How to pull off a climate change challenge
Changing your behavior doesn’t happen overnight, but can it be done during 30 days? Students at CEMUS’ course Global Challenges and Sustainable Futures was challenged to change their habits and embrace a sustainable lifestyle during one month – these are their experiences of The 30 Days Challenge:
1. What did you think about The 30 Days Challenge?
2. How challenging was the challenge?
3. Did you try to continue the habit? If so, how is it going?
1. It motivated me because I wanted to make a change in my life. We’re always talking about global warming and that the world needs to think about how we’re warming up the planet but we don’t really feel like doing anything about it. So I thought that I could at least change my life for 30 days.
2. I only used my bike for transportation during the thirty days. First I thought it would be a challenge, but here in Uppsala everything’s really laid out for using the bike such as bike lanes and parking space for bikes. The biggest challenge was actually the rain. I thought the snow was going to be worse but with the rain you quickly get completely soaked.
3. I’m now back in my home town Madrid and I continue using the bike, unfortunately not as often as in Uppsala. Some areas of the city are not properly adapted to bikes. Here in Madrid I use the bike more for sports than as a transportation method, since the traffic load in Madrid is way bigger than in Uppsala. But whenever I have a chance I choose the bike.
1. What change did you make for 30 days?
2. What was the biggest challenge during this month?
3. Have you tried to continue with the habit? If so, how is it going?
1. I only ate vegetarian food for 30 days
2. People were much more skeptical over my vegetarian life style than I had imagined. They could say things like "what will you eat if you come to my house for dinner, I’m eating meat", or "you won't get adequate nutrition". I had quite a lot of substitutes such as quorn and oumph (Ed.note: mushroom and soy protein), it was easiest when having meals with people preferring meat such as my family.
3. Well, I have meat occasionally. Although I noticed when I started eating meat again, my skin got worse with pimples and redness. Meat that has been treated and preserved in different ways feels unhealthy, and really not worth eating. If everyone would eat vegetarian 3-4 days a week, it would have just as much impact as if only a few went completely vegetarian. After all, it's not that much of a change, just do it.
1. What was your climate change challenge about?
2. Did you find the assignment difficult?
3. What do you take away from The 30 Days Challenge?
1. My project was about writing a journal about environmental issues. I wrote mainly about Gross National Happiness, GNH. It’s a concept used in my home country of Bhutan where we, unlike other countries, measure the development of our country by gross national happiness rather than gross national product. We believe that GNH is more important than GDP. Why? Because we believe that true development takes place when there’s a balance between the spiritual development of people and the economic development of the country. We protect our environment and preserve and conserve our culture and traditions, all under the frame of good governance.
2. I have never been interested in writing. Also, I don’t have much knowledge about environmental issues. My background is civil engineering, which I studied in Bhutan. I’m always procrastinating things, and having to write every day was a difficult task I would say. But in my project I wrote something every day.
3. I learnt a lot about the environment and topics I’ve never heard about before. I also hope I have improved my speaking and writing skills.
The course is also featured in a new book, see chapter “Back from the Future We Want: backcasting as a pedagogical practice towards sustainable futures”