2016 is CISV's Year for Sustainable Development

Each year, CISV International puts the spotlight on one of our four educational content areas. This year we focus on Sustainable Development – what is it? How should we understand what it means? How does it connect to Active Global Citizenship? How can we educate and empower people to take action in this area?

Over the course of the year, we’ll be tackling these questions and more, with the aim of getting CISVers around the world to think and talk about Sustainable Development, in their Chapters, in their programmes, and in their communities at large. In other words, in 2016 we hope to give an extra boost to CISVers to educate and inspire action connected to Sustainable Development.

Sustainable Development is not a simple idea. It combines aspects of economic and social well-being, with focus on protecting the environment by using natural resources responsibly. It encompasses a near- infinite number of topics and questions that flow out of the basic problem of “how to meet the needs of the present without compromising the need of future generations to meet their own needs?” (Brundtland 1987)

It’s a problem that touches on topics like natural resources, health and well-being, jobs and industry, wealth and poverty, consumption and production and so much more!

And while it can be a challenging topic to get one’s head around, it’s also incredibly interesting and tremendously important. It’s an area that every Active Global Citizen should be aware of, and able to think critically about.

The team behind this year’s campaign will strive to bring you inspiring and useful resources, ideas that help you put a focus on Sustainable Development throughout 2016. We’ll do that through blog and social media posts that bring together the best materials from within and beyond CISV. We’ll post articles, activities, videos, and links to other organizations doing great work.

If you want to follow, here are three things you can do:

First, bookmark this blog and check back often. We’ll post new stuff every few weeks. Second, follow CISV International on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll post updates there too. Third, let us know what you hope to see. Drop us a line.

In our next post, we’ll dig into the challenge of defining Sustainable Development and give you some tips on learning how to introduce and explain the topic.

Yours,
The Sustainable Development Team

What is Sustainable Development?

sustainable development global goals

Hello again CISV world!

It is time to dig in to Sustainable Development, and we are here to guide you through it.

Who are we, you wonder? We are The Kompaz Project, a cooperation between CISV Colombia and CISV Norway. Working in a team of four people (two from each country) we started working with sustainable development in August, trying to produce a collection of videos to better explain the topic.

And that is not an easy task.

Sustainable development is difficult to define. The most commonly used definition, created by the Brundtland Commission – “how to meet the needs of the present without compromising the need of future generations to meet their own needs?” – was cited in the last post, but this is only one of many definitions used around the globe.

So what did we do to move forward?

In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) adopted something called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With 17 main goals and 169 targets, the SDGs aim to unite the world in the fight for a more sustainable world. These 17 goals are therefore a good basis to understand what sustainable development is about, and they have also laid the foundation for our video collection.

It is also important to remember that sustainable development means different things to different people. Trying to create a sustainable society can be very different from region to region, from city to city, and from person to person.

That is one of the reasons we are excited to work with this topic in 2016, CISV Year of Sustainable Development. We want to make people reflect on sustainable development and become more aware of what it actually means. We have already reflected a lot, but we are far from done.

We hope that you will join us in this, and interact with us in our blog, on Facebook, on Instagram and on Twitter.

Yours,
The Kompaz Project Team
On behalf of the Sustainable Development Team*

Dig In: Introducing Sustainable Development Through Activities

Sustainable development is the broadest of CISVs four content areas. In truth, Human Rights, Diversity and Conflict and Resolution could all fit under the large umbrella of Sustainable Development, although the approach to each theme could differ depending on what values, tools and ideas you bring with you.

Having such a diverse topic allows us to talk and educate about a whole lot of things, but at the same time also poses challenges. How do we make sure we’re all on the same page? How do we address the issues of differing understanding of sustainability, of development and the many different definitions? Our foremost challenge however is undoubtedly how to ensure our activities, programmes and education represent and communicate the spectrum of topics that make up the Sustainable Development content area.

