This summer from the 12th to 21st of July, 32 young people from Latvia, Czech Republic, Germany and Portugal met in Riga to participate in a youth exchange program “Orange Lifestyle”, organized by the student organization BEST-Riga of RTU.

Goal of the exchange program was to emphasize: responsible lifestyle in society, stressing healthy and active lifestyle; the influence on nature, which the individual makes; and recyclable, reusable materials, aimed at sustainable growth.

During the event a workshop was made, in which the participants exchanged ideas about how to effectively reuse materials. As a result, grocery bags of old shirts, cardboard chairs, various interior elements, and even a PET bottle broom were made. The exhibition of goods made and the descriptions about them (including products used for creation and the process of making them) took place till the end of September at the Faculty of Architecture and urban planning on the second floor, at the premises of institute of design and technologies. 

The exhibition was created by technology students of different European Universities, hoping to inspire young people to think and create practical things, instead of mindlessly disposing them. 

One of the main goals of the program was to draw attention of society to conscious lifestyle and how easy it actually is to recycle waste; eat healthy and do sports; rest outdoors; and even plant trees. The participants collected their impressions in a video, which can be viewed here. In the short film we represent that every person’s action affects the environment and the well-being of others, either in good or bad way. We encourage you to think about it just a few minutes per day by: not wasting water; throwing out garbage in special containers, not on the street; eating food which is good for you; and doing sports on a regular basis, as well as relaxing with your friends.

At the time of the project participants had the chance to dwell on the idea of impact made by an individual on nature in an unusual way – by testing their strength and skills in the adventure park “Meža kaķis”. By overcoming obstacle courses placed on top of trees, the attendants quickly realized, that forest resources could be used without harming any trees and the environment itself. They continued the “cooperation” with the forest by planting 28 new fir trees; and later on agreed in their discussion, that they will try to find new, untraditional ways to spend their free time and have fun, while preserving woods and their surroundings.

Throughout the event the attention was also brought to the effects a healthy diet and active lifestyle has on the environment and the individual themselves. Cooperating with IBI Fitness Latvia the youth had a chance to test their endurance in the “PAKĀpiens” city race, where in a sporty, unusual way, they were able to see Riga, discuss the pyramid of healthy eating, and make a wholesome meal themselves. During the event participants also conducted research of carbon dioxide produced by each person, which was determined with the calculation of the “ecological footprint”. A video popularizing deliberate lifestyle was also made.

The topic of the project is relevant, because ecological problems influence all of us. As a result of everyday actions more resources are wasted than should be, air and water is polluted, garbage is managed foolishly, and an unhealthy diet as well as passive lifestyle has a negative effect on our body. The participants of the project proved that even a single individual or a small group can do a lot to increase the overall prosperity, make a positive impact on nature. It can be achieved with simple everyday actions, thus proving that living consciously can be interesting and uncomplicated.

Each of the participating countries is organizing youth exchange in their country, and taking part in the other projects hosted by other countries.

In Latvia the enterprise was made possible with European Union program “Erasmus+” support.

The project was organized by RTU organization BEST-Riga.

We would like to thank Sigulda’s adventure park “Meža kaķis” for cooperation, which allowed us to spend a day outdoors in an effective, interesting, active, and eco-friendly way.