Fourth in Bare Necessities- Zero Waste India’s series on SDGs in relation to zero waste, circular economy methodology and sustainability is Goal 4: Quality Education.
There is no substitute for good quality education no matter who you are or where you are situated in the world. There have been substantial improvements in education in the recent past, especially for girls, which has fantastic benefits for global society including the environment that we all live in. In 2018, this situation was recognised and actioned at the highest level, the UN Secretary General launched the UN Youth Strategy as a platform to promote young people across the globe to actively create a peaceful, just and sustainable world. This key focus on the youth of today, in regards to creating a sustainable world, is paramount to our ability to live cohesively with the environment. This is in part because the youth of today are often provided with the most up to date information, whereas individuals who are a long way removed from school can become complacent in renewing their own knowledge base.
There are numerous organisations around the world such as Vietnamese Greenhub who are valuing insights from young minds. While in India there are NGOs and CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) combating waste through education for both young and old. There are positive initiatives such as #FridaysForFuture, a call to action run by students supporting climate action, and large campaigns such as the Run For The Oceans event, which was recently completed for World Oceans Day (in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore) that aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans. All of these organisations, events and calls to action aim to educate people in order to improve current knowledge about waste, the circular economy and sustainability in a variety of ways. Without this knowledge being passed around the inherent risks of the situation could be undervalued.
A wide range of educational information is now ‘open source’ such as The Guide To Going Circular from Auckland City Council in New Zealand, and Plastic Free July has a dedicated information deck for everyone to learn. Similarly Save Philippines Seas provides open source material for all. The more accurate information available, the more people all around the world can learn about key current issues impacting upon our lives everyday and the reasons why moving toward a system that functions within a circular economy is pivotal to our long term sustainability.
The solution to these global problems need to be found. While we know that education is vital for everyone, updating one’s knowledge is just as important and can sometimes be undervalued, which is where accurate and verified (through up to date facts and figures) open source material, for example, is vital. Learning about new thoughts and ideas, refined and updated ideas, can provide a different perspective that may give a profound insight, potentially the seed of a sustainable solution.