With these challenges in mind the International Junior Branch’s project Dig In planned the first out of six scheduled educational activities to be released during 2016. Dig In, like its predecessors Branch Out and Stand Up, is a series of activities created by an international working group made up of JBers from ten different countries. We believe having preplanned activities makes it easier to run high quality educational content not only in local Junior Branches (JBs) and CISV, but can also be used to reach outside of CISV.

In the first activity we aim to introduce the participants to core concepts of Sustainable Development and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We challenge participants’ understanding of sustainability, letting them use the concept to understand and analyze a problem in our world. To wrap the activity up we look at the Sustainable Development Goals and ask ourselves whether these represent the full spectrum, and whether the achievement of these goals would be enough for human life on our planet to be sustainable.

This first activity was released in mid-February and has been run in Lebanon, Sweden, Costa Rica, Spain and at the Neighbourhood Weekend NICE Weekend in Finland. Through taking pictures and sending these to our Dig In email, we can spread the word of the project on social media and contribute to CISVers’ feeling of being part of a global movement.

We will release the second activity soon. Make sure to run the first step in your local Chapter and get ready to move from an introduction of sustainability and dive deeply into social sustainability in step #2!

Yours,

Anton Ruus

Educational Content Specialist & Dig In Project Coordinator
On behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

Digging Deeper with Dig In

non formal education

Oh hello again!

If you are keeping up with this blog and reading the previous posts, you will know that Dig In is the educational content area project of the year, developed by members of International Junior Branch. On the previous blog post, Dig In was described and its’ aim of introducing CISVers all over the world to sustainable development. In our second step, we focus on social sustainability, which together with ecological and economic aspects, make up sustainable development. An interesting subtopic for this is education.

Quality education is the fourth Sustainable Development Goal, and one of the main topics for CISV’s activities – we educate and inspire for a more just and peaceful world, right? However, what is it exactly that differentiates CISV’s methods of teaching and learning from others’? what is the relation between sustainability and education?, and how can we complement our CISV attitudes, skills and knowledge with alternative education methods? The participants are challenged to ponder these and other questions, to develop a deeper and critical idea of what education is and how it can most effectively be done.

This sure sounds interesting, doesn’t it? We in the Dig In team are also actively working on new and creative ways to incorporate social media into the activities to help CISV not only to do good, but to also make sure it’s being seen! Hopefully this can lead to a greater feeling of being part of a global movement, through observing others discussing the same topics as you and the networks that creates. No need to worry though if you’re not connected to the internet – there’s always an optional, offline alternative provided.

The activity can be found, ready-to-run on our Facebook page, and make sure to give us a like while you’re there!

 

Yours,

The Dig In team 

on behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

How Do We Educate for Sustainable Development?

Hi there!

In the months leading up to CISV’s busy summer programme season, hundreds of CISVers are training and preparing to go to programmes where they will be acting on CISV’s mission statement (to educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world) in the most tangible way: by preparing and leading educational activities for participants.

With this post, we want to explore the question: how should we approach educating for Sustainable Development? What makes this content area unique? What should you keep in mind when preparing and leading an activity?

In CISV, Sustainable Development is one of four content areas of peace education, and in documents such as The Passport and Big Ed it is defined like this: “Looks for integrated ways to promote economic and social well-being, while protecting the environment through the responsible use of natural resources.”

Some important things to keep in mind

It’s not just about the environment

Perhaps more than any other CISV content area, Sustainable Development touches on every aspect of human life. Going well beyond issues related to the environment it connects with domains like politics, business, science, technology, and touches on issues like poverty, gender, healthcare, urbanism, and more. Remember to take a wide perspective and aim for activities that explore the connections between these various domains.

There is so much happening right now

From the Paris Climate Summit to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to the falling price of oil, to the migrant crisis, there are an endless number of very current, highly relevant issues (locally and globally) that can be explored in relation to Sustainable Development. Explore ways to weave these into your activities and debriefs!

