"Want to know how to recognise young people concerned about the environment? Look at their mobile phones: the older, the better".
This is how the biologist and lecturer, Fernando López Mirones, gave an auditorium full of secondary school students food for thought at the presentation of the Endesa Foundation Eco-innovation Awards at COP25. López Mirones encouraged them to reflect and analyse their daily conduct to see whether "we just pay lip service to climate issues or really do something useful about them".
“My dad was gobsmacked when I told him that I didn't need a new mobile. The one I have is broken on the outside but it still works”. The audience at the Agorita (the small public space or agora in the Blue zone at COP25) broke into applause. The biologist and lecturer, Fernando López Mirones, wanted to make these young environmentalists think beyond stock phrases, inspirational messages, and buzz words, etc. And he nailed it! "Are you always taken to school in your parent’s car or do you ever think of walking to school or going by bus?” he asked them. A hand shot up, and one schoolgirl replied, "I go by bus because I prefer to go with friends, I didn't think it was something ecological". The student’s reply was met with laughter. Young people seldom reflect on what they are told or about the messages they receive, but when they do, they are quick to respond.
These young students participated in previous editions of the Eco-innovation awards, putting forward ideas and coming up with devices to look after their surroundings. An environmentally aware public, they discovered this way of going about their daily routines, making small, yet significant gestures.
One comment received general applause. “Want to know how to recognise young people concerned about the environment? Look at their mobile phones: the older, the better”.
A teacher at the Los Castillos Secondary School in Madrid, Ignacio Cubero, explained to his young audience how, just as they will soon be leaving their adolescence behind, they need to help “humanity to grow up also, and begin to use its resources maturely".
The Endesa Foundation project director, Begoña Muñoz, reminded participants that the winners of the new edition of the awards will be made known in June and that these issues, of particularl interest to those who want to make a better world, will be analysed.