Reflection & Celebration: Green Action Week 2020

At the end of November 2020, Green Action Week participants from all corners of the world gathered online to celebrate, reflect, and learn from an unprecedented year in this campaign to tackle unsustainable consumption.

We asked ourselves three questions:

What was a memorable moment from your
Green Action Week 2020?

“Sharing videos between people how their plants grow”

“smallholder’s involvement in this year’s GAW amidst covid-19”

“A burst of tears from a waste workers family”

“All the farmers finally working with us to save rivers after some convincing”

“Conduct the webinar with students and making videos by coordinating online due to covid”

“the Earth Charter clothesline”

“sharing energy saving stoves with the local community”

“up-cycling workshop with kids”

“the local women’s market sold alternatives to plastic bags”

“community sharing with women and girls”

“the enthusiasm from collecting traditional seeds for the future”

“food garden training – really good sessions with Faith Leaders”

“the reaction of participants when they were browsing through our book on pest management”

“releasing guidelines for waste colelction from households”

“interviewing teh communities, sharing stories on our NEW podcast on spotify”

“communicating networking amid pandemic challenge”

“interacting with students on mental health during pandemic”

“church group wanting to join our consumer net”

“People’s Organizations working together and finding ways on how to continue the campaign”

“praise & appreciation for sharing our knowledge in decentralized waste management”

“online food gardening webinar with faith leaders/community representatives”

“working with community groups working on traditional medicines and spices”

“reactivation of a women’s livelihood group sewing reusable masks for workers who can’t afford them”

“when we sensitized market women on simple waste reduction measures at home and the local market”

“seed exchanges and food fest with children, health and nutrition forum in the midst of covid19”

“making paper bags from old newspaper and using kitchen waste as fertilizer”

“happiness on the faces of daily wagers after receiving the sharing pre-loved items”

“from Seeds to the Plate – exchange seeds and seedlings food for vulnerable population”

“first physical meeting yesterday for sharing community after 7 months of lockdown shut down”

What can we learn from
how we adapted to covid-19?

Priorities: The first and foremost priority was to keep staff, volunteers, and the public safe. GAW participants made sure that principle came first over any activities that were planned – can we ensure we always have this level of safeguarding vigilence? It also reminded us to understand that our audiences have a ‘heirarchy of needs’. If people do not have food it is hard to convince them to care about sustainable consumption –  can we make sure our activities are connected to the reality of our community’s situation?

Accessibility: All participants mentioned finding innovative ways to include communities despite social distancing – some reflected that this had made them think about other ways to make sure their activities were accessible to more audiences, even after the pandemic has passed. 

Technology: A lot of participants said that covid-19 caused them to embark on a ‘crash course’ in technological adaptation such as using social media, video calls, or filming videos. How can this learning be used – and improved – for future activities? What new skills and support might be needed?

Combining remote and physical activities: Most participants said that they had still managed to carry out some kind of physical activities in a safe way, and that these ‘blended activities’ were not just a necessary compromise but actually improved impact.

Participant partnership: This year there was more participant-to-participant exchange than ever before in online webinars, the Facebook page and WhatsApp group. As well as specific initiatives such as advocacy partnerships between organisations in the same country, and exchanges of policy information, there was also moral support and encouragement as participants shared their stories with each other throughout the year, not just on the peak activity week. After having the experience of this pandemic which affected us all and meant we were all spending more time online together than usual – how can we continue supporting each other and making the connections that show that sustainable consumption is a universal cause across nations? 

Emotions and experiences: One participant said that the most ‘”heartwarming” learning was when they realised they were not just sharing knowledge (why and how to make and use reusable face masks) but sharing experiences – the anxiety and stress that everyone was affected by because of the pandemic. The theme of Sharing Community is about strengthening social bonds, not just environmental conservation – can we make sure that we are serving our communities emotional needs too?

How would you describe Green Action Week 2020?

Celebration

Finally, we watched a video montage of (just some of) the many activities and stories captured in this year’s Green Action Week. As we continue to learn and adapt to a very tough year, we have to remember to celebrate the incredible achievements by 50 organisations in 30 countries. 

For more stories of sharing ccommunity responses to this crisis – click here.