It’s inherently value-laden and political

When educating on Sustainable Development values and politics will come into play. Here’s an example; imagine a situaition where a community must decide what is more important: expanding housing or preserving living space for a rare species of birds. Citizens and decision makers will have to make value judgments that compare the interests of economic development and species conservation. Different pepole will have different perspectives on this question, based on their beliefs and values.

It’s important to keep this in mind, be highly aware of values, and strive to always create activities and discussions that support participants to draw their own conclusions, and take-aways, rather than imposing ‘right’ answers.

Some tips when you plan and run activities

Create experience-based activities

Across all its programmes, CISV’s educational approach is experiential learning. This is as important with Sustainable Development as with anything else. While it could be easy to get overwhelmed by all the issues, all the information, and all the perspectives, remember to base your activities in simple and powerful experiences that participants can learn from, including things like role-play, simulation, debate, storytelling, reflection and discussion, and creativity.

Connect the local and the global

Help participants draw the connections between global issues/events and their local context. Include questions that invite participants to make these connections and ask them to share stories, perspectives, and experiences when they do. Grounding learning in participants’ local realities will make it more enduring and easier to act on.

Go from learning to action!

Building on the above, encourage participants to reflect on and talk about how they can turn their learning into action in their communities. Challenge them to think about how they can take action for a more just and peaceful world in ways that relate to Sustainable Development.

We hope you’ll take some inspiration and useful insights from this post. For a great collection of Sustainable Development activities, visit the activities section of CISV’s website.

Stay tuned for more from the Sustainable Development team soon!

Yours,

Alex Neuman

on behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

Training Session: Introducing Sustainable Development

A Training session to introduce the Peace Education content area 2016: Sustainable Development

Summary of the session 

The first part of the session establishes that all of us have heard the phrase Sustainable Development and it identifies the most knowledgeable people in the room who are then recruited as facilitators for the second part. The second part is work in small groups and explores some key aspects of sustainable development. The third part links sustainable development to CISV’s mission and what each of us does in CISV.

Duration: Approx. 45 minutes; the session can be extended to 90 minutes, if the facilitator has the knowledge and the group has access to additional material to discuss Sustainable Development issues in more detail.

Materials needed: Print out a number of copies of Appendix 1; the number of copies should be roughly ¼ of the expected number of people in the group.

Preparation needed: The facilitator should familiarise themselves with the teams and resources available on CISV’s Sustainable Development 2016 web pages beforehand so they can advertise them effectively and so they can help to explain Sustainable Development, as needed.

Goal: All participants know that Sustainable Development is the 2016 peace education content area, and they are willing and able to make use of the related resources.

Indicators: 

  1. Participants understand the concept of the yearly CISV peace education content area (K)
  2. Participants understand how Education for Sustainable Development contributes to CISV peace education (K)
  3. Participants are able to access the available resources for the 2016 CISV content area (S)
  4. Participants are willing to incorporate Education for Sustainable Development into the activities they undertake as part of their volunteering in CISV (A)

Session plan

  1. Do: Let’s find out how confident we, the people in the room, are about Sustainable Development (5 minutes) 
    Ask the below sequence of questions and instruct participants to stand up if their answer to the question is “yes”. If the answer is “no”, they will sit down. The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate that we all (probably) have heard the term Sustainable Development; most of us know something about it, but few of us will consider ourselves experts in this area. After each question, comment on what is happening: E.g. “look we all know the term!”; “oh, we are getting fewer people now”; “now this is a quite small group that is left”

Questions: 

a) Have you ever heard the phrase “sustainable development” before this session?

b) Have you learned about “sustainable development” in CISV, school, and university, as part of your job?

c) Have you taught or educated others on sustainable development?

d) Are you prepared to help me lead the rest of this session by facilitating some small group work?

e) Ask the people who are still standing after the previous question to come forward and introduce them to the group.

Give each of them the Small Group Worksheet and ask them to work through the questions in it with their groups over the following 15 minutes. Split the whole group into a number of small groups, depending on how many facilitators have come forward.

