This is the paper I wrote to win the trip to China. I got a request to upload it and I thought why not? Reading it now, so long after I sent it in, is really weird and I realize now that it’s very cringe worthy, (or at least I think so), but hey, the judges didn’t complain so I won’t either 😛
Before I let you read it, I’m gonna rant some more, (but it’s for your own benefit so you won’t mind. (I deliberately didn’t phrase that as a question, and I just made a parenthesis inside of a parenthesis… Is that even allowed in the english language? Probably not, but oh well..:P) now I’m gonna continue writing what I actually wanted to say and stop making parentheses).
The thing I wanted to say was actually just a quick notion, about how it might make more sense to you if you know something about the 17 sustainable development goals, but it’s not totally necessary.
*Takes a deep breath* Now I’m done:P
Let’s do it together
The importance of international cooperation.
International cooperation is a very important thing simply because of the fact that we’re very little if we don’t have each other. If we want to do great things we have to help each other and I do believe, that if we just collaborate, we’ll be capable of accomplishing incredible and world changing things. And yes, we may just be mammals, sometimes even more animal than man, but it’s in those times when we aren’t, when we don’t behave like predators and selfish creatures, beautiful things spring from our minds and we see clearly if only just for a second. In that moment we know that there’s something else that matters, that it isn’t all about money, big houses, prestige or adoration, it’s about life. It’s about your life, my life, the lives of everyone and maybe most importantly, the life of the planet. Because if the planet dies, so do we.
We only get one planet, one shot to do it right, and I truly believe that we can turn it around so instead of remembering this era as the time we raped and ruined our planet, it’ll be known as the time when mankind united and did all they could to save it.
So to me international cooperation means a lot. We can’t save this planet, our world and all of it’s inhabitants if we help no one but ourselves or even our own country.
We need to unite, to help and cooperate with each other, across borders, across cultures, beliefs, across everything that stands between us in this very moment, because if we don’t we won’t save or change anything at all.
And no, I’m not running for president, even though that did sound pretentious and painstakingly like an election speech.
The most important goals.
If you look at the big picture I am thoroughly convinced that every single one of the sustainable development goals are important in their own sense. Maybe they’re not all as equally important, though of course that can be debated, but they each contribute to make the world a better place.
I think it’s hard to choose only two and I think that some of the goals are a bit like each other, but yet still manage to be almost completely different.
The goals to end poverty, end hunger, create good health and give everyone the right to a quality education are of course extremely important, but I also think that it’s not something you just change overnight. You can’t just throw food at every poor person and then expect hunger to end. I believe it goes a bit deeper than that.
That’s why I think that the goal to create more gender equality is one of the most important ones there is. If the man doesn’t have that much power over women in especially the poor countries, he won’t be allowed to eat first, and maybe then there will be food enough for everyone. Or if the man isn’t considered as the stronger one, the worthier one, the one who deserves a greater future, then maybe everyone will be given the opportunity to get the education they deserve and need. Then women will have more jobs too and thereby make more money, contributing to society with their intelligence, their earned money, helping to end poverty all around. Let’s say that a woman learns about agriculture. She learns about cultivating the earth in the right seasons with the right seeds, so that she can get the most out of the family’s soil. She’ll then have learned to use the earth for it’s resources without impoverishing it. Most likely she’ll end up making enough to sell it, thereby earning money to support her family.
Another good thing, if they both get an education, is that then if anything happens to one of them, their future won’t be doomed and their economic foundation won’t be as fragile. If they don’t have to worry about getting food on the table constantly, maybe then they’ll also have some excess energy they can use to help make the world a better place.
Another very important goal is climate action. We might end poverty and hunger all we want, but if we still treat our planet like it’s not the primary reason for why we’re alive, we’ll still be killing ourselves and each other. Earth is our home and we need to treat it like that. We don’t go around throwing trash and destroying in our own houses or apartments, do we? Maybe we do, but eventually we have to clean it up again, or find a new place to live, which we´ll undoubtedly also end up wreaking havoc in. The thing with real life is that we can’t exactly just get a new planet, not like Earth, but we can start cleaning it, changing it for the better. That’s a bit more sustainable isn’t it?
What we can do.
A great first step on our way to recovery as a better people, living on a sustainable planet is to stop battling each other in man made wars. It’s a vital step on our way towards actually ending up working together as a unity. On the contrary, that might not happen in a really long time so we must do all that we can now, even if it’s not much.
A thing that can be done if we look at the bigger scale, is simply treating each other like equals and not making special rules for one gender or one section of the population. It might not sound simple, and for many there will be other obstacles in the way like government and religion, but frankly it´s that simple.
Another thing is to maybe not exactly stop, but to reduce the production of manufactured goods made over sea. It would do a lot to lessen pollution and help our environment. We can also start thinking about what kind of food we buy and if it’s in season. For example here in Denmark it’s unnatural to eat strawberries in the winter because we don’t produce them that time of the year. Instead we have it brought to us from foreign countries, where the transportation is a great contributor to pollution. In the winter we should in Denmark be eating more cabbage because it’s their peak season, and it’s therefore more natural for us danes to eat.
Those are some things we can change if we look at the big picture. If you’re younger or maybe you just feel like it’s out of your hands, you can do some smaller things that matter just as much.
Because I am “just” a kid and a young person from China is “just” a kid too, we may feel like there’s nothing we can do, but we’re just deluding ourselves. We can do and change things even if it’s just on the smaller scale.
What we all can do, is to remember to turn of the lights when we don’t need them, don’t charge our phones all the time, don’t let everything be on standby, turn it off instead, stop wasting food, be aware of the previously mentioned notion about foods brought to us from over sea, don’t let the water run and take showers that lasts forever. We can also buy organic foods and put thoughts into what we’re buying, where we’re purchasing it and how it’s produced.
We can also treat people like they’re worth just as much as us no matter their gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality or religion. If we see someone treating anyone poorly just because they’re different or another gender, we shall speak up. We shall defend and speak up for those who can’t do it for themselves.
We can remind our friends and family to stop wasting too, encourage them to ride their bikes or walk more, instead of driving all the time, always letting them know and reminding them that there actually is something they can do too. In Denmark we’re really good at riding our bikes, we go on bicycle vacations, we ride our bikes to school, we basically ride our bikes everywhere, no matter how crowded the place we’re going is. I haven’t been to China, but I imagine that they don’t ride their bikes often. Maybe we can inspire them so that they’ll want to try doing it too.
In China, the elders take really good care of themselves. They meet up at parks to do Tai chi, to dance, to socialize with other people, keeping their spirit alive. That’s something I think we can learn here in Denmark. We might not live in a country covered by smog, but in some way we have failed to grasp the concept of a greater life quality, especially the elders. If I were to go to China I’d share with a young chinese person our love for bicycles and I’d love if I in return could hear about the things their elders do to stay active.
Because our countries are so different with different values and traditions, we can learn a lot from each other. We can inspire each other to try out new methods, or get inspired ourselves to change something in our own lives.
We can help and inspire each other and together work our way towards a more sustainable future.