Did you know that the United Nations (UN) has a universal agenda that aims to address the global challenges the world is currently facing. These include poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice. The agenda has been harmonized into what is called as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs came into effect in January 2016 and they are supposed to accelerate the progress already made under the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs are 17 in total and each goal has some targets which should be achieved by 2030.
You are probably wondering where this is heading, just sit down and grab some coffee. This is going to be interesting. We had an opportunity to attend the the SDG Nordic Academy in Copenhagen as representatives of the Norwegian Red Cross Youth. The academy was organized by the Danish Red Cross Youth together with steering committee members from Finland, Greenland and Iceland. The aim was this academy was to provide a platform where young people could learn more about the SDGs, come up with solutions and create a framework on how to work with the SDGs in our day to day life as Red Cross volunteers. This was important to us because it helped us understand more about the Nordic countries and some of the areas they are trying to put a lot of focus on.
When people hear about SDGs, some usually wonder what role they can play in achieving them. But do you know there are simple actions we as individuals can take to achieve the goals. Some of them you have never considered. Something like using one glass the whole day at the office to take water. The UN call them Lazy Person’s guide to saving the planet earth. While the actions may seem small but their collective effect can be extraordinary.
We had a chance to visit Tåsinge Plads, Copenhagen’s first climate adapted urban space. This is a place where years ago was all asphalt then in the summer of 2012 a series of experiments began on how it could be turned into something useful. It got officially opened in 2014 and the place looks incredibly beautiful. Apart from being a recreation spot it also serves as a climate adaptation tool where it is used to control and retain as much rainwater falling in the area as possible.
One thing you notice instantly in Copenhagen is the biking culture. There are bikes everywhere with people on them, but there are even more on the streets with nobody. Just piled up like they are on a meeting. We had a chance to taste this culture and it was one epic experience.
For a culture night we had a Tour de Chambre. This means we had a room for every country and it was upon the participants to decorate the room and showcase their typical cultures there. So the participants would move from one country room to the other having good times and great laughs. The Finnish people portrayed their typical hot sauna (which is very popular in Finland) and we also had typical Finnish chips and chocolate along with their country quiz where we got to learn that they marked a hundred years of independence last year on 6th of December. Iceland and Greenland had some really interesting videos about their countries and some sweet snacks from the countries as well. The Danish theme was that of celebrating a birthday in Danish style. Alex was selected as the birthday child and they sang traditional birthday song. They also created competition on eating typical Danish chocolate.
Finally, it was the Norwegians, our room. For this few months we have been in Norway we have to learn that Norwegians love hiking and they are proud of their brown cheese. But you cant hike in a room, so what did we do? We decorated the room with some lights, Norwegian flags and different colour balloons. Then on the table guess what we had!??...Clap for yourself if you guessed brown cheese. We also had some chocolates and chips. We tried to make the room look koselig.
We learnt a lot at the academy and our thinking got shaped. Everyday of our mission we ask ourselves if our actions are sustainable and if we are contributing towards making the earth a better place because it is all we have.