  1. Reflect: So what does Sustainable Development really mean? (15 minutes) 

Small groups, guided by their facilitators, go through the questions in the Small Group Worksheet (see Appendix 1) and answer as many of them as they feel makes sense.

Note: The questions are formulated so that it is impossible to answer them all in the given time in any meaningful way.

  1. Apply: Sustainable Development as a part of CISV peace education (20 minutes) 

Ask the small group facilitators to come forward again. Depending on the room set up, you can organise this part like you are interviewing an expert panel, or like a TV show.

Questions to your experts include:

  • How many of the questions did you manage to answer with your group?
  • What was easy, and what was more difficult?

Introduce the term Education for Sustainable Development: Sustainable Development is a very complex idea, which is evolving all the time, so we all need to learn and keep learning about it. Raise question six and ask the facilitators to explain: How does Sustainable Development fit into CISV peace education?

If the facilitators answer the question well, that’s perfect and your job will be just to show the dedicated Sustainable Development 2016 web pages and explain that this is where a team of CISVers will present relevant materials throughout the year: Go use it in whatever you do in CISV! There will be materials and inspiration to use in trainings, programmes, in JB and other chapter activities.

 

Rupert Friederichsen

on behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

Reflections on Peace Education from the Kompaz Team

Hello, world!

For those of you who have been reading the blog posts from the Sustainable Development Team, you have seen that we have been focusing on the link between Peace Education and Sustainable Development. For those of you who have not been following… You really should!

The blog has presented various suggestions for activities and sessions that you can do with your local CISV Chapter, or in a camp, or in any other possible scenarios where you want to make people think and learn more about Sustainable Development. This topic is so broad and complex that to find good ways of educating children, youth and adults about it is a very important to CISV.

The mission of CISV is to educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world – to educate people to become citizens who actively contribute to making our world better. Sounds easy, right? Or difficult?

Making our world better… We can all do it. Even the smallest of efforts can make a big difference. However, our efforts can be made even better if we increase our knowledge about what we can do. The more we know about sustainability, the more we can enhance our skills to contribute to a society, a world, which will be fruitful and colourful for the generations to come.

We can do it through thinking about the environment, by getting rid of stereotypes and prejudice, by thinking twice before buying something we will throw away in a few months. And of course by doing what CISV does best – to create international friendships, to learn and understand more about other cultures, to accept people for who they are, and to learn to see the best in other people.

But as much as we learn ourselves, we should also do our best to educate and encourage others to live in a sustainable way. Through our job, the Kompaz Team got to talk to the former mayor of Bogotá – Colombia, Antanas Mockus, who said that during his time as a mayor in the 1990s he considered Bogotá to be a classroom with 6 million people. He continued by saying that to make a city better, we must make the citizens better, and to make the citizens better we need an army of teachers… And everybody can be a teacher!

Kompaz team and Antanas Mocus

THE KOMPAZ TEAM WITH THE FORMER MAYOR OF BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA

We hope you’ll take these thoughts with you as the 2016 CISV year of Sustainable Development moves along, entering into new areas of focus to make this content area as good as possible.

Yours,
The Kompaz Team
on behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

Sustainable Programmes: Environmental Living

In Step 3 of this year’s sustainable development campaign we will explore how we can apply sustainable development to our programmes. In this three part series we will explore what actions we can take to ensure that our programmes are as environmentally, economically and socially sustainable as possible.

When most people think of sustainable development they think of the environmental aspect first, and so this is where we begin our mini-series!

Over the past few years CISVers have often talked about making CISV programmes as low impact as possible, ensuring that we are practicing what we preach, so to speak. This means we have a whole range of amazing resources already out there to help us reach this goal. Below you can find 4 easy (ish!) things that you can do during a programme to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.

