29 Aug 2019

Young citizens tackling our biggest challenges

Posted in: Sustainable Development

Why our youngest citizens are tackling our biggest challenges – with inspiring results!

Achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is going to require effort and enthusiasm from all of us – even our youngest citizens. Fortunately, they are already getting started!

Year Six students at Selwyn House School, Christchurch, are investigating the big issues highlighted by the SDGs and developing campaigns to inspire action in their school and local communities. Working in groups, the students focus on an issue that particularly interests them.

Selwyn House School Year Six Students with Sustainability Advisor Sophia White

Our Sustainability Advisor, Sophia White, was recently invited to the school to share her expertise on the social, environmental and economic challenges being tackled by the SDGs. She fielded questions from 30 eager students and was impressed with their creative thinking and fresh perspectives.

“It was inspiring to answer questions from Year Six students as there were some that I had never heard an adult ask!” she says.  “The class were interested in understanding the link between buying goods and child labour around the world, why environmentally damaging chemicals are used to make products humans use, and why cows produce so much greenhouse gas emissions. They even asked why people need palm oil in their products (the answer is they don’t)”.

Selwyn House School is an International Baccalaureate school which implements the Primary Years Programme. Students in Year Six have a culminating experience called Exhibition, where the girls reach out to look at issues than impact on themselves, as well as their local and global community. The aim of the SDG project is to help students realise that, “if they take all their ’little’ voices and combine them – they have the opportunity to become a ‘big’ voice and make a difference within the world they live in”, says Donna Ellery, Selwyn House School Deputy Principal.

“Learning about the SDGs has also taught the girls about the importance of using their Super Heart Powers to be invent solutions, innovate ideas and be creative”, she says.  “We are really excited about the campaigns they are developing to show their heart powers.”

After an hour speaking with the 30 students, Sophia was inspired by their can-do attitudes.

“No matter how big the topic, they repeatedly asked the biggest question of all - what can we do about it?”, she says. “This is the attitude I want everyone to adopt and if we do, we might just reach the Sustainable Development Goals!

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we created a future where children don’t have to worry about issues like these?”

The SDGs are the biggest challenge set to the world and provide a pathway for a just transition into a sustainable, low carbon economy. Enviro-Mark Solutions can help you integrate the SDGs into your business strategy.

If you’re thinking along the same lines as the Selwyn House School Year Six Class and asking yourself how you can meaningfully work with the SDGs, get in touch.