Unsung Heroes: Moritz Schachner
Co-founder of Youth Taking Action for the Earth, Walking2WILD10 participant, Austria
At the 10th World Wilderness Congress we discovered hundreds of young activists who were working quietly behind the scenes to make the WILD vision a reality. We felt that these people’s activities should be recognised. In keeping with the knowledge that young people are the future, we asked our team of young trainee journalists in the press office to go out and interview them.
Moritz got involved in an activist youth movement in 2010, after he and four others were invited by Nathan Spees to ‘help change the world’. In the course of the following year they founded and developed a group called Youth Taking Action for the Earth, as a ‘colorful network of young people who inspire, motivate, educate and take action on environmental problems.’ “Creating a fair and sustainable world, that’s our mission”, says Moritz, “We are strongly focused and self-empowered, we take decisions and actions by ourselves, but we are supported by Nathan, who is our mentor and coach”.
Moritz described how their activities consist of two parts: training and implementation of the projects. “With the training sessions we want to give young people the opportunity to learn how to develop successful projects. We organize training sessions on environmental and social topics, as well as project management and leadership-based workshops”, he explained.
“The second part is implementation of the projects in order to practice what we have learned. So far, our biggest project was the Austrian-wide campaign on plastic bags and our message reached 45,000 people. We took different actions like street theater, on-line flash mobs, we wrote petitions, we were on the radio and the most colorful and engaging part was the canvas bag competition: ‘Make a difference! Make a bag!’, in which we invited and encouraged people to create their own recycled bags from old clothes, and it was so amazing to see how people involved themselves – we got over 600 unique bags!”
Walking 2 WILD10
“We would be the cool breeze of the earth, carrying her wisdom.” (from walking2wild10.wordpress.com)
“This project was based on our passion/inspiration for walking. Last summer for six weeks four of us walked 550 km through Austria to raise consciousness about the wildest areas in Austria. So when we heard about WILD10 and about the invitation to walk to the Congress, we thought – great! – that’s exactly what we want to do. We developed the idea, and found amazing partners from six countries in Europe – Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Romania, Spain, and Turkey (24 young people and 6 coaches)”.
We created a deeper connection with nature, with each other. We had training sessions which improved our skills and potential for becoming activists for the Earth. And what is also very important, we learned to share – experiences, ideas, time, our passion. It was really incredible experience”.
On the 7 October, the Walking2WILD10 group organised a howling wolf mob in Salamanca’s Playa Mayor.
This interview was conducted by Malwina Gan – Originally from Poland, Malwina is finishing her Masters Degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Salamanca, Spain. She would like to work with the development of indigenous audiovisual communication.