The following engaged travelers have ‘adopted’ one or more school classes in the framework of the Choose Your Own Sustainability Adventure project, which follow and regularly co-design their sustainability adventures, cultural exchanges and travel experiences!
Milo (student) and Serafin (project manager / speaker) have been traveling with each other since they were small. Sweating on the way to Tuscany on the backseat of the parental Suzuki, or seasick on the coast of Albania on a rocking boat. Somehow it was always clear: the day will come, when they embark on the big brother trip. A journey for two. A journey with time. A journey into the unknown. The cooperation with Forum ViA pushed them to go even further. Two school classes joined them virtually on their trip. They give input, ask questions and help them out when it comes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The SDGs are our common theoretic reference framework. And so we have become the SDG Brothers ? – at least for the 3 months in South America. Let’s go – Vámonos! “
Their motivation for participation in the project:
“In Argentina, Chile, Bolivia (tbd) and Peru we are looking for sustainable projects, initiatives and life style models that inspire alternative ways forward: hand in hand with the four dimensions of sustainability: social, cultural, ecological and economic! We want to document the existing manifold forms of possible solutions, and thus build a kind of future catalog full of optimism and creativity for resilient and regenerative individuals and communities. For us, the partner school classes and all who are interested and want to join us virtually on the sustainability adventure!” (@sustainabilityadventure)
Bernd & Nessa are currently on the road with their bikes “Holy Cow” and “Rosalinde”. They started in front of their home and went southwards towards Greece. This is where they met as volunteers in an environmental NGO and learned to share the passion for engaging for a better planet. They want to stand up against unethical ressource depletion, racism, injustice, climate change and discrimination. Being aware about the challenges to live our daily lives in a social and environmentally concious way, they appreciate collaborating with school classes to increase awareness about these topics.
Their motivation to take part in the sustainability adventure:
“As SDG Reporters we will be telling stories of encounters along our journey that give a concrete meaning to the important concepts of human rights and the circular economy. We will collaborate with students in order to share our experiences and ideas on the topic with the goal of enhancing all our perspectives.”
Julia & José met while traveling in Chile and experienced so many amazing things that they decided they wanted to share with even more people! José is a graphic designer from Chile and wants to use his audio-visual and web design skills to contribute to positive change in the world. Julia is a teacher for geography, economics and Spanish and wants to bring global challenges as seen through the lives of others into the classroom and work together with students on solutions. They have been SDG Reporters since October 2017 and collaborate with a school class in Germany. They will continue to travel until mid-December in Ecuador and Colombia, on the lookout for more “Sustainability Adventures”!
Why they want to take part in the project:
“As SDG Reporters we want to work with students, because we strongly believe that education (for sustainable development) is the foundation for all change. We want to show people that their future is in their own hands. That through small changes in our own lifestyle we can do something good for ourselves, our community and our environment. In a time where the whole world is connected, we want to use educational materials that talk about issues that affect us all. We want to use social networks and media to engage with as many people as possible about societally relevant topics related to sustainability and in doing so demonstrate just how relevant these issues are!”
Clara (editor) & Seraphin (chef, confectioner) are planning on traveling for five months through India, Southeast Asia and Japan. In their daily lives in Austria they try to live in an environmentally aware and sustainable way. That is also a reason why they decided to join up with ViA as volunteers: Since January 2016 they are working as SDG Reporters with a school class from the Bundesrealgymnasium Ringstraße in Krems, Austria; solving sustainability challenges and learning globally together.
Why they want to take part in the project:
“We decided to travel to see new things, to hone our senses, and to reflect on our lifestyle. Since we don’t (just) like to vacation on the beach and do like to challenge ourselves from time to time, we were happy to accept the assignment as SDG Reporters. We don’t just want to relax under palm trees on Indian beaches, but would also like to sweat on organic tea plantations and experience firsthand how sustainability is implemented in other parts of the world. That was already a topic in Austria – we take care in how we live, make sure that we use resources sparingly, and treat people and the environment well – and that will remain the same on our journey. The idea to share our experiences with students is fantastic. And we can develop ourselves further through the challenges as well and gain new perspectives and information from the students.“
Irene began a Master’s Program in Human Rights last year in Vienna. Over the course of the her studies she will intern with a women’s rights organization in Malaysia. However, she didn’t want to fly there and miss seeing everything along the way. For that reason she decided to travel by land from Vienna to Kuala Lumpur. And since environmental protection is important to her, she’s determined to not buy plastic bottles and will purify her drinking water with a UV water purifier. Her partner class at the GRG12 Rosasgasse High School in Vienna will be on break during her two months of travel, but connected with her via WhatsApp. Starting in the fall she will share her experiences in Malaysia with the history class of Isabella Grünbeck.
Why she wants to take part in the project:
Since education, women’s rights, and travel are my big passions, I decided to travel as a SDG Reporter. The students in my partner school class are extremely interested and interesting individuals. We will focus mostly on social sustainability and want to learn more together about human rights, women’s rights and women’s history in the different countries I will be traveling through. Together we want to get to know as many projects and organizations as possible in the those countries. The more we know about each other and the more we learn about each other, the sooner we can live in a peaceful, balanced society. And for me that is the foundation for a sustainable life in tune with nature.
Hannah & Mathis began their trip on 5 December 2014 and will travel around the world until around November 2015. Their journey will take them from Thailand to Myanmar and through India to Nepal by land. After that they hope (but it’s not set in stone) to continue to the Philippines, New Zealand, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia. For their trip they have adopted the class of Stefan Hilpert from the Montessori school in Essing, Germany.
Why they want to take part in the project:
You often gain new insights into social and environmental problems while traveling and if you could you would like to immediately do something about them, but the question is how? Our motivation to participate in the project is to above all make a small personal contribution towards making the planet more sustainable