1. Go vegetarian, or at least eat less meat, and certainly eat locally!

Did you know that giving up red meat would reduce our carbon footprint more than giving up cars (Guardian, 2014). On many programmes, staff and participants have started thinking about this issue and many have made the switch to eating less meat, to help reduce CISV’s carbon impact. Eating locally also helps to reduce the amount of energy spent producing your food. While local food can sometimes be more expensive, eating much less meat helps you recoup some of this costs.
If you’re going on a Seminar this summer – why not bring this up with your group.

2. Recycle

Everyone knows how important it is to recycle, but sometimes in camp it is hard to know what you can recycle and how to do it properly. If you’re not in your home country ask the staff what you can recycle locally as every country has different practices. If the staff haven’t set up a system for recycling– make sure you ask them too!

You can also re-use as well as recycle. For example in England and Wales they recently introduced a 5p charge for plastic bags. When they did this in Scotland it reduced new plastic bag consumption by 80% percent. (BBC, 2014)

3. Don’t use too much water

Did you know the average American uses 525 litres of water a day, while more than a billion people in developing countries have to make do with less than 19 (Guardian, 2015)? In much of the world today, water is a very precious resource. Even where it is plentiful, processing clean, drinkable water uses up a lot of energy. To use less water in camp remember to turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth, use the plug when you’re washing up and try to avoid water fights! 

4. Use public transport – that isn’t a plane!

Did you know a flight from Paris to London produces around 244 kg of carbon dioxide, compared to 22kg/CO2 for the train journey? That is the equivalent to 3 trees per Village delegation. If you’re going to a programme that isn’t too far away, why not get a train or bus rather than a flight? It might take a bit longer to get there but it will sure help the planet! If you’re staff on a programme, why not try and arrange excursion day or travel to the site using public transport rather than cars or buses? It might even save you some money!

Do you have other ideas of how to be sustainable in our programmes? Share them in the comments!

Jessica Wanless

on behalf of the Sustainable Development Team

How to Save Money and the Planet in Your CISV Programme

If enthusiasm was the currency of the world, then CISV would be a goldmine! However, running a CISV programme can quite expensive. But the Sustainable Development Team have put our heads together to give CISVers some helpful tips to ensure that our programmes can be economically, as well as environmentally sustainable…

  1. Made too much Rice/Pasta/Purple soup?! Don’t throw it away; leftover food can be recycled too! How about making that pasta into a pasta salad for the next day? Or using up vegetables in a sauce, stew or curry?

  2. Did you know in the UK alone 275,000 tons of plastic are used each year? That’s about 15 million bottles per day (Recycle Guide UK). That’s neither economically or environmentally sustainable. So how about assigning everyone a water bottle at the beginning of your programme with their name on it, you could do a full camp activity with the mission keep your bottle for the whole duration. This could be concluded with a discussion on sustainability and inventive ways you could re-use rather than throw away your plastic bottles.

  3. When planning an excursion how about finding something to visit for free … our world is full of natural wonders. Take a picnic, your water bottles and play CISV games while exploring your host country.

  4. Cooking for large numbers can make food budgets really add up. How about going vegetarian for three days of the week? Lentils and chickpeas are often much cheaper but still highly nutritious. Or buy only locally sourced, seasonal products. They are often inexpensive and much tastier!

  5. Make transport cheaper by using the local buses/trains/metro. Or, if you are close to a town how about walking in for shopping day or excursion? Not only are you saving money, but the planet too!

These are just a few things we can do to be more economically sustainable but we bet you can think of some more… share your ideas in a comment below.

Happy saving!

 

By Madeleine Le Bourdon

Introduction to the Making of Sustainable Development

How did we get here? A (very) brief introduction to the making of Sustainable Development

Everyone is discussing Sustainable Development. Corporations have their own ideas and practices on sustainability, countries signed the Sustainable Development Goals in the United Nations, and individuals challenge current norms of consumption and living all over the world. Looking at this situation, you could almost imagine it’s always been this way and that it is a natural development. In one way it is; Sustainable Development is a response to many challenges we face, including climate change, poverty, over-consumption, harm to the natural environment, and polluted urban environments that make us sick and depressed. However, what was to be included when discussing Sustainable Development, has been problematic for decades and remains so today.

