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IP/08/848

Brussels, 4 June 2008

Climate change: Awareness campaign aims to create virtual community of young 'changers'

The public awareness raising campaign on climate change launched by the European Commission in May 2006 moves into a final stage tomorrow that will focus on five Member States – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria. Launched on World Environment Day, this third phase of the “You control climate change” campaign aims to initiate pro-active dialogue on climate change in these five countries, where national campaigns have not yet been implemented. This stage of the campaign is centred around television advertising and a competition for young people that seeks to create a virtual community of ‘Changers’ committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by adapting their daily habits.

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “Young people have a strong vested interest in helping to bring climate change under control because they will otherwise have to live with its increasingly severe consequences over the coming decades. This successful campaign is raising young people's awareness of the climate change threat and showing them how they can contribute to fighting it by making 'green' choices in their daily lives."

The final phase of the campaign will be launched through a series of events in national capitals on 5 and 8 June. These include a 4 km bicycle race around Bucharest and 'Changer' stands at the Ekofestival 2008 in Prague and at the Magic Sports Island sports festival on Margaret Island in Hungary. In all countries it will be possible to exchange plastic bags for a re-usable cotton bag.

The campaign in the five countries will run until mid 2009 and will comprise the following main elements:

  • A TV advertisement showing how simple everyday actions can help to combat climate change will be broadcast on key youth channels in the five countries starting this month. It will also be available on the campaign website. Advertisements encouraging young people to change their habits are also scheduled to appear in prominent outdoor locations and on public transport.
  • The “Be a Changer” competition aims to get young people in the five countries to submit a pledge to adopt new habits and actions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These actions will be photographed by them and posted on-line where they can be voted on. Those making pledges and those who register as their supporters will together form a virtual community of ‘Changers’ sharing their creative ideas on combating climate change and competing to achieve the best results. At the end of the competition, the four most popular Changers in each country, along with one supporter from each country, will win a one-year membership of Earthwatch, the world’s largest environmental non-profit organisation. Those over 18 will also take part in a youth environment camp that will teach them the practical tools to make a difference to the environment; those under 18 will win camera equipment worth around €1,000. The competition will run until 30 November 2008.
  • An internet media campaign targeted at youth-focused portals and chat platforms will drive Internet users to the “Be a Changer” competition website.

Cost

The final stage of the campaign will cost €1.5 million taking the total cost of the campaign since it was launched two years ago to almost €6.2 million.

Campaign website:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/campaign/


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