Right at the start of this year’s Ninth Season of Football for Friendship (F4F), the International Children’s Social Programme organised by Gazprom, the Young Participants from over 200 countries discussed their contribution to environmental protection.

In an online challenge, whose theme was “Small steps to save the planet”, the F4F Young Participants presented their contribution to environmental protection in short video clips and invited other children in the project to do the same.

For Leonardo Lewis from Spain, Madina Maysar from Kazakhstan, Mintoser Bahr from Libya and Nanihi Broseus from Tahiti, doing without plastic bags and plastic bottles is at the top of their list of priorities. Asif Muhammad Rashid from Sri Lanka and Dominic Kremberger from Sweden try to use water sparingly, whilst Ananya Kamboj from India and Mohamad Adam Faris from Brunei travel by bicycle more often than by car. Their appeal to use public transport more was supported by many other participants.

Amnesh Rayamajni, a Young Journalist from Nepal, plants trees; Mahfouz Jude from Lebanon, Vellaha Daors from Albania, Maksim Stepanov from Estonia and Teo Bence Ronaszeki from Hungary all support recycling and waste separation. Yahia Fawwaz from the United Arab Emirates called upon the other participants to protect the natural environment and not to destroy it. Other suggestions from the Young Participants covered the need to use energy sparingly and to use renewable energies more, to stop using chemical fertilizers, to start composting food and garden waste and to make greater use of renewable raw materials.

In 2018, the practice of giving the International Teams of Friendship the names of animal species that are threatened with extinction was introduced. This particular initiative helps to increase awareness of the need to protect such species.

This year, the International Teams of Friendship are taking part in the Football for Friendship eWorld Championship with names like: “Chinese alligator”, “Red-legged crow”, “Dusky shark”, “White rhino”, “Pallas’s cat”, “Star-nosed mole”, “Woodland owl” and “Western long-beaked echidna”. The championship will take place in a digital format on the multiplayer simulator Football for Friendship World (F4F World) from 24th to 29th May. 32 Teams of Friendship with players from over 200 countries will be taking part.

Football for Friendship pays a lot of attention to environmental protection. The ecological initiative is aimed to promote a caring attitude towards the environment. Since 2016, the Young Ambassadors do their part to protect nature. In 2016, the children created the Friendship Garden in Trenno park, Milan. Each of the 32 international teams planted a tree, and the 33rd tree was planted by children with disabilities from the Don Gnocchi Foundation.

During the final stages of the F4F competition in 2018, for example, vehicles running on natural gas were used to transport the Young Participants across Moscow, which was the host city that year. In the meantime, national parks and nature reserves all over the world, including Russia, the USA, Nepal and the United Kingdom, have joined this environmental initiative of F4F. In 2019, Young Participants conducted the F4F Speaks for Nature webinar dedicated to the protection of the environment. The webinar was held as part of the World Environment Day established by the UN and became the start of the programme’s yearly ecological initiative.

Teo Bence Ronaszeki, Hungary: “I am a member of the team Marine Iguana. In our family we take care of the environment. We reduce and recycle. We reduce plastics which we would normally waste and use metal bottles instead. Instead of throwing out our scrap paper, we reuse it for notes. We do not throw away waste vegetables or fruits but compost them in the garden.”
Nanihi Broseus, Tahiti: “I use a reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles. It is practical and cool, and it helps me to avoid using plastics. It is a small step, but it’s important to save the earth.”

Asif Muhammad Rashid, Sri Lanka: “I take care of our planet. I know that even small steps are important to save the earth. It is particularly important to conserve water. Water is essential for us humans. Since 97% of the water belongs to the oceans, we need to find the best way to use it. My mum taught me gardening when I was still small. Trees are very important. The greener it is, the healthier our environment is.”

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