So how did we get here? The idea of the environment playing an important and beneficial role in the lives of humans is a very old one. But concern for the environment didn’t become a concern for mainstream politics until the 1960s, when authors such as Rachel Carson started to question the impact that developing countries had and have on the planet. As time passed the devastating impact economic development has had on the environmentbecame clearer. In the beginning of the 1980s, the United Nations set up the Brundtland commission, to focus on development and environment problems. Its final report, Our Common Future, brought a clearer understanding to the main ideas behind Sustainable Development as we know it today; with the three pillars: Social Development, Economic Development, and Environmental Stability.

This idea of Sustainable Development successfully brought together the older idea of economic growth, with the newer idea of environmental protection. The social aspect has often felt a little bit neglected and to this day, there is no internationally recognized definition of social sustainability (or, at least not when I studied the subject last year 😉 ) An optimist may say that Sustainable Development built cooperation between groups concerned for the environment, and truly moved it into mainstream politics. A more skeptical person may, however, say that in doing so, more radical opinions against modern day society were not heard. Some movements, that would not completely approve the commonly accepted version of Sustainable Development, are for example the ‘Zero growth’ and ‘Degrowth’ movements. Their argument points out that economic growth is still at the center of Sustainable Development, and that the environment may not be able to cope with further economic growth.

Yet it is still difficult to identify one single meaning for Sustainable Development… The UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) might seem to unite the international community, and be a great success (which of course they are!), but if you investigate and look at the indicators, there is still a lot of debate going on. Sometimes it is more about what is not being said, than what is, with many topics being seen as controversial. For instance, democracy is a term that is not used at all in any of the 17 goals. “Aid for Trade”, however, is promoted as a favoured way of giving aid. Free trade is mentioned numerous times, and preferably achieved through the World Trade Organization, which has been accused of being biased towards developed countries. These different ideas are not by themselves necessarily problematic –aid for trade could be the most effective way of giving aid for all we know. However, joint action might bring better results, than everybody dealing with the issues alone. The greatest success of the SDGs might just be that so many different countries were able to agree on such a massive plan.

With that said it is still important to be aware of what we as individuals, but also as an organization agree to. To be able to answer the question “Can and should CISV internalize this concept” (no matter which it is), we must uncover, understand and debate the basis and underlying conceptions or ideas. Hopefully, this text can help spark that important process.

By Anton Ruus

Keeping It Up: How We Can Get Involved with Sustainable Development Issues Beyond 2016

 

With the end of the year closing in, CISV will soon embark on a new yearly theme. Having created content, running activities and international programmes on Sustainable Development for the last year, CISVers all over the world have contributed to the discussion and understanding of the many challenges we face. Some might feel it’s time to move on and explore Human Rights instead, but we must not forget that development on these issues do not rest for three years while CISV gets to do other important stuff. During this time however, we could all reach out to other organisations who work with Sustainable Development. This way, we can spread the knowledge and insights reached within CISV through the Kompaz team, Dig in activities or the programmes we hosted to other organisations who are taking more direct action on these issues every day. Due to the width of the concept Sustainable Development, there are thousands of organisations working in slightly different ways and with different topics. Some are global and well known, such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or Friends of the Earth, tackling some of the biggest issues related to ecological sustainability. Others less well-known, but have found their niche in some of the social sustainability issues.

