What was meaningful to me about the United Nations talks at the Trusteeship Council Chamber was the feeling I got being present there. It felt empowering to be included in such a unified discussion about sustainability with my school and the representatives from Denmark. It was so interesting to not only visit the UN, but attend an important talk with people from around the globe concerned about climate change and promoting a more sustainable future.
It was fascinating to hear Denmark politician Christine Antorini talk about the education of children in Denmark because Denmark effectively promotes a bottom-up regimen for sustainability in their country. I think that that’s the best way to promote sustainability– through the people on up. When children learn about something from a young age and continue to explore it, it becomes engined in them. Education has such a high value in shaping how people approach problems and look at the world, so making environmental science and sustainability a part of every child’s education would make a impact on the world. With Denmark, it’s unique how they make sustainability a collaborative effort by encouraging it and making it accessible to everyday people. The government institutes and regulates sustainability, and the people participate because it’s a part of their culture. Ranging from biking, to design, to renewable energy, Denmark is a pioneer for sustainability that other countries can look toward as a model.
Looking toward the future, Parsons Dean Joel Towers mentioned the relevance of innovating our designed world. As a student, learning about the current state of climate change and thinking of making the world a more sustainable place is daunting. It can feel like my classmates and professors around me are the only ones who care about living sustainably in our apathetic world. I think that it’s in part up to us to promote a better lifestyle for not only our planet, but ourselves. Sustainable fashion design is one major way to achieve this, as well as retrofitting inefficient buildings. Producing better products from better materials is key. I also think that it’s up to the government to employ policies that force people to make changes in their lives. Since the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, our government needs to make a stand to combat this. Most of the pollution comes in the form of water pollution in third world countries producing fast fashion for the bare minimum. The U.S. could ban imports of products coming from countries with unsustainable practices, such as the dumping of synthetic dye waste into public rivers in Bangladesh. In order to make a difference, more companies need to adopt sustainable practices instead of relying on cheap materials and unsafe labor.
Leaving the UN last Friday I felt both overwhelmed and inspired. The task of sustainability is a massive one, and it’s hard to see the effects of climate change on our planet. However, with the way Denmark has evolved into a country that’s seeking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it shows that the task doesn’t have to be a monumental challenge. Sustainability is an ongoing effort that requires all parties involved. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the UN talk with the representatives from Denmark, and I hope that the U.S. can follow suit in Denmark’s footsteps to promote a sustainable culture and lifestyle for out country.