System Thinking on a Global Scale | UNESCO’s ‘Youth Saves the Planet’ Conference in Paris

Imagine ordering a chair from an online furniture website. Think about the process it takes to get from the design concept to sitting on it in your dining room. This chair will probably be in contact with dozens of hands before reaching your own. The interior design industry is just one of the billions of systems that work in an intricate order similar to our planet. Believe it or not, we are constantly interconnected with the world, even without social media. There is something else that we are connected to called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which consist of 17 goals that were created in 2015 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” For the SDGs to be achievable, we will need partnerships on all levels such as governments, private sectors, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations.

Key Partners

"If you want to fast, go alone; 
                         if you want to go further, go together.”
                                         - The Marine ColLABoration

Invited by UNESCO, we were able to be part of a historic event at UNESCO’s HQ in Paris France, as a representative for the Canadian Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Youth Leaders. UNESCO gathered 80+ ESD youth leaders from around the globe to equip youth knowledge and assets to enhance their success in promoting ESD learnings within their community. By the end of the conference, we weres able to witness the phenomenon of our world’s ESD youth leaders coming together acting as one unified group sharing the same values and goals which gave me confidence and hope that our youth can save the planet.

The SDG’s have put our whole system onto a sustainable path and there must be stronger inter-relationships between citizens, private and public sectors and our governments.

“If you want to fast, go alone; if you want to go further, go together.”

– The Marine ColLABoration

is a phrase that reminds me how partnerships are important to achieve personal goals. As entrepreneurs, we find it very important to start getting businesses and non-for-profits and communities to be part of this sustainable movement. The ESD conference brought all kinds of youth/organizations together; the Young Reporter for the Environment (YRE) Network, Okayama Youth, Planeta Oceano, Earth Charter International were just a few that were present to educate ESD leaders and their mission in achieving the SDGs and welcoming new partnerships. But most importantly, it’s critical to understand and see how these individual organizations are tackling the SDGs together for youth to explore and unlock opportunities for each other to work together in a system.

As the Canadian representative, we believe this ESD conference has given my partner Luca Campacci and I at Level Studio Inc. the tools and skills to create a social initiative and become  stronger ESD Leaders back in Toronto, Canada. There were capacity building workshops on fundraising, mentorships, scaling up activities, evaluation and monitoring. We was interested in the scaling up activities workshop as it was in my best interest for my initiatives. The clear objective of these workshops allowed youth leaders to learn how to bring our initiatives to a global scale. Being surrounded by such a diverse group of leaders solidified my understanding that we must do more to continue increasing public education on sustainable development. We must educate all generations on the SDGs that were created and teach people to start adopting new lifestyle changes to help better the world.

After the conference, Luca and I both agreed we must do more back in Canada. We are looking into creating a youth network to engage and inspire youth through design in all disciplines and learn more about the 17 SDGs and have them implemented into their lifestyle. Our next foot forward is being an influencer to our next generation of youth by promoting and educating for more sustainable design. We believe we can inspire and nourish our young art and design community to channel their focus on educating sustainable developments. Similar to an online shopping system, this is just one system that we can further assist by channeling passion, knowledge and existing networks to help benefit the design community as a whole. We hope our journey in this social initiative can inspire and promote the SDG’s in our home community and create an impact to other systems out in the world.