A gang of very enthusiastic inmates attacked tasks associated with the challenges of the environment, here in the prison education department last week. Three days were allocated to the project which was kicked-off by Al Gore and Steinar Lem.
Grønland Adult Education Dept. (GVO) are responsible for education services at Oslo Prison. Continuity of education is frequently a problem, especially for inmates in remand custody who are often mainly focused on communications with the police and solicitors. In addition, they can suddenly find themselves released. That is why GVO focuses more and more on time-limited projects.
The first day was kicked-off by showing Al Gore's film "An Uncomfortable Truth". This gave us a passionate and inspiring insight into one man's efforts to unravel the myths and misunderstandings that surround the topic of global warming, and inspired actions in order to prevent it. First reactions after seeing the film was that all other inmates at the prison should be given the opportunity to see it.
Afterwards, Steinar Lem, from the environment protection group: "The Future in Our Hands" gave a speech focusing on what he considered to be the five most serious threats to the environment: poverty, global warming, protection of species, atomic weapons and toxic waste. His main point was a hypothesis that if we were to be re-born, without knowing where in the world we were born, everyone would have acted differently. It is all about a fairer distribution of the world's goods. Steinar was presented with a lot of questions during his speech, the content of which, together with his answers, managed to keep the students actively and enthusiastically engaged.
Day 2 concentrated on group work in which participants worked together to identify initiatives from a global perspective and right down to local levels. On the last day, the groups each presented the results they had arrived at.
When it comes to environmental initiatives, Oslo Prison cannot exactly claim to be Best in Class. But several good suggestions were presented, each of which will be put to the test through implementation.
One of the suggestions was to purchase litterbins for the cells that are designed for sorting recyclable rubbish. The existing arrangement is to use plastic rubbish bin liners. One student had estimated that by terminating the use of bin liners it would be possible to finance the new environmental-friendly litterbins in just 950 days!
Another creative suggestion was to base all prisoner transport on environmental-friendly vehicles.
The theme days were concluded with a lunch consisting of ecological vegetables and fruit. If the enthusiasm around the table was anything to judge by, our prison officers cannot exactly expect peace until at least the sorting of recyclable goods is implemented!