A thousand participants from 106 countries descended on Stavanger, Norway last week to attend Tunza 2008, the UN's International Children's Conference on the Environment.
The participants, children between the ages of 10 and 14 had carried out various environmental projects in their home countries prior to the conference. The conference offered a broad programme which included a total of 70 workshops and 50 excursions. The aim of Tunza 2008 was to expose the children to ways in which they can help create a better environment and climate on the planet.
StatoilHydro, a leading partner of the SERPENT project was supporting the conference, which opened on 17 June. At Tunza, the children, who will likely become the leaders of tomorrow, helped to develop solutions to face the world's environmental challenges and had the opportunity to meet today's leaders in many fields of research and policymaking.
They were able to express their views and thoughts about the environment and had a unique opportunity to help bring about change. The event also helps to raise awareness among authorities, business and industry and the society at large that it is important to have a dialogue with children and youth with regard to environmental work.
SERPENT outreach coordinator Rob Curry in partnership with StatoilHydro, the Norwegian gas and oil company and Oceaneering, a world leading ROV company, designed and delivered a highly successful workshop entitled "Deep sea species - what is actually down there?"
It was an excellent opportunity to show children how the SERPENT project uses industrial Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to undertake deep sea research and to search for creatures.
The children attending the workshop who came from 10 different countries, enjoyed the 7 different activities on offer, which gave them an opportunity to have fun and understand the work of SERPENT and its relationship to its industrial partners. The workshop was held at Oceaneering's high-tech ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) MIMIC simulation suite at the Stavanger facility in Norway.
The star attraction was the simulators themselves. These are cutting-edge training simulators that allow Oceaneering to offer an almost limitless range of deep sea hardware scenarios at a fraction of the cost of using real ROVs. Like a giant video game, the children had great fun in maneuvering their ROV in a realistic environment to undertake a deceptively simple task on an undersea structure.
The adults had an equally fun time while "testing" the system prior to the workshop!
SERPENT would like to thank Nina Aas, Ingvild Fladvad Størdal, Lars Petter Myhre and Anne-Lise Heggø of StatoilHydro and Espen Rødsand and Eirik Gravdal of Oceaneering without whom the workshop could not have happened.
The children all agreed that they had had a great time and learned a lot about the sub sea environment through their experience in the SERPENT workshop. They each left with a "SERPENT: exploring the Deep" video for their school and a copy of the colourful SERPENT Annual Report.