How Hari Verlaet enthuses young people in Brussels about sustainability
"It's great to see the impact our classes have on the students. Their curiosity, ideas and questions, ... There really is great energy in the air." Hari Verlaet is coordinator at Plateforme DD, a free sustainable development program of the ULB for students aged 10 to 16. Within the themes of energy, water, waste and food, they start experimenting and testing. They discover how the ecosystem works in their hometown Brussels. And they come up with ways to reduce their own ecological impact. With the program Hari not only aims on the students, but also on their environment. His mission: to create a greater awareness of sustainability in the entire city of Brussels now and in the future.
Innovator in the spotlight: Hari Verlaet
Hari Verlaet has a master's degree in biology and a master's degree in environmental management. He spent twelve months in Madagascar to fight deforestation and for a year he worked in Mauritius doing research and protecting the bird population. Since 2019, he has been working as a coordinator and animator at Plateforme DD. With this initiative, he wants to make young people in Brussels aware of the city's ecosystem. Where do things come from? How do we deal with water, energy and materials? And what can you do yourself to treat our planet and our city with care?
Brussels youngsters experiment with ecology
Boring theoretical lessons? Not at Plateforme DD! The students experience firsthand how big their ecological footprint is. Each time, they are astonished when they see the mountains of waste in a Brussels waste processing company. And with a simple test setup with 2 pendulums, an alternator and a lamp, they can see with their own eyes how much energy is lost around us. Hari Verlaet: "By means of experiments and excursions, we introduce the young people of Brussels to the social challenges of water, waste, energy and food in a playful and practical way.”
Brussels as a practical environment
Hari Verlaet: "We also encourage young people to come up with their own ideas so thatsustainable development becomes tangible". For example, the students of a secondary school calculated how much it would cost their school to replace all the old lights with LED lighting. And when the school would earn back that investment.
Are you a teacher in Brussels and would like to introduce your students to ecology and sustainability in Brussels in a playful way? Surf to https://sciences.brussels/plateformedd and register your class.
Why does Innoviris support this project?
Monserrate Pascual Roca of Innoviris explains why Innoviris has been supporting Plateforme DD for 4 years.
- Wide reach - Every year, Plateforme DD inspires some 36 classes or 600 students spread across Brussels. They not only take that ecological awareness home with them, but also take it with them to the future.
- Surprising and contagious approach - Plateforme DD takes students on a journey around sustainable development in such a tangible and surprising way that these young people are stimulated to adapt their own habits.
- Constant evaluation and improvement - In order to further increase awareness of sustainability, the Plateforme DD team continuously adapts its program with the feedback they receive. And they work together with the education department and a psychologist from ULB to measure and increase the impact of their lessons for a new climate generation.