Sustainability Sunday

GS Paramaribo Hub organised a scavenger hunt, aiming to rally the general public and raise awareness about sustainability. The activity was organized on the last day of a local annual fair, which was this year a combination of a showcase/promotion of local products and GEF-Small Grants Programme’s Environment Fair.  It was a creatively designed initiative where the Global Shapers of Paramaribo Hub set up a booth at an agricultural fair, with support from SGP, and designed questions to create a fun way of educating the people attending the fair on sustainability practices. Questions such as; ‘biological methods’ (basil) versus pesticides to keep away insects from crops/plants, gender, use of mercury in the mining sector and consequences for food safety (namely in fish), promoting local products on the market, protecting wildlife, sustainable actions.

As many organizations, associations and entrepreneurs from different sectors were present, the scavenger hunt brought participants to several booths to visualize or bring in a realistic context certain aspects of sustainable development. For example approaches to organic farming, gender, use of mercury in gold mining in relation to consumption of fish and food safety, protecting wild life, promoting local products, identifying sustainable actions.

The scavenger hunt ended with a small demo on ‘urban farming’ and willing participants taking pictures with their commitments for sustainable actions for our social media channels. The scavenger hunt was aimed at youth and grown-ups alike, while the urban farming demo was popular for all age groups. We specifically targeted the general public or ‘common woman/man’, who is the main visitor of this fair. Following the Shaping Davos discussion in January with experts and young professionals, the Hub wanted to engage with the general public in simple terms on the topic of integrating sustainability into daily life.

Overall, there were 35 participants and the event was well received with everyone appreciating the creative way to educate people. The urban farming demo, for which the Hub partnered with the local association ‘Suriname Agricultural Forum for Youth’, was quite popular, which also attracted more people to our booth where the Shapers started some casual conversations about the purpose and sustainability and also get these people who did not participate in the scavenger hunt to commit to simple sustainable actions. There were also people who did not participate in the game, but did join in the demo and commit to sustainable actions.

The Hub also created an online poll, which is still in progress. The results are expected within a week.

The participants ranging from +/- 10yrs old to middle-age, who, based on the setting of the fair have identified sustainability aspects such as plastic recycling, reuse, organic agriculture, using locally produced, natural products (in this case soaps), supporting community livelihoods, sustainable soil management, and protecting biodiversity.

They have also committed themselves to sustainable actions, mainly: -gardening/planting,

– recycling,

– taking shorter showers,

– closing the tap while brushing teeth,

– buying more locally produced products,

– buying pesticide-free vegetables,

– using energy-saving light bulbs,

– using their own bags instead of plastic bag when doing groceries,

– and being an example in treating people fair/equal regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, culture, religion or ethnicity.

According to participants some of the thresholds for implementing some of these actions are: lack of time, indolence, lack of a supporting/encouraging environment, in some cases the necessity to collaborate, which is not always easy and finally that there is need for a mind shift/change in people’s attitudes.

Those who participated in either the game or the demo, or both, could learn about the different aspects of sustainable development. Additionally they were prompted to think about the importance of their own contribution, and the possible thresholds that they might have to overcome and/or that are reasons why others are not able or willing to contribute.