Partnering with others
Improving the planet
Photo: Johanna Muñoz, Cooperación Internacional
Joining forces in environmental education
Students become environmental stewards
Students attending school near the Madrid airport are not only learning about climate change through an innovative program called Air Planet, but also how small changes in behavior go a long way toward preserving and protecting the future.
More than 10 schools and about 500 children and their families have benefitted from the Air Planet program. This program builds children’s awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability by increasing their understanding of how daily actions and behaviors can have an impact on environmental protection.
Johanna Muñoz, Cooperación Internacional
"It is remarkable the impact that the project has made on students. Their daily routine and habits have changed, and they show respect and interest about environmental issues such as deforestation or drought," said Rodolfo Sánchez, a teacher at the Alba School near the Madrid Barajas Airport.
The program includes teacher guides, learning activities, airport visits and an interactive platform on the Internet to help students learn more about the challenges of climate change.
Some examples of what the students learn:
- The advantages of solar energy. Students experiment in the classroom, building an energy collector to heat water.
- The impact of waste on the environment and the different methods for waste management. Students keep records of the amounts and types of waste produced at the school during a week.
Recently, students at the Alba School were recognized for producing an innovative guide called "Eco-travelers." The guide illustrated the students' ideas about caring for the environment while traveling or on vacation. Bookmarks and other materials containing these ideas are being distributed at school and at home among family members. The winners of the competition participated in a tour of the Air Europa hangars in Palma de Mallorca, where they were briefed on how aerospace companies and airlines work together to minimize the impact of commercial aviation on the environment.
"Thanks to Air Planet and the efforts of our local partners, youth in an area highly sensitive to the environmental footprint of our industry are learning to respect the environment at an early age and giving that culture of respect and responsibility to their families and the community," said Alvaro Baños, general manager, Cooperación Internacional, the nonprofit that coordinated the project. Baños added that 20 new schools will be enrolled in the program in 2011.
"Thanks to Air Planet and the efforts of our local partners, youth in an area highly sensitive to the environmental footprint of our industry are learning to respect the environment at an early age and giving that culture of respect and responsibility to their families and the community"
—Alvaro Baños, general manager, Cooperación Internacional
As in other European countries, Boeing Spain allocates a large part of its corporate citizenship resources to education projects that help "create a culture of solidarity and respect for the environment in children and adolescents. These attitudes and values are transferred from the school to the families, multiplying the social impact of the projects," said Pedro Argüelles, president, Boeing Spain.
The Air Planet program is supported by Boeing Spain in partnership with airline customer Air Europa, the Spanish airport authority AENA and Madrid’s regional government Department of Education and Environment. It is offered to schools in the Madrid Barajas Airport area.
Air Planet is just one of the environmental education programs Boeing supports in Spain.
In a separate project with the nonprofit group AFANIAS, Boeing sponsored the development of the Botanical Garden and Environmental School in Cobeña (a village located close to Madrid Barajas Airport). This initiative is suited for children and young adults with learning disabilities in the Madrid region, who are invited to attend educational workshops.
"During visits and while working with schools in the region, we identified a need in the area of environmental education within the Spanish educational system," Argüelles explained. "We contacted our local partners and asked Cooperación Internacional to design a program to address that need and contribute to improve social awareness and change habits and attitudes toward the environment."