27 January 2021

Grab a couple of handfuls of engaged citizens involved in global education. Sprinkle a little account of mapping of Danish GCE and SDG activities in. Add a spicy skilled sustainability consultant. Pour a lot of coffee and dash it with smiles, cookies and a touch of salty caramel.  Then you get a meeting about target 4.7 and how to create social change.

The participants came from many different fields. Evidently, most were from organisations either working directly with GCE or interested in learning more. Then there were participants from different municipalities in Denmark. The communes have increasingly begun to think about how to engage their citizens in the SDGs. There was a participant from an alternative bank. She was pondering how to use the SDGs in their bank when it seemed that they already were doing everything right. From the Danish Ministry of Education, we had the officer that is supposed to handle the SDGs and the 4.7 policies. We had some from a green thinktank and some researchers. We were missing more teachers, educators and teacher trainers.

The meeting began with Thomas Kamp telling about the snapshot mapping of 4.7 and SDG activities in Denmark. Most of the activities are done by organisations and happen in primary and secondary schools. Think tanks are also active in GCE. Chora2030 has recently developed SDG-certifications for schools, and CONCITO has developed educational material for adult learners as well as a network for municipalities.

College education has begun noticing the SDGs. They are doing thematic teaching on the goals as well as specific conferences. The Royal School for Art and Architecture demands that the final exam is related to sustainability. And it is now possible to do a full set of A-levels in sustainability, internationalization, technology and ethics. Several museums and various galleries have had focus on the SDGs targeted both children and adults.

The focus on the SDGs has reached the parliament where there is an SDG network across party lines. However, there is a tendency for policies to work a little slower than companies in Denmark. The private companies have long ago realized that SDGs sell well. Some of the major ones like Tuborg, Novo Nordisk and Grundfos are pushing the development towards more sustainability in business (we are not sure if it will actually achieve anything).

Kate Power is a consultant in sustainable development and consumption. Kate told us that the amount of renewable energy is infinitesimal compared to oil, gas and coal. She showed us vividly how low we had to go in order to remain within the Paris agreement for CO2 emissions and how large the difference between rich and poor countries is. She then continued to talk about how not all behaviours have an environmental impact. And that if we measure our behaviour through a happiness measure, sex, socializing, relaxing and praying or meditating comes up as the top 4 enjoyable activities.

We continued with a very interactive workshop where our own contributions to a more sustainable lifestyle were at play. Groups were formed and long discussions took place. In our conclusion we understood that as consumers in our households we actually have a lot to offer. Households stand for around 27 % of the emissions, so any change here is also quite necessary.

Kate told us about the “Overton window". It is the range of ideas tolerated in public discourse, also known as the window of discourse. It is a spectrum of ideas that are more or less politically acceptable. The window of discourse moves within these ideas.

We are more powerful as individuals than we think. We can influence each other and make new trends. Norm “entrepreneurs” are already creating change e.g. the many vegans that are appearing these years, or the people who refuse to fly for recreational purposes.

And the change? Well, Kate Power ended the meeting with stating that she wanted a full transformation of our relationships and our responsibility towards each other and the nature.

About the Author

Sonja Salminen

Position: National Officer - Denmark
Phone number: +45 60 58 20 78

Sonja is the national officer of MUNDU, based in Denmark. She is a member of both the Partnerships and Innovation Teams.

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