Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas, and inspiration from across the world that demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. Here at TRVST, we’re a big fan of Ted Talks, so we thought we’d round up a couple that caught our eye and discuss a few talking points which emerge from them.
Zimbabwean environmental activist Nkosilathi Nyathi delivers a clear and compelling talk about how we can fight climate change by listening to children.
Nyathi goes straight to the point - climate change is caused mainly by adults in developed nations, he says, and yet the consequences primarily affect the children in developing countries. He also feels that younger generations have so much to offer when it comes to fighting the climate crisis, though they are so often not consulted.
To back up his argument, Nyathi was just 12 when he led the initiation of a “functional biogas plant,” turning the gas from food scraps into new energy; the project was the first of its kind in Victoria Falls.
It’s worth being aware that the climate change effects in Zimbabwe are mainly related to water supply and food security, made all the more difficult by the fact that the country is already susceptible to droughts as well as vulnerabilities to diseases brought about by climate change. It’s particularly powerful listening to someone talk about how their future is at risk, and yet they have the spirit to fight back.
Nkosilathi Nyathi is undoubtedly not alone in his feelings about being let down by future generations; according to the UN, young people are mobilizing across the world with an unmistakable message:
“the older generation has failed, and it is the young who will pay in full — with their very futures.”
In fact, a recent study by SSRN surveyed 10,000 young people aged 16-25 years across ten different countries to learn how they felt about climate change. We went through the report to see what countries had been involved in the survey. We were pleased to see there was a mix of developed and underdeveloped countries, with representatives from the UK, Finland, France, the USA, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Nigeria.
The results were, not perhaps surprising, but give us another insight into what is now a global phenomenon of young people worrying about their future: close to 60% said that they felt “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change, and over 50% of respondents said that they had felt afraid, sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and/or guilty. Eco-anxiety can significantly impact young people’s mental health, and the consequences of this are really only starting to be recognized.
One of the things we love about Ted Talks is the way that they make us stop and think about something in a completely different way. That’s why we particularly enjoyed Lana Mazahreh’s 3 thoughtful ways to conserve water.
The talk starts by referencing the March 2017 crisis in Cape Town, where a local disaster was declared when the city found itself with less than four months left of usable water. At the time, residents were restricted to less than 100 liters per day and had to learn how to adapt less quickly.
Having to ration water in this way is a foreign concept for many of us in developed countries, and yet this is an issue that many more countries will, and indeed are, facing in the future. In fact, Mazahreh says that every country in the world has less water today than 20 years ago.
Coming from a water-poor country herself, Mazahreh shares ideas that come from her upbringing to save water, elaborating on each point with some really useful, actionable tips:
We thought the idea of drinking recycled water was particularly interesting. Namibia has been drinking recycled water since the 1960s, which isn’t all that common because many have an issue with the idea of drinking the same water that was once flushed down the toilet.
Of course, you can understand the reservations, but is it a good enough reason not to explore this option further? Perhaps it comes down to education and learning more about the process to help people understand that this could be a hygienic, alternative option. Given the way we are headed, the question is, will we all be drinking recycled water in the future?
The thing with trying to encourage people to save water is that until a crisis point is reached, it’s not a priority for many. Yet it’s something that we should all be concerned about. Some of the world’s biggest companies are increasingly worried about water scarcity. In June last year, Barclays said that water scarcity was “the most important environmental concern” for the global consumer staples sector.
Even as we type, the weather is doing strange things, Portugal is going through an unusual winter drought, and millions are at risk in the Horn of Africa as expected rainfalls haven’t happened.
As we explored more about the impending water crisis for this piece, it wasn’t too long before we came across some great people doing some great things on the front line. That’s the one positive thing that comes out of a crisis, and there’s always someone out there trying to fix things.
This particular group of people includes Carolina Vilches, a Chilean who founded the Office of Water Affairs of Petorca and has now been elected to the Constitutional Convention. She continues to fight for people’s fundamental rights to water. Vilches sees the solution in infrastructure, where “clear rules and a coordinated strategy involving more dams, desalination plants, recycling and modern irrigation” are going to be essential if Chile (and many other countries) want to protect themselves from future water shortages.
Sam produces our regular #TRVSTLOVES where she seeks out inspiration, news, and ideas from across the globe that both highlight and celebrate how actions can make for social and environmental change.
Sam is passionate about seeking out small businesses that are implementing remarkable and exciting projects to tackle the climate crisis; she enjoys exploring how their innovation will help change the future of our world.
A degree in English Literature from the University of Southampton has given Sam the research expertise to share and contextualize stories around innovative projects, legislation, and changemakers.