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Energy Globe Award

With more than 178 participating countries and over 2000 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.

National ENERGY GLOBE Award Slovenia 2017

Submitted by: Zavod Trajnostni park Istra
Volunteers' center Istra

The volunteer center Istra accommodates and coordinates young volunteers from all over the world. They help locals in implementing their sustainable ideas like eco-tourism or cleaning of illegal waste dumps.

Initial situation
Many regions located far from urban centers suffer from lack of economic opportunities which results in social issues such as decline of population, weak educational structure and aging of population. In the border areas of Istria, many young and educated people left the area with the villages remaining empty and the houses and cultural heritage decaying. Remaining locals are usually elderly and uneducated, so even though they know the area and have amazing ideas how to revive it, they have no way to implement them. The situation affects the environment, too. As secondary forest covers the areas that were once used as meadows, vineyards or olive groves, the biodiversity of the area is declining as many plant and animal species need open areas to survive.

Slovenia is becoming a well-known destination for young travelers who are willing to do volunteering. Most of the volunteering opportunities however are located in urban centers and the rest are mostly commercial projects. In order to accommodate the volunteers and lure them to an underprivileged rural area, the volunteer center Istra was founded in a small village. Locals are asked what they need and their best sustainable projects are supported by volunteer work. In the past two years, the center has hosted more than 400 young volunteers from 42 countries and created an inspiring space of cooperation, creativity and harmony among volunteers and the locals. An old building was renovated in a sustainable way which now serves as accommodation for 17 volunteers as well as an example of eco-construction and resource efficiency. More than 70 sustainable projects have been carried out, e.g. the establishment of green tourism or the cleaning of illegal waste dumps.

The volunteer center does not insist on its own agenda but listens to the locals and only supports their ideas and projects. The program is self-sufficient as volunteers contribute to the costs of food and accommodation which makes the project independent from EU or state funding. This way, the volunteers can keep their autonomy and flexibility in choosing the local project they would like to support which increases their motivation. While living there, they also get a holistic experience of a sustainable lifestyle which has an effect on their awareness and future life.

Capital: Ljubljana
Official language: Slovene
Total area: 20.273 kmĀ²
Population: 2.050.189
GDP/Capita/Year: $25.939
Source: Wikipedia 2012