In every country there will be local or global NGOs or movements who constantly strive to make our lives more sustainable. It can be hard to get a good overview of all the alternatives you have if you want to get involved in another organisation. First of all, you need to think about what interests you. What is your passion, or what makes you really angry? If you’re able to take that negative energy and turn it into a productive energy for positive change you’re already halfway there! Many of us have a long background in peace education with CISV – either you could continue working with education, knowledge and understanding. Or maybe you are longing for a more hands on, direct and practical approach to the issues we face. There is also a great deal of different areas to focus on. Integration, equality, equity, carbon taxes, energy policies, public transportation, housing – the list of topics that fit under Sustainable Development goes on and on! The best way to stay motivated and feel good about getting involved could be selecting an issue you face in your local community every day and act on it. Surely, others have also seen the same problems as you, so either you can join preexisting organisations or movements, or you create your own. If you want to get in touch with organisations in your area, Google and Facebook is a good place to start. Sometimes however, the struggle for change happens outside of organisations in spontaneous movements or protests. Keeping up to date with local news and politics can also open your eyes to issues you wouldn’t have come across otherwise. Remember that how we get involved is not what’s important, but that we actually do get involved and continue to act for a more sustainable future. CISV will get back to focusing on Sustainable Development in four years. But the world can’t wait that long.

I’m definitely concerned about the environment, but I do have a guilty pleasure…

I care for the environment. I believe that global warming is the number one challenge for humanity during the 21st century. I am also aware what kind of behaviours we all need to change for us to live sustainable lives, and I am taking action! Going vegetarian, using public transportation, cutting down on shopping and sorting my garbage are steps I’ve taken to reduce the impact I have on the environment.

But I love traveling. And long, warm showers. Not to mention cheese (and lots of it). While I do take some pride in the steps I’ve taken to reduce my environmental impact, they do ring a bit hollow when seen in contrast to my other, very unsustainable habits. These are my guilty pleasures, and they are the topic of Dig in step 4.

To be more exact – it’s not about exploring or understanding my personal guilty pleasures. The Dig in team rather believes we all have these habits or lifestyles that don’t really accord with ambitions or values on sustainability. In this fourth activity we will bring these topics to the surface and try to address them by creating personal action plans. These plans include setting a goal, identifying risks that might hinder you to achieve these goals, and also how to reward you when you’ve completed the plan successfully. We hope that this can be a small step for us all to live more sustainable, and to decrease the bad conscious one can have because of these habits. You can find the activity through our Facebook page. Don’t forget to give us a like!

Anton Ruus

On behalf of the Dig in team

The Other Possibilities

To open with the obvious: CISV is a great place to make a difference. We all know how important it is to promote global friendship, and the work CISV does with their members is a very good way to promote peace in the entire world.

However: that is not the only option. The world is FULL of great organisations and initiatives. There is an endless list of opportunities for people who enjoy working with important topics, who enjoy learning more about how we can use our skills and abilities and who want to expand their engagement. Just think of the age-variety between Grandmothers for Peace and Young Friends of the Earth, there is something for everyone.

After I ended my work with The Kompaz Project, I moved on to working as an adviser for youth organisations in Oslo, and in my first months of the job I have learnt a lot. When trying to uncover why some people do not engage themselves in the world of volunteer work, I have found two main reasons. The first is that they have never been asked, and therefore never joined. This is an interesting notion, and maybe something that those of us who are involved in organisations should think more about. The second one, which I would like to focus more on now, is that they feel there is too much to choose from. How can they decide where they should focus their energy, when there are so many good and interesting options?

There is a fine balance between trying out many new things, and taking on too much. The latter one is one of the biggest challenges the volunteer organisations have, because those who are involved are often involved in many other things too. Engagement is a beautiful thing, but not if it exhausts people. Keeping this in mind, trying out different organisations can give you a lot of new energy. As great as CISV is (or any organisation, for that matter), it is easy to get into the same track and feel like you’re doing the same over and over again. To expand your thoughts, it might be a good idea to look towards something completely different. Not only can you learn a lot more, but you can bring your own knowledge into a new field and hopefully contribute in a different way than others. Sharing knowledge is one of the greatest tools organisations have, and I think it can be beneficial for everyone to take some time to learn from others and not only spend time in the same organisation and go over the same discussions for too long.

