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How urban youth can be an engine for achieving sustainable low carbon lifestyles: beginning in Bogota

  • Published on December 13, 2017
The overall objective is to enhance and harness understanding on what are low-carbon sustainable lifestyle opportunities for urban citizens (youth) in Bogota; to facilitate their uptake and to feed into the urban policy context. For this, UN Environment and El Bosque University are working with university students in Bogota to develop a participatory process to reduce environmental impact in the city.
To enhance and harness understanding on what are low-carbon sustainable lifestyle opportunities for urban citizens (youth) in Bogota; to facilitate their uptake and to feed into the urban policy context. Specific objectives include: developing, launching and tracking targeted low-carbon lifestyle initiatives around one or 2 core lifestyles areas such as food and mobility, within the context of all core lifestyle areas (which also include housing, consumer goods and leisure); galvanizing a network of low-carbon lifestyle proponents in Bogota for long-term initiative support, providing evidenced based inputs for SL policy making (including working in partnership with the government and local authorities to contribute towards the Colombian National Low Carbon Development Strategy); and formulating a replicable, illustrated, urban model for similar work regionally/globally. The project consists of 5 phases: Diagnosis, Validation, Implementation of Initiatives, Evaluation and Replication Model. During the diagnostic phase, a research for initiatives that work on sustainable lifestyles in the city of Bogotá was developed, from which a database of 43 was obtained. At the same time, a survey was conducted as a baseline of information on current lifestyles and aspirations of young people from 18 to 25 years of age, collecting 624 responses. For the validation phase, alliances were established with 20 of the initiatives collected in the database and with different state institutions and networks such as the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Environment Office of the Municipality, RCE Bogotá and other university neworks. Parallel to this, the validation of a document provided by the United Nations entitled "Global Menu of Options in the Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles" was carried out, where a group of experts and young people consolidated a document with those actions applicable to the city of Bogotá and complemented it with new strategies. As a deliverable of this phase, a document that shows how Bogota citizens can adopt sustainable lifestyles around 5 main domains: mobility, leisure, housing, food and consumer goods will be available for the city. The project is currently in its implementation phase, where 30 initiatives that promote sustainable lifestyles in the city and a group of 35 young leaders trained in this subject are working actively. On the other hand, a Sustainability Course for Young Leaders was developed in which 23 young people were trained during 5 Saturdays on topics of sustainability and sustainable lifestyles with the purpose of being multipliers of the project, sharing their knowledge with others and supporting the events that the project develops. What is sought is to make known alternatives to live the city in a sustainable way. For this, a communication strategy was developed whith the motto "En Modo Acción, Live Simple, Live Happy" that includes the use of physical and digital pieces for its promotion. Through the social networks of the project, it has been possible to interact with the target audience in such a way that sustainable lifestyles are promoted through publications, and the impact can be measured by conducting questionnaires. So far it has achieved a reach of more than 6,000 followers among Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, of which approximately 400 have participated in the questionnaires made to date. The project has developed in the following events where this strategy was promoted, as well as the initiatives that have been actively working: • Sustainability Forum - El Bosque University (September, 2017). • Mobility Fair - El Bosque University (April, 2018). • Fashion Revolution Week - El Bosque University (April, 2018). • Mercado En Modo Acción where local producers were able to show their productive processes and products to the participants - El Bosque University (May, 2018). • Great Project Launch Event - El Bosque University (May, 2018). • International Environment Day – Palatino (June, 2018). • FIMA (International Environment Fair) – Corferias (June, 2018). • Sustainable Movement Fair – Mejor en Bici (July, 2018). • Presentation of the project at the Meeting of Regional Leaders of AIESEC Colombia - Universidad Externado de Colombia (July, 2018). • Second En Modo Acción Fair - Mirandela Neighborhood (August, 2018). • World Cleanup Day (September, 2018). • Bicycle Week – Antonio Nariño Municipality (September, 2018). • Institutional Investigations Congress - El Bosque University (September, 2018) • Education for Climate Change Forum - University of Environmental and Applied Sciences (October, 