Climate Change ripples into all aspects of our lives. It affects everything from rural livelihoods to urban infrastructure. Understanding the magnitude of its existing and potential consequences becomes a gateway to the perception of how urgent this crisis has now become. Only after this transparency is globally achieved can we hold ourselves accountable- as individuals, seeing the repercussions of past actions and acting on them, refusing a state of eschewing passivity. It is a crisis caused, preventable and repairable by humans. Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) doesn’t have to instill a notion of sacrifice, or cumbersome work.

Opening Ceremony and Introduction by the SDG Festival Founder

What are We all Doing About it?

The forth annual SGD Festival of Action was held last week in Bonn, Germany, as a post of confluence for groups and figures who already resonate with the aforementioned incentives. It was a crowdsourced festival, further echoing the necessary collective nature of addressing Climate Change in the years to come. The aim was to gather and inspire SDG campaigners and multi-stakeholder partners to expand and broaden global actions that have already begun to move.

As a union of leaders and visionaries who are currently addressing the SDGs with unique initiatives, members of our Barefoot College community participated, including our CEO Meagan Fallone, who presented the current work that our team does on an International and ever-growing basis. Her message was clear: we must call on each other to take a more engaged stance on personal responsibility and stop being passive. If we watch, for instance, a film about sustainability or our current climate crisis, we shouldn’t just let the information sink in only to have it deflate our ambitions.

Meagan, speaking about taking actions toward our individual accountability

Meagan explains in her conversation that she has witnessed first-hand the effects of Climate Change on marginalized regions of the World, especially on women who are already often heavily oppressed in their communities. The urgency to act means understanding that these issues are interconnected globally, despite where we personally live. Putting the power in the hands of these communities serves to protect and preserve an unequivocally delicate balance that has for centuries now been disturbed through human intervention often brought on by Western countries.

What Barefoot Does About it

Marginalized women are often subject to most of the weight of Climate Change, bearing more violence, given unequal opportunities and surviving on poorer diets than male counterparts. That is why empowering and educating rural Women, the link in the chain that suffers greatly and yet accounts for half of the planet, is imperative to promoting lasting, effective change. Watch the video of her explaining systems leadership here.

Our lantern workshop team: Hogan Lovells’ Regan Leahy, Sabine Reimann and Gill McGreevy and Barefoot College’s Lila ji, Bata ji

Other members of our Barefoot College family- and extended family- also visited Bonn to share their knowledge and wisdom, including Bata ji, Sue Stevenson and Lila ji of Barefoot and our Hogan Lovells partners Regan Leahy, Sabine Reimann and Gill McGreevy. Together, they hosted a Solar Lantern Building workshop which assisted participants with lantern assembly, helping them to understand the potential power of providing light to rural, electricity-deprived villages.

Adorned with photographs of some of our latest Solar Mamas, the official stall greeted many curious bystanders throughout the festival. Guests were able to discover our mission and process in training marginalized women from 96 countries worldwide to become Solar Engineers. The workshop itself attracted over 50 attendees, who were eager to learn more about the project and its overall mission. One participant remarked, “I learned that sustainable cooperation with the private sector can accelerate social transformation.”

Lila ji, showing participants the inner workings of the same Solar Lanterns that Solar Mamas will return to their villages with, to provide a source of reliable, clean light

International Action

Addressing SDGs cooperatively stems from innovative solutions that each focus on the various aspects of our lives that exacerbate the damage to the environment. Dreamers and Doers, in this video, stresses the importance of quality education as a way to combat poor stewardship of land and people, while Making Beauty Truly Beautiful, focusing on cruelty-free products, explains how phasing out animal testing and abuse will set us on a better path.

Films addressing our Global SDGs are presented to the audience

Our collaborative film, Flip The Switch was officially selected for a film screening in an assembly of films which address solution-based subjects that people around the World are working toward. Topics including pollution, domestic violence and child labour were discussed adjacent to Barefoot College’s initiative to train last-mile women in becoming Solar Engineers, and how this constructively brightens and transforms people’s lives in villages.

The Closing Ceremony was aptly named Time to Act– concluding that many of us have been fully aware of the effects Climate Change for long enough. The time to discuss the problems is over, as we shift into a new era of solutions-building and regenerative action.

Are we going to hold each of ourselves accountable and step into a brighter future? The time is now.

Anthropocentric Climate Change is in effect. It is all around us and will continue to exacerbate many of the wild fluctuations we have already begun to experience. Fortunately, many of us have begun to engage responsibly with what we are already witnessing. Our increased involvement in congregations where we are prepared to do what is necessary and are searching for positive action provides more than hope- it provides concrete solutions that can assist us globally in reducing our impact and regenerating our ecosystems.

Bata ji and Lila ji stole the spotlight at the SDG Festival of Action