AIESEC launches Let’s Get Real campaign

The campaign calls out youth to get engaged in the global affairs

Today AIESEC launched ‘Let’s Get Real’ campaign to raise awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goals amongst young people. The campaign urges youth to get to know the Global Goals by translating the sophisticated language into simple messages that feature relatable tips for their everyday lifestyle choices. AIESEC aims to make 1 million youth aware about the SDGs and encourage them to act for a cause they care about. Visitors of the Youth4GlobalGoals website can pledge to one of the SDGs, manifesting their will to become SDG advocates and take action.

According to the YouthSpeak Survey, 55% of young people are not aware of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through Youth4GlobalGoals initiative AIESEC aims to mobilize every young person to act for the SDGs. Let’s Get Real is the biggest awareness campaign AIESEC runs since the YouthSpeak Survey campaign in 2016, which gathered over 180.000 responses.

‘Let’s Get Real’ is our shout-out to young people out there. We want to burst their bubble, let them know that life issues go beyond photo filters or a number of likes, if to take into account diverse realities of 1.8 billion young people in the world. At the same time, we want young people to see how privileged they can be and what responsibility this brings’, says Alonso Salazar, Global Vice President Digital Marketing in AIESEC and the creator of the ‘Let’s Get Real’.

‘Let’s Get Real’ campaign release includes a refreshed version of youth4globalgoals.org website that will allow youth to understand the SDGs better through gamification and interactive website features. The campaign will run in 120+ countries and will be powered by a network of 40k young volunteers. ‘Let’s Get Real’ is AIESEC’s contribution to engaging youth with the ‘One For All’ campaign powered by PVBLIC Foundation.

Get engaged by taking a pledge at youth4globalgoals.org to become one of out of the youth advocates.

About Youth4GlobalGoals:

The initiative aims to mobilize young people to contribute with actions to SDGs. Throughout 2016, 32.000 young people went abroad to volunteer in 4,500 SDG-based projects. Moreover, AIESEC hosted YouthSpeak Forums in 200 locations and educated 56.000 people on the SDGs. The initiative reached 12.5 million people. Please find attached the full 2016 report: http://bit.ly/Y4GG2016

Farm for your life

The Sustainable Development Goals have very clear goals. No Poverty, Climate Action, Quality Education etc. But often times, when looking at the current events happening around the world, it’s hard to just isolate one issue at a time as they are often interconnected.


This week in SDG X is a novel writing initiative to keep the network and the blog’s loyal readers up-to-date with a brief collection of news directly related to the Global Goals.


This is the case currently in the Lake Chad Basin in Africa. People are suffering from hunger and are fleeing from fighting and violence, trying to seek refuge. And yet, the crops there are doing worse than ever. The impact of environmental degradation, climate change, and many droughts have affected the situation there critically, according to the FAO Director-General. People are trying to find a safe place where their fight for survival might be just a little bit easier, they are just trying to provide for their families and make sure that their loved ones survive. And yet there are wars all around and then the environment works against them as well. It’s a truly terrifying situation and one that is in need of immediate attention.

The FAO Director-General noted that since 1963, Lake Chad has lost around 90 per cent of its water mass with devastating consequences on food security and the livelihoods of people depending on fishing and irrigation-based agricultural activities. Furthermore, while Lake Chad has been shrinking, the population has been growing, including millions displaced from conflict areas.

“Agriculture, including livestock and fisheries, can no longer be an afterthought. It is what produces food and what sustains the livelihoods of about 90 per cent of the region’s population.” said Mr. Graziano da Silva.

So what can be done to help? How can anybody improve the situation of these people? Well, since the crops are currently not working, the UN has developed a two year plan to help save them. Meanwhile, they are urging us to provide as much help financially as possible. They are also teaching farmers different farming techniques to achieve best results under these circumstances as well as buying the excess food from food markets in that area so as to feed the hungry.

It’s a truly horrifying situation that the people there are facing and it is hard to imagine what it would be like to suffer the same. To help save the animals and the people in these areas immediate action is needed and all efforts must be focused on saving these lives that are already slipping away.

No planet B

Contrary to popular belief, humans are actually not the only living things on this planet. And we are not the only one’s who are struggling. Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. As of 2008, land degradation affected 1.5 billion people globally. 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally. Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction. These facts, as displayed by the website of the UN, should be one thing first and foremost – concerning.

