We are delighted to share a blog written by student Cherry Sung from Chadwick International, who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2019-20 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 957 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
Our journey was, is, and will continue to be full of meaning, collaboration, and joyful empowerment.
Greener is Cleaner as a whole has long observed and identified the roots of the issue, climate change, and waste. These roots were carelessness and an extreme bond to plastic’s convenience, as many of our community members neglect where their trash goes and only lean to things that bring comfort. For example, students and staff at school constantly threw food waste in the plastic bin, interrupting the whole recycling process. With the juice and condiments from the food waste that got on plastic, the dirty and contaminated plastics were made useless for recycling. Also, around 120 students buy bubble tea sold in plastic cups with plastic straws and plastic lids ever day. While they realize deep in mind that plastics take at least 100 years to decompose, they use plastics because they are easy to use and convenient.
We, Greener is Cleaner, live in the largest consumer of plastics (according to Greenpeace Plastic Report, December 2019). When we walk on the streets, we always see plastic waste littered unwisely. Even though there are many greenery in Korea, the beauty is covered by the plastic waste. We all love nature, but it seemed like people in our community regard plastic litter as a picayune matter. These factors have fuelled our passion for implementing far-reaching projects in our community.
Therefore, we plan to raise awareness of the importance of acting now for climate change, clean trash in our city, ban disposable plastic, reduce food waste, and promote 3 R’s at school, and bother large corporates (Target, Nestlé, Maeil Dairies Company, etc.) to initiate anti-plastic and eco-friendly measures.
Since participating in the GSL Global Goals Competition, we have enhanced life-long valuable skills.
By cooperating with people we wouldn’t usually work together with, we discovered our strengths and weaknesses. We had to be able to coordinate meetings and interviews, find ways to help each other out, and balance our individual strengths and weaknesses. By working towards a shared purpose, we strengthened our sense of responsibility, the pursuit of passion, authenticity, talents, and enjoyment of the journey.
Each and every one of us had time to reflect upon why we are doing what we are doing, why us, and why we are all passionate about this topic. The answer was because it is something that is affecting us, will affect us later, and we are the last generation to act about it.
During the implementation process, we learned that it is very important to continue running projects that appeal to the spirits of our community. We should consistently demonstrate our efforts made to achieve our ultimate common goal. We have garnered much support from people inside and outside our local community.
By working on projects targeting the UN SDGs #11, 12, 13, 15, and 17, all respectively, we developed a much deeper understanding of climate change. This includes the causes and consequences of climate change. We don’t learn much about these goals at school. However, we learned something great and very important that we don’t even learn at school.
We also developed patience, because the journey that we chose is not one that will start off easy and show immediate results, and confidence, as we pushed our limits of courage. For instance, Cherry (leader of Greener is Cleaner) went to a hotel in her community to ask permission to clean the parking lot. It was a huge step for her because asking a hotel manager for permission to clean the hotel’s area for pure passion was most likely out of imagination for the manager. After getting the consent, Cherry spent approximately 3 hours only picking up trash in the 5.5-acre parking lot.
Our most recent and biggest challenge we are facing is the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that caused our school to close. Since our members cannot meet routinely in person, our only option is to use online tools, which isn’t the best option.
The Next Chapter
We would definitely recommend other people to get involved in similar projects. By getting involved in such actions, people can work together towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals that benefit all of the living things in our home planet.
Taking action leaves huge impact on the purpose itself, but it also offers a feeling of fulfillment from serving others, the environment, and yourself. Just like we learned a lot about ourselves through our journey, people would be able to develop their keen minds and become exemplary characters.
No one starts taking action in a huge scale. They start humble, then start creating a chain of positive reaction that leaves huge impact in the long run. (The butterfly effect)
You can lead by example and empower youth. Everyone has the potential.
The 2019-20 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2020. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.