit: Photos and text by Pauline Gauvrit

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