The Volvo Adventure is an environmental award programme organized annually by Volvo and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It seeks to promote environmental innovation and aspirations among young people aged 13 to 16 from around the world. The programme was launched in 2001.
The 2009 event took place in Göteborg, Sweden from 5 to 9 June 2009.
The first day of the Volvo Adventure Programme was dedicated to workshops as well as rehearsals engaging 80 participants and facilitators from 10 countries.
The workshop presentations were on UNEP activities with special emphasis on the Tunza programme for young people and the “Seal the Deal” campaign, a workshop by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) on Reducing our Carbon Footprint and a third workshop on Environmental actions in our country and at home by the Kullavikskolan High School of Gothenburg.
The workshops had exciting anecdotes such as the modelling of the environmental status of the various countries, personal carbon audits and the breathing trees game. The young people and their teachers were briefed on the youth component of the “Seal the Deal” campaign after which they participated in a stamping activity and appending signatures on the large banner for the campaign.
During the WOSM workshop, participants looked at their own carbon footprint and ways they can take positive action for the environment. They then drew pictures of their actions for climate change which will be shared with the rest of the world through the report of the meeting.
As the workshops went on, a team of Volvo staff worked with the project representatives on the presentations of their projects. Of key importance is that each project should best articulated the identified environmental issues, following the set presentation criteria.
On the second day of the Volvo Adventure the participants visited the Universeum Science Park where they explored a variety of biodiversity from Sweden, the Rain Forest and other parts of the world. The huge aquariums, with their rare to find species, were a spectacular sight for those participants who had never been close to such an amazing encounter. The underwater world was beautifully depicted in the aquariums and one could only wonder of the food chain in this jigsaw of many colourful water creatures. The participants had a lot of questions and concerns particularly on the endangered species.
At the Maxima theatre the participants viewed the Ozzy Ozone cartoon and a 3D video on climate change and its effects on life in the Arctic. The popular and dominant polar bear of the Arctic is especially vulnerable to climate change and could soon be extinct. The film also presented the sad realities of deforestation in the Rain forest and the impact on the ecosystem.
The participants were then introduced to the five member jury for this year’s Volvo competition who are drawn from WWF, Volvo, the World Organization of the Scout Movement and UNEP. The panelist comprising the jury responded to a number of questions from the participants, on the environment.
In the afternoon, the jury held a meeting to review the ten environmental projects that had been short-listed by Volvo as the top submissions for this year’s competition. Meanwhile, the participants visited the famous Liseberg amusement park to enable them interact with the Swedish people and their culture, and to sample some of the world’s revered roller coasters and speed rides.
The third day of the Volvo Adventure Final was set for project presentations by the shortlisted 10 groups. Each group was invited on stage to make a 5 minutes presentation on their project highlighting the environmental issue or problem/s they have identified and how they are addressing it. All groups had visual presentations and a good number spiced their presentations with song, drama and dance. It was indeed, a very impressive presentation by all the groups. At this point the judges were able to verify any information about the project that they needed to.
The children’s presentations were followed by a presentation from Mr. Lex Kerssemaker, President, Volvo Car Overseas Corporation on the history/evolution of Volvo Cars and its environmental and safety programme. He indicated that Volvo continued to manufacture safe and comfortable cars while taking cognizance of environmental considerations and the market needs. He indicated that Volvo was designing an electric car that would use a plug-in rechargeable battery. He commended the participants of the Volvo Adventure for their commitment to the environment and for their great presentations..
In the afternoon, the children visited Volvo Cars to see first hand the production of the cars and learn about their safety measures and the environmental programme that has been put in place in the production of the cars.
The jury, on the other hand, met to review the projects, ranked them and prepared citations for each of the projects. The announcement of the winners will take place the following day.