Earth Day looked a little different this year. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting people around the globe, in-person mass mobilizations and gatherings are not an option.Young people around the world are continuing the fight to safeguard our planet, and are motivating all of us to continue the fight even while physically distancing.
Here are five Global Shaper projects that showcase the community's continued determination to keep fighting for climate action, even as a pandemic rages around us.
1. REFORESTATION, SENSITIZATION AND DIALOGUE: ABUJA, NIGERIA
Nigeria is highly vulnerable to climate change through desertification and drought. In order to mitigate these effects, the Abuja Global Shapers hub has committed to planting 5,000 trees throughout the city. Reforestation will help nourish the soil, improve farm productivity and reduce the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Although these reforestation efforts are on pause due to COVID-19, the hub is continuing its work by finding and training partners to join the effort. These partners range from civil-society organizations to environmental clubs at schools. Each partner will be provided with the resources to plant the trees and will act as trustees to ensure the long-term sustainability and impact of the reforestation efforts.
2. TWO-WHEEL TUESDAY: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Brussels is one of the most congested cities in Europe, and the Global Shapers hub there is committed to reducing pollution and traffic by promoting cycling. Their project helps people overcome any reservations about cycling in a city through information, support and community-building. With fewer commuters due to COVID-19, the project’s focus has shifted towards increasing its online presence, awareness-building and developing corporate mobility offers, where employers reward workers who cycle to work. The hub is working closely with Paris Shapers and plans to expand the project to include other congested cities throughout the world.
3. FUTURE LEADERS: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Australia’s emissions forecasts show that it is not on track to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. The Melbourne hub plans to help change this through Australia’s youth. They aim to educate and empower 100,000 young Australians in Victoria to engage in climate action at the local level. While there is uncertainty in the status of elections in the country due to COVID-19, the hub plans to reach young people through digital campaigns and resources, provide a platform for young people to discuss climate issues with local representatives, and encourage them to run for office.
4. FROM TABLE TO PLANET: QUITO, ECUADOR
Despite its remarkable biodiversity, Ecuador’s mismanagement of waste is affecting its natural resources and placing ecosystems at risk. The Quito hub aims to restructure how community members view and handle organic waste through schools. The hub plans to build a composting system and vegetable garden of native plants in collaboration with students at a local school, with hopes to expand to other schools in the city and country with the support of private and public institutions. While schools are currently closed due to COVID-19, the Quito hub is already impacting local policy by providing input on a draft proposal for a waste ordinance for the city.
5. PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS TO ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY: BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
The Bucharest hub aims to utilize the installation of solar panels on the roof of a typical apartment complex in the city as a catalyst to bring neighbors together to produce clean energy and establish a strong sense of environmental responsibility. One goal is to generate dialogue and unite the local community on clean energy. Although COVID-19 has paused their installation timeline, the hub is working on permits and authorizations, while mapping stakeholders and seeking further funding so that the project is ready to launch as soon as possible.