2018). • I Colombia’s Climate Action Week - Fundación Universitaria Agraria de Colombia (October, 2018) On the other hand, the project has been presented in different international events: • 6th RCE Conference of the Americas. Sustainable Communities: Exploring the role of Education in Sustainable Development in the development of a "Green Culture". September 13 – 15, 2017. Vancouver, Canada. • Education for Sustainable Living: Advancing teaching and learning for responsible consumption. San José, Costa Rica (April, 2018). • Low Carbon Cities Forum in Paris, France (September, 2018). • Discussion on environmental activism - Universidad Politécnico Grancolombiano. (September, 2018). • Institutional Investigations Congress – El Bosque University (September, 2018). • 2DO. Seminario Internacional Centros Urbanos Sostenibles Y Resilientes. Cali, Colombia (October, 2018). In the Evaluation and Monitoring phase, an estimation of the reduction of the carbon footprint of a pilot group of young people will be made as a mechanism for estimating the impact of the project. Finally, the last phase contemplates the generation of a replication model that can be applied in other cities in Colombia and Latin America. The results of the project will be presented in a final event, planned for November, 2018 where the recommendations made by the project to public policies, the steps to implement sustainable lifestyles in Bogota, the Menu of Options for the city and the key challenges facing the city will be exposed. Young people in Bogota are understanding and appropriating the concepts of lifestyles that allow them to have a lower carbon footprint than in the current scenario, through participatory identification of action priorities and model definition. This project is producing substantive research and pilot studies of sustainable lifestyles marketing in an urban context. The project supports Bogota stakeholders to better envision a sustainable Bogota while providing example efforts to enable young citizens to pursue more sustainable lifestyles. These results will feed into global sustainable lifestyles messaging. This messaging will then contribute to efforts in 2018 "The Year of Producing and consuming sustainably," leading to the High Level Political Forum covering SDG 12, and various other global events. The project results will be disseminated regionally and globally to facilitate the scale-up and replication of these efforts. The following results have been accomplished: 1. More than 6000 followers on social networks. 2. The development of an app regarding consumer goods initiatives in the city. 3. Participation in 15 events in different locations of the city like universities, neighborhoods and fairs with more than 600 assistants. 4. 3 academic undergraduate investigations regarding sustainable lifestyles and carbon footprint calculations. - Formulation of a framework of strategies for the reduction of the carbon footprint in youth between 18 and 25 years in the city of Bogotá for the domains of food and mobility. - Documentary analysis of the current status of sustainable lifestyles in the city of Bogotá 2007-2017. - Design of an application for mobile devices with the aim of promoting sustainable lifestyles in the citizens of Bogotá. 5. 5 post-graduate investigations from the University of Environmental and Applied Sciences: - Environmental education from human development: the road towards the construction of sustainable lifestyles in primary school children. - Assessment of sustainable consumption habits in the eighth grade students’ diet of the departmental educational institution Bicentennial at the Funza municipality. - Design and application of a playful teaching - learning sequence, for conceptual and attitudinal change regarding sustainable lifestyles in students from 15 to 18 years old. - Effect of a teaching - learning sequence on the separating solid waste behavior in children from 9 to 13 years old. - “Sustainable store”: a learning sequence for behavioral change regarding sustainable food. 6. 4 publications in local newspapers and T.V. channels and one publication in UN Environment’s Regional Latin America Web Page. 7. An alliance with El Tiempo newspaper (the most important newspaper in the country) in which the project provides academic research and information on sustainable lifestyles and El Tiempo publishes a series of challenges around the five domains. 8. Participation in 6 academic encounters in which the project has been presented, national and international. 9. Alliances with 8 universities, 3 government organizations and 30 initiatives, 3 university networks. For interested parties (City authorities, NGOs, Academic institutions): We are offering a replication model to implement in interested cities. Let's find out what the "good life" looks like in your city for the sustainable future! Follow our social networks and enter our web site: Facebook: @modoaccionsostenible Instagram: @modoaccionsostenible Twitter: @modosostenible Web Site: E-mail: We will continue to deliver the message through our communications strategy, promoting events and searching for initiatives that work on sustainable lifestyles in the city.
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