"Ecopolis" — an interactive textbook on sustainable development of territories

On December 9 in Moscow Centre of Ecology, Regional studies and Tourism for Children and Youth in the presence of teachers, representatives of Moscow authorities and businesses, Russian Carbon Fund presented Ecopolis – an interactive textbook on sustainable development of territories. For the first time augmented reality technology was implemented in a Russian school textbook, which gave pupils a chance to see animals from the Red List of Threatened Species of Moscow  and to watch green technologies in action. The educational course based on the textbook was implemented in 100 schools of the South-Eastern Administrative District of Moscow during the Year of Ecology in Russia.

According to the Russian Ministry of Nature, every year Russia loses 2.5 to 4% of GDP due to environmental problems. Cities suffer first as they are threatened by air pollution, abnormal heat, flooding, accumulated waste etc. Environmental challenges require the training of new leaders, who possess complex knowledge in the field of environment protection.

“We created Ecopolis with a purpose of informing schoolchildren about the challenges of and opportunities for sustainable development, where economic, ecological and social factors would be equally important and interconnected”, the Fund’s CEO Alexei Shadrin explained during the presentation.

Ecopolis was created by the joint effort of the leading experts of the Government of Moscow, UN, Russian Carbon Fund and Fund “Our Future”, authors of the Red Book of Moscow, representatives of the Council for green building and civic organisations – RosEco, CleanGames and Velomost. The project was supported by Moscow departments of transportation and fuel & energy.

South-East Administrative District of Moscow was chosen as a pilot territory for the project, as it is the most interesting area in terms of opportunities for ecological development. Alongside specially protected natural areas, modern polyclinics, playgrounds and Сenters for Innovative and Creative Activities of the Youth, many industrial enterprises are located there.

PJSC Gazprom Neft provided considerable support for the project Ecopolis. In 2011, this company took ownership of Moscow refinery – the largest enterprise in South-East Administrative District. After this, extensive modernization was commenced at the refinery, and it will continue until 2021. Gradually the refinery is becoming the most advanced in terms of technical and ecological parameters due to implementation of best available technologies of production and nature protection, which the textbook details.

In addition to the textbook, Ecopolis includes a set of educational and play materials, such as question cards, posters “What is ecological footprint?” and “How to reduce climate impact?”, as well as a teacher’s manual.

The project implements creative educational solutions - popular scientific texts, infographics, non-standard creative tasks and augmented reality. The latter allows several images on the pages of the textbook to become “alive” using smartphones and tablets. This is how schoolchildren can learn about animals from the Red Book of Moscow, production processes and green technologies.

During the presentation, sets of educational and play materials Ecopolis were presented to the delegates of 100 schools in South-East Administrative District of Moscow. Starting from Monday, December 12, a course of supplementary education will be launched in those schools basing on the textbook. As a result of the course, a series of school projects based on Ecopolis will be presented at the VI Moscow city competition of socially important school ecoprojects in February of 2017, which is a Year of Ecology in Russia. Children and adolescents will be able to implement their knowledge in practice, and teachers will earn rating points and compete for the title of the best teacher in Moscow.