By Sonia Toledo, Founder, Dignity of Children
Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2019 Marketplace of the Future event. Dozens of leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs gathered at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in New York City to figure out how we can work together towards a sustainable future.
It was an eye-opening, exciting experience. Here you had a venue full of innovators, inventors, small business entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations working in different areas towards a common goal of sustainability.
I met people who are making sustainable clothing—some with 3d printing technology so that they can put a stop to child labor in third world countries. Others are creating hip, cool jackets for young people—that are recyclable!
I also got to experience indoor gardening. I tried basil grown in an indoor garden. It was just amazing.
So many different ideas are being put forth to figure out how we can shift the way our society operates from one of waste to one of sustainability. And, there are so many ways we can help our young people start thinking about and designing ideas to support the climate.
I’m very honored and proud of Amir Jandali, Founder and CEO of Future Meets Present, for putting this together. This is the first event, and it will be a continuing effort every year. I’m looking forward to having more young people attend in the future.
But, until they can, I did some research for them! I asked a few attendees what they are doing to make a difference for the planet, and how children can contribute to their cause right now.
Here’s that they had to say.
Matt Parker, Collector 003, The OpenAir Collective
Matt founded The OpenAir Collective after discovering Direct Air Carbon Capture (DACC): a technology that removes C02 from the air and stores it in other materials, such as concrete.
“Matt, what would you tell a young person about the work that you’re doing and how they can begin contributing now?”
“We have to educate ourselves about climate change. It’s going to affect all of us, but disproportionately, it’s going to affect young people.
It’s hard for people to want to learn about climate change, because it’s scary, and it can feel inevitable and helpless. But the more you educate yourself, the more you learn about it, the more you can have an impact on it.
Look into different organizations that are fighting climate change. There’s a ton of organizations that are doing great work around fighting climate change. Find one that speaks to you and start contributing to that.”
“What kinds of things can kids do at school and after school if they are interested in a career in technology?”
“Do lots of different things and build up your knowledge. So do music, do art, do math, do science. Try to learn a lot about a lot of different things and have that be how you advance through life. Focus on the things that interest you.”
The OpenAir Collective is a volunteer-based community dedicated to fighting the climate crisis. Want to get involved? Join the OpenAir Collective now.
Sheldyn Nicholson, Designer, Dhana Circular Fashion Collection
Dhana is a sustainable fashion brand. Beginning this October, Dhana is launching a new product: a circular jacket (meaning that all materials used to make it are recycled). And, at the end of its lifecycle the jacket can be returned to Dhana and made into new clothes.
“What is the one thing that you would like to tell young people about your mission?”
“Think about what you’re doing and the things that you purchase. All of your actions have an impact on the world. So, making good decisions is always going to help everybody in the long run.”
“What advice would you give a young person about being responsible for the earth?’
“I would say the first step is just wanting to. As long as you have the desire to do something, any decision you make is going to help. You vote with your dollar, so spend your money on good things, and that’s what you’re going to have in the future.”
Start voting with your dollar. Find out more about sustainable clothing and the World’s First Circular Jacket now.
Wendy Hapgood, Co-founder and COO, Wild Tomorrow Fund
Wild Tomorrow Fund is a wildlife conservation organization that saves wildlife and wild places.
“What would you say to a young person about how they can begin to make a difference now for wildlife?”
“I have a cute story for you. We had an intern who was at a high school, and she interned with us a few days a week and then the other two days she was at summer job looking after kindergarteners.
She came out with us and met elephants, so she told the kids all about it. And they decided to help raise money. Together they made slime and sold the slime to other kids. They raised $450, which is enough to buy a zebra. So there’s zebra coming in next month and one of them will be named by the kindergarteners. Because of them, now there’s a zebra that’s going to be free in a safe place.
“Kindergarteners! That’s incredible.”
“Kindergarteners raised $450. It is incredible. The kids at one high school in New York raised enough money to buy a giraffe and zebra. So, our intern actually got to meet the giraffe she played a part in saving, which was pretty cool.”
Wild Tomorrow Fund rescues wild species and habitats in southern Africa. Ready to rescue your own zebra? Click here start now.
There are countless ways to inspire and motivate youth to start designing solutions for a healthier planet. How will you do it?
At Dignity of Children, we hold the health and safety of all in the highest regard. With that said, we are now transitioning all of our programming to an online platform while the world navigates through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While kids are at home, we remind parents that it is important to keep your children stimulated on an emotional, physical and cognitive basis. Over the coming days and weeks, we will be posting mindful activities on our social media pages to help kids continue to learn while also being able to express their feelings. Remember to create a daily routine for your children that will help them remain excited and engaged!
Additionally, we want to encourage educators and afterschool staff members to take advantage of our online programs for professional development. For questions about DOC programming, call us at (646) 639-7711.
Please remember to take care of yourselves, wash your hands, be safe and stay healthy!