Earth is an incredible place full of living things and we should be thankful for that. No matter where you are, whether it’s deep inside a jungle or in the centre of a big metropolitan city, there are living things hiding everywhere. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, some of these living things are in danger of being wiped out, which in some cases has already happened. We think that because people can create civilizations, we rule the planet and it is our place. But we share this planet with all living beings, and just because they can’t talk doesn’t mean that they are less than us.

We all know that the environment isn’t in the best state right now. However, this is something that is not as evident in first world countries, which is why so much damage is made there. We don’t depend so much on how well crops do because they are not close to us. We don’t really see food shortages because our supermarkets are always stocked. But that doesn’t mean that these problems don’t exist and it also doesn’t mean that these issues will never reach us! As you hopefully know, food is not in fact engineered in a lab (well most of it isn’t). Food grows on crops and is farmed and if all of those places fall victim to desertification or biodegradation, then guess what? Our supermarkets won’t be so full of food anymore. So really, just because the immediate effects of such tragedies aren’t visible to us, it is still a problem and it is still the responsibility of everyone to try and help.

“We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.” – Wangari Maathai

We have to help and make sure that our planet has a future, because without it, we don’t have one either!

Prisoner to yourself

April 7th marks World Health Day, a time to raise awareness about different health related topics. Last year it was all about diabetes, but this year the topic is something that is often highly underestimated. Depression.


This week in SDG X is a novel writing initiative to keep the network and the blog’s loyal readers up-to-date with a brief collection of news directly related to the Global Goals.


According to the latest WHO’s estimates, there are 322 million people worldwide living with depression, a number which has decreased more than 18% between 2005 and 2015! This means that close to 1 in 20 people are affected by depression, with it being more common among women.

There are many myths about this illness, some even speculate that it doesn’t exist. The reason for that, is that people who suffer from depression often struggle to approach the subject, they are scared of being rejected and judged so they keep it to themselves. At the same time, people in their environment fail to pick up on the symptoms or simply chalk it up to regular feelings of sadness or anxiety. This is a huge problem. Depression, if reaching severe stages, can lead to self harm or even suicide. And even in mild cases, it causes many negative effects that ultimately hinder people from leading normal lives.

So if you are suffering from depression, try to find a person that you trust. Find someone that you know in your heart will not judge you or try to diminish this serious problem and maybe together you can find a solution, and a way for you to get help.

As to everyone else reading this, please inform yourself about the symptoms of depression. By being able to spot them, you can potentially save someone’s life! Someone who I’m sure you don’t want to lose.

“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.” – Dorothy Rowe

By raising awareness about depression, a lot of lives can be saved. Thank you to the World Health Organization for helping those in need.

A plane full of hope!

“Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat.” – Amartya Sen.

According to the Global Goals website, 3 million young people die of malnutrition per year. And it is not that there isn’t enough food in the world, or that we are overpopulated. It is simply not accessible to some while others overuse it.


This week in SDG X is a novel writing initiative to keep the network and the blog’s loyal readers up-to-date with a brief collection of news directly related to the Global Goals.


On the 28th of March, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) made a statement, describing that millions of children around the world are on the brink of starvation; it is the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. They are pleading for $255 just to be able to respond to immediate needs in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, according the United Nations website. Around 22 million children are sick and hungry in just those four countries alone.

While famine was declared already in South Sudan, the other countries are not much better off. “Children can’t wait for yet another famine declaration before we take action,” says Manuel Fontaine. We have to take action.

It is heartbreaking to think about nutrition being the reason for so many deaths. In first world countries, we complain about being hungry, we throw away slightly discolored food, we ‘overeat’ on various occasions but we don’t know true suffering. So what can we do about it?

There are many attempts already to help ease the situation in various parts of the world. One in particular has sparked the attention of the internet lately. Internet sensation Jerome Jarre posted a video, urging people to help fill a turkish airlines flight with humanitarian help, sparking the hashtag #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia. This campaign has meanwhile gained the attention of famous public figures like Ben Stiller. President of the Turkish Red Crescent, Kerim Kinik, has assured that airplanes will be sent to various countries, attempting to offer immediate help.

Things like this show that an individual can have a huge impact and you don’t have to be an internet sensation to have a great idea.

