“A Conversation on Global Change,” hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, discussed the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with experts on clean energy, marine life, human rights and gender equality.
The March 7 IDays keynote explored the SDGs and how they will impact our global future. The other keynote speakers who joined Stroumboulopoulos on stage were Fabien Cousteau, an aquanaut, ocean conservationist and documentary filmmaker; Kim Katrin Milan, a writer, multidisciplinary artist, activist, consultant and educator; and Tom Rand, a Canadian climate change expert and clean technology venture capitalist.
As one of the major events of TRU’s International Days week-long celebration, the Conversation on Global Change addressed five SDGs. With the help of the audience members using an online voting/questioning system, the keynote panel discussed zero hunger, affordable and clean energy, reduced inequalities, life below water and partnership for the goals.
Cousteau spoke with The Omega to share his perspective from below the water. The grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau described a situation he witnessed earlier in his day when he ordered a drink with his lunch.
“I ordered an iced tea. It comes with a straw in it. I don’t ever use the straw. If the straw does not end up in a landfill, or recycling which hopefully it does, inevitably it goes into the waste system and out into the ocean,” Cousteau said.
“This is an issue because it is something simple that we can retrain ourselves to think about. We are in this consumer mentality, where when we say ‘throw away.’ There is no such thing as away. [Earth] is a closed loop system. If it is out-of-sight, it is in someone else’s backyard.”
“The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals can not exist in isolation. Nothing in isolation will be effective enough,” said Stroumboulopoulos in an interview with The Omega.
When asked what he would want people to take away from this event, Stroumboulopoulos said, “I think you need to look at what your reality is. Not everyone is in the same situation. Some people are more privileged than others.”
“I would prefer people to think responsibly and not just think about themselves. Everyone should do the little things until we get to a place where we can do big things,” Stroumboulopoulos said.
“Having an event like this is really important. We all learned from each other, that maybe change is incremental and we are still in the early stages of change.”