There is a new initiative in Norway which has proven very successful so far. The website frivillig.no is a website intended to facilitate and increase recruitment to organisations. On the website, organisations can sign up and post tasks or jobs they need to get done by volunteers. This makes it easy for “outsiders” to go in and search for either organisations they want to get involved with, or special areas they want to volunteer within, and find many options on the site. The experience so far is that many people who have never been doing volunteer work before now find their way to meaningful jobs through the website, and end up getting involved beyond their original task. I don’t know if there are similar initiatives in other countries, but if not that is something to think about working against.

2016 is coming to an end, and CISV’s focus on sustainable development is about to change into a focus on human rights in 2017. However, this doesn’t mean that we leave sustainable development behind. There are ways to keep engaging with people who focus on sustainable development, such as the concept #SDGChallenge, which has done many interesting things throughout the year. You can also get involved in one of the many environmental NGOs in the world, or maybe focus on eliminating poverty. The list is endless, it’s just a google-search away!

There is no lack of options for involvement, and it would be a shame if we don’t exploit the options we have. So go out, look around and see what you stumble upon – you might be surprised!

Sustainable Development 2016: It's Only the Beginning!

Sustainable Development 2016: It's only the beginning!

2016 won’t be a year we will all forget easily, but whether you’re ending this year on a high or a low, there remains many ways we can contribute to building a more sustainable world for years to come. Here on this blog, the Sustainable Development Team have offered many ideas to how we as global citizens can make small changes which have a lasting impact.

We started the year by exploring what sustainable development really meant through the Dig in’ teams activity. In local Junior Branches across the world CISVers were asked to think about the broad theme that is sustainable development and introduced to the UN Sustainable development goals. We were made to think beyond initial ideas of being eco-friendly to consider wider issues such as population growth and food security.

The campaign team’s next series of pieces moved on to look not only at how we can educate on sustainable development but how we train our educators on sustainable development. These blogs provide insight into how CISV’s ‘learning by doing’ approach can be applied in both activities and trainings. With helpful tips for providing the content, environment and facilitation needed for inspiring effective thought and action, locally and globally.

But ‘what can we as CISVer’s do?’, we heard you cry! Well, our pieces on environmental living and how to make CISV camps more sustainable provide just a starting point of the many ways we can make practical changes to our everyday lives which together can build a more hopeful future for our planet. From going vegetarian twice a week to taking the local transport (or even walking!), these two blogs provide just a snap shot into how not just CISV camps but out lifestyles can be more sustainable.

However, it is not just our practical habits which we need to reflect upon as our more in-depth exploration of the history and concept of sustainable development explains. We need to think critically to our approach to sustainability, the issues surrounding it and the institutions which impact them. Thus, though everyday actions can lead to great changes, we need to ensure that the right path is chosen to tackle the wider issues by the likes of governments, businesses and international organisations.

The last blog posts now calls for you to take action, for though our campaign year may nearly be up sustainable development waits for no-one! Both our ‘Keeping it up’ post and ‘The other possibilities’ remind us that there are many ways to be sustainable global citizens. The first post acknowledges that we all aren’t perfect and that we all have our ‘guilty pleasures’ (long showers anyone?!) but that we can all find ways to make our lifestyles more sustainable. The second posts calls us to action (!), through signposting and inspiring us to find organisations beyond CISV which work locally and globally on sustainable development issues.

What has been made clear throughout this campaign is that sustainable development does not just apply to our participation in CISV but that for real change we need to mobilise and reach wider. The Kompaz team have created some amazing work both on this blog and their own showing how many issues in sustainable development which impact upon the world as a whole are connected to the lifestyles in our immediate community.

So are you ready for ACTION? Because the world needs you and though 2017 will be CISV year for ‘Human Rights’, sustainable development will be more important than ever in the years to come. It’s time to get INFORMED, to THINK CRITICALLY and to take ACTION. Let’s be the change the world is waiting for!

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