If you want to go out there and help on sight, there are many opportunities within AIESEC that you can choose from, to help. Don’t wait until someone else does something, don’t wait until the situation gets worse. The time to act is now!

What are you doing about it?

Blogpost writer: Jakub Wolf

A Homeless Generation of Builders

The me, me and me generation is constantly being told how they are the most narcissistic and spoiled generation in the history of humankind. If you use the amount of selfies as your yardstick, then yes, it might make you believe that the youth of today are more self centered than the generations before. But somehow, millennials also happen to be the most altruistic compared to the older generations.
Millennials think it’s important to engage in work that has a positive impact in the community and contribute to the society; they give to charity and think it’s important to help others; they are also active citizens and engage in volunteering. We are a generation that doesn’t only believe in change, but is doing something about it.
We’re at a point in time in history where we have to start cleaning up the mess that others before us have made. We can either ignore that the change needs to happen, and selfishly deny the responsibility. If we want the next generations to have it as well of as we do, we need to accept that we need to roll up our sleeves and get on with it. A lot of young people choose to make a difference. So perhaps it’s better to talk of Millennials as the “we” generations that doesn’t need to be selfishly motivated to act, but can, and will do it for the world.
What does the world need?
We’re perhaps more aware of global problems than ever. It can be quite overwhelming, especially when the scale of some problems, like climate change, can make you feel very small as an individual. Fortunately a lot of different instances are driving change, and it’s easier than ever to get information about every issue. For example the Sustainable Development Goals promoted by the United Nations give quite a comprehensive answer to what are the problems in the world that need to be tackled.
But what does the world need from you?
You’re probably a 20 something year old university student with no complete degree, yet. You don’t have much experience and little to no money. What can you possibly do to help towards eradicating poverty or hunger? You have the passion, but passion alone is not enough. You also need to think how you can help the most. Of course it would be nice to do something Instagram-worthy that you can showcase to your friends. However, in order to maximize your impact it might be worthwhile thinking twice about how to best utilize your time. Many people want to do something concrete to help, like building a school in a developing country. But if you’re a business student, maybe creating a kick ass marketing plan for an NGO can have more of an impact.
It’s important to consider what’s your personal fit for what you’re going to do. You can maximize your impact by doing what you’re best at. Other things to consider are the scale of the problem you want to tackle, quite simply by contributing to solving bigger problems you can have a bigger impact. Sometimes it can also make sense to look at issues that might neglected and not talked about so often for one reason or another, for example problems related sanitation and hygiene in poor regions.
In the end you can contribute a lot even by being willing to take on seemingly small things. Just interacting with people and sometimes giving them a role model can be enough to make a huge impact on individual people’s lives, and that positive impact can produce a ripple effect that can have unforeseen positive consequences. There’s always a way to contribute to no matter your situation and skill-set. Find an opportunity that can help you maximize your impact, your way to do it for the world.

Start cooking and Stop eating pizza

Blogpost writer: Jakub Wolf

Food is awesome. Who doesn’t love a good meal? It lifts our spirits and gets us through the day. And there are so many different options, you’ll always be able to try something new. In that sense, we are very privileged. But not everyone is. There are still many countries, where hunger and starvation are a huge issue. And our consumption and production patterns show a lack of concern for these people. Would we throw away this much food if we cared?


This week in SDG X is a novel writing initiative to keep the network and the blog’s loyal readers up-to-date with a brief collection of news directly related to the Global Goals.


On March 15th an analysis made by the United Nations and humanitarian partners was released, which states that 17 million people in Yemen are hungry, which shows an increase of 20% in the last 9 months. () Due to the conflict in Yemen, the economical situation is disastrous. It’s currently one of the worst hunger crises in the entire world!

Meanwhile, according to the FAO of the United Nations, roughly ⅓ of the food produced for human consumption in the world, which equals to around 1.3 billion tonnes, gets lost or wasted. I’m sure we all had those days, where we simply went out to eat even though we had perfectly good food at home that we just didn’t feel like eating. Some days later, we threw that food away because we never ate it. But for some people food isn’t a source of entertainment or some kind of hobby. It it literally the thing that stands between life and death.

