In 2022, the Netherlands was the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural goods by value. Impressive, right? Yet, what if we inspect this claim a bit closer?
Out of the goods that were exported, some of the main items for export were dairy products, eggs, and meat. What hides behind this is also an uncomfortable truth about the model of food production – cheaper raw products (e.g soy for feed) are being imported to produce higher-value goods that are then sold at a higher price. This, in turn, can also have an impact on the exporting countries in terms of their land use and biodiversity when the goods for export are needed in large quantities (e.g deforestation to produce soy). So, how does this all tie together, and what can we do about it?
Between September 21 and September 27, we come together during the SDG Action Week to recognise the change in action. It might be difficult sometimes to see how our individual decisions can have impact, but we need to remember that the natural world is an invisible network that spreads across lands and oceans, and we play an intricate part in the balance of those connections. Each of our actions impacts this fragile organism and can shift its usual course. To contribute to the mission of actively shaping our environment in a positive way, we as Digital Society School are organising initiatives on both local and global level.
GLOBAL GOALS JAM – ACTING GLOBALLY
To create a better future for all of us, we need a unified shared image of how such future might look like. Activism to solve global challenges has to happen everywhere, and so the knowledge to do so has to be born and exchanged within a global network of learners.
This is why we started the Jam: a 2-day event to engage makers and designers across the world coming together in their local communities to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by creating short-term interventions with long-term impact. More than an event, it is a network of cities and organisations that are excited to engage their local communities to create real impact for the Global Goals.
Each year, we choose a theme in line with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the Global Goals Jam (GGJ) to work on. In 2023, we are calling on creative communities in cities around the world to take action to protect and restore natural habitats. We encourage creative minds to think how our cities can be not only the source of problems when it comes to biodiversity but also a key to rebuilding it.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INTENSIVE PROGRAMME – ACTING LOCALLY
Twice a year, we become a home for talented young professionals from all over the world who join our Digital Transformation Intensive Programme for 20 weeks. During this period, as a multidisciplinary team, they take up a project presented by our partner from the industry and connected to one of the SDGs. They learn how to use design and technology responsibly in order to solve complex societal challenges.
Each semester, we have around 8-9 teams working on various projects that by the end of the traineeship result in the development of a prototype or a conversational object that our partners can implement further.
For example, during our Spring 2023 semester, a team of trainees worked on a challenge presented by the Facilities Services (FS) department of HvA/UvA to create a monitoring solution that will enable the FS to measure and track the CO2 footprint of food and drinks. The aim of the project was to enable a transition to sustainable food as part of the sustainability program of the UvA and HvA. The major focus areas include tackling food waste, the protein transition to vegan food offerings, and food security, as well as working with more local and small-scale suppliers.
The team managed to develop a prototype that would help FS to achieve this goal. Moreover, with the solution that the team came up with, they were also awarded a GO Game Changers Award.
Let’s not wait for what tomorrow brings, but Act Together Now!