In Bulgaria, the topic of environmental awareness is expanding, slowly but surely. There is still not enough done to educate citizens, even though Bulgaria has implemented environmental legislation in line with European Union (EU) standards, which includes policies related to waste management, air quality, water quality, and protected areas. The country has also made strides in renewable energy, with wind and solar energy becoming more prominent in recent years.
However, Bulgaria still faces several environmental challenges, including pollution from industry and transport, unsustainable agriculture practices, and illegal logging. Awareness and action on environmental issues are still growing in Bulgaria, with many individuals and groups advocating for greater protection and conservation efforts.
From an academic perspective, environmental education is an important part of the curriculum in Bulgarian schools. The Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria has implemented policies and programs to promote environmental awareness and education in schools at all levels, from primary to secondary education.
In primary schools, environmental education is integrated into various subjects such as biology, geography, and science. Children learn about the natural environment, biodiversity, climate change, and the importance of conservation and sustainability.
In secondary schools, students have the option to take courses such as “Ecology and Environmental Protection,” which covers topics such as the principles of ecology, ecosystems, natural resources, pollution, and environmental management. The course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues and promote a sense of environmental responsibility.
Apart from formal education, there are also extracurricular activities and programs aimed at promoting environmental awareness and action among students. For example, the Green Schools program, initiated by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, encourages schools to implement environmental practices such as waste reduction, energy conservation, and the creation of green spaces.
Overall, Bulgarian schools are providing education on environmental awareness and sustainability through a variety of channels, from formal education to extracurricular activities, to help students understand the importance of environmental protection and conservation.
Despite all these efforts, it is clear that the Bulgarian population is still not aware of its environmental impact, at least not to its full extent. The You(th) Play project aims to boost climate education in a non-formal way. Through game-based learning, we want to encourage youth to get more interested and more involved in climate activism, and ultimately change their habits to reduce individual carbon footprints.
This project is an international partnership project, meaning that the game Virtual Planet is going to be available in multiple languages and countries. It will also be available both online and offline.
The process of production is going smoothly – the consortium is meeting next week to discuss our progress, where we are, and what next steps to take in order to put this all together and be able to support environmental education in Spain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, and Poland.
Sources that provide information on environmental education in Bulgaria:
- European Environment and Health Youth Coalition. (2020). The State of Environmental Education in Bulgaria.
- Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria. (2017). National Strategy for Environmental Education and Training in Bulgaria 2017-2022.
- Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. (n.d.). Green Schools.
- European Environmental Education and Training Network. (2012). Environmental Education in Bulgaria: Current Situation and Needs Assessment.