In AIESEC we have many projects, where you can go abroad and help those people in need. In Malaysia, for example, being a melting pot of cultures, there is a lot of different cuisines there. However, around 15.000 tonnes of food are wasted there every day. With AIESEC you can go there, raise awareness and contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 12. Every bit helps. If you don’t want to go abroad, there are still things you can do at home. Next time you are shopping for food, make sure you aren’t buying excessive amounts that will just end up in the trash. You know yourself, you know what you like and you know how much you can eat. And whenever you have food at home, don’t go out to eat. Cook yourself a nice meal at home and I guarantee that it will taste a lot better than anything else you can get at a restaurant (or a food truck, I don’t judge).

And finally, this is not a one man effort. Tell your friends not to waste food, tell them about the people in Yemen and be an ambassador for sustainable consumption!

 

Stop stuffing your face

Blogpost Writer: Jakub Wolf

Do you remember that time when your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you? Or a time when you were incredible overwhelmed by your studies and your job and everything going on in your life? It is those times when some of us decide that we need food to make it all better. We start eating and eating and eating and we don’t stop. This so-called stress eating might make you feel better temporarily but usually after some time we all regret it. Well, it is this kind of unmindful consumption that is harming our planet. We buy way too much food, we eat half of it and throw the rest away.

Or take this for an example. It’s christmas, the whole family comes together and you all cook together and have a lovely time. Afterwards when you’re cleaning up, you realize that you cooked way too much food and it all goes in the trash.

Let me tell you a fact. Did you know that of the 4 billion metric tones of food produced, ¼ is either lost or wasted? That’s 1 billion metric tones, in case you didn’t do the math. Now think about this: how many people is there in the world who are starving and who’s cause of death is actually lack of food? Many. Very many. Meanwhile, the more fortunate of us, who have easy access to food just throw it all away without blinking.

The Global Goals website displays a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh which says: “The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We consume to forget our worries and our anxieties. Tranquilising ourselves with over-consumption is not the way”

But of course it’s not all our fault. We, the consumers, only buy what is available. According to Business Insider 10% of the annual food waste comes from supermarkets. The truth is, that we just have it too good. You enter a supermarket, and you see so many different options, that you don’t even know what you want to eat anymore. You go in thinking about that sweet frozen pizza and you come out with jasmine rice, ginger and some unpronounceable spice that the sales assistant assured you would be incredible. And that is incredible, because we have the chance to experience food from different places and try out new things. But if these things don’t sell, they go in the trash.

There has to be a balance found between consumption and production. We have to commit, that once we buy something, we will consume it one way or the other. The food that is left, you can give it to a shelter or give it to your neighbor or bring it to work. There is always a way to pass it on, we just don’t do it out of sheer laziness.

The time where we don’t care about sustainable consumption and production has passed. Be conscious about what you’re buying and make sure that none if it is wasted.

Protect every life-form

Blogpost Writer: Mariana Lainfiesta 

Imagine you’re waking up in the morning and change into an amazing outfit and throw on a black leather jacket. You look in the mirror, wash your face, and apply your cosmetics. You enter your kitchen and prepare a breakfast meal that consists of bacon, eggs, and a slice of bread smeared with margarine. Then, you pour yourself a tall glass of milk before leaving the house to meet a friend at the local zoo.

Amidst this very busy day, did you ever stop to think that perhaps these choices supported practices that harm others?

 1. Clothing 

You’ve probably heard of leather, wool, fur, and silk, common clothing materials that are products of animals. Have you ever considered the animals’ perspectives of wearing pieces of them? Or, how you feel about wearing pieces of preserved flesh or dead skin?

Leather

It is the chemically preserved skins and hides of dead animals such as cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, alligators, kangaroos, elephants, ostriches, dogs, cats, etc. Leather harms the human species too, as the tanning process involves the use of carcinogenic chemicals. 

Wool

Domestic sheep are bred to grow lots of wool, and the shearing process is often quite sloppy, causing many painful injuries. The majority of the world’s sheep used for wool are Merino sheep from Australia bred to have extra wrinkly skin. As wool production declines, sheep are slaughtered for human consumption.

Fur

Be it the fur of a vast variety of animal species including mink, beaver, fox, otter, rabbit, raccoon, skunk, sable, wolf, and many others — If you don’t want an animal’s skin to be stripped off her/his body, do not wear it. There are warmer and fuzzier ways to be warm and fuzzy.

