GenB represented at the Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival 2024 Vienna edition

11. Apr 2024

European Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival 2024

During the successful European Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival 2024 (BCF2024), Vienna took centre stage with an innovative satellite event, marking a significant step towards integrating youth voices into the bioeconomy discourse. Organised by the Centre for Bioeconomy (ZfB) at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), the event highlighted the crucial role of young changemakers in steering Austria, and by extension Europe, towards a sustainable future.

The festival promoted the idea that the younger generation holds the key to overcoming the challenges society faces in adopting sustainable practices. Despite their potential, the involvement of young people in policy-making has been minimal and often reduced to symbolic participation. To address this imbalance, BCF2024 - Vienna emerged as a critical platform to empower young minds to lead the bioeconomy revolution.

A highlight of the festival was the GenB workshop, facilitated by ZSI and designed to foster dialogue and collaboration between youth groups through a blend of scientific knowledge and innovative learning methods. Central to this workshop was the implementation of an 'inquiry-based learning' session, using the fishbowl methodology to facilitate an engaging and interactive dialogue between participants and experts.

The workshop began with participants drawing questions from their experience of playing a bioeconomy card game from the Engage4bio project and a morning filled with presentations about (circular) bioeconomy. These questions formed the basis of a dynamic discussion in which participants, surrounded by a panel of bioeconomy experts, explored critical issues ranging from the impact of the bioeconomy on consumer behaviour and trade, to the challenges and opportunities it presents within the EU's Green Deal.

In this unique setting, three experts took their seats at the centre of the 'fishbowl', with two chairs left empty for participants eager to jump in with their questions. This format allowed for a fluid exchange of ideas, with questions sparking wide-ranging debates on the efficiency of the supply chain, the interplay between free trade and the bioeconomy, and the evaluation of bioeconomy policies.

Participants had the opportunity to engage directly with the experts, seeking answers and sharing insights. When they were satisfied, they left the circle to allow others to contribute, ensuring that a wide range of perspectives and solutions were explored.

This participatory approach not only provided a deeper understanding of the potential of the bioeconomy to reshape Europe's environmental and economic landscape, but also inspired participants to think critically about the role they can play in this transformative journey.

Authors: Juliet Tschank & Katharina Handler

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Tags: bioeconomy

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