2. Palm Oil 

Palm oil is used in many products including margarine, cereals, sweets, soaps, lotions, and cosmetics. Unfortunately, it can only be cultivated in tropical areas of South America, Africa, and Asia. Rainforests are being devastated by deforestation to make way for palm oil plantation, affecting the residents of these locations. Loss of habitat is causing harm to many, including endangered species such as Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, Malayan sun bears, and others.

3. Paper 

Many of us are aware that to obtain paper, deforestation occurs, but we haven’t stopped paper production. Do we think about where exactly our paper comes from? 

 

papermaking

4. Dairy 

Over nine million cows are used for dairy production in the United States alone. Cows need to be pregnant or nursing to produce milk, just like us humans and well, any other mammal. Cows are not the exception. Therefore, every year, cows are impregnated. After a nine month gestation period, the calves are stolen from their crying mothers, so their milk can be used as a consumable human health hazard.

You think that at least these cows get to live out their whole lives, right? Wrong. Cows typically live three to five years before their dairy production declines and they are sent off for cheap hamburger meat.

5. Oil 

According to the New York Times, the 2010 oil spill was responsible for the deaths of over 7,000 birds, dolphins, and sea turtles. This is only one example. Oil can affect the insulating abilities of animals such as sea otters. It can clog the pores of dolphins, whales, and manatees. Oil can destroy the waterproof properties of birds’ feathers, impacting their ability to fly and float. It can also be absorbed in an animal’s skin and cause chemical burns.

 

industry-oil-and-gas

6. Cosmetics

It is estimated that over 100 million animals are used for cosmetic testing every year. Species typically used include mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, pigs and other farm animals, dogs, cats, and non-human primates. Animals are not only confined to artificial environments; they are subject to often excruciatingly painful procedures.

7. Soy

Have you stopped eating meat? Soy is a cruelty-free product, right? Not quite. About 80 percent of the world’s soy is grown in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina. Deforestation for soy production threatens biodiversity and many endangered species. Approximately 47 percent of soy is consumed by livestock as cheap feed in place of grass.

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THIS

 Now, imagine you come home at the end of the day and you read about your day’s decisions. You start to think about what you support and consume, and how it may affect others. You act upon your new level of awareness and your new choices benefit other animals, yourself, and the environment. How does it make you feel?

global-goals-15-life-on-land.jpg__731x380_q85_crop_subsampling-2_upscale

We can still protect and restore the many endangered species and degraded lands. Don’t look the other way and think how your decisions will affect the world.

Leave NO ONE behind—human or not.

Exfoliate Your Apathy

We all love a good shower. What’s not to love? You get out fresh and clean and any feelings of anger, sadness or anxiety are washed away. And with all the different types of soaps and shampoos, there’s always something new to try and make your shower even more exciting. But is the comfort in your shower worth ruining the environment?


This week in SDG X is a novel writing initiative to keep the network and the blog’s loyal readers up-to-date with a brief collection of news directly related to the Global Goals.


On the 23rd of February 2017 the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) launched a global campaign to eliminate the use of microplastics and any other kinds of single-use plastics to save our seas and oceans.

“Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables,” Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP. This is not an issue that we can ignore because ‘it’s just going to be washed away into the ocean’.

Yes, initially it might just be in the ocean, but those plastics are then eaten by all kinds of fish and water creatures, that you end up eating. And whatever plastic isn’t consumed, accumulates and washes up somewhere on the land and ruins the environment and any animals living there.

So really it is our problem, because who wants to eat plastic, whether human or animal? I’m sure Nemo would agree.

The first step to solving this crisis, is raising awareness, because how else are people supposed to do anything if they don’t even know. In AIESEC we have many projects that tackle this issue of plastic waste, and we raise awareness in different communities so that people are more mindful of which plastics they use.

But you don’t have to go abroad to help! There is much you can do at home. Don’t buy the shower gel with microbeads! Let’s be honest, there’s a million ways you can exfoliate your body. When going to the grocery store, bring your own bag and don’t use the plastic bags there only for your convenience. It really does help. Recycle your waste! And when you’re done with all that, make your friends do the same. If we all step it up, we can make sure that our environment isn’t harmed by us.

As Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our environment, is the belief that someone else will save it”

Don’t wait until someone else does it. Be the change.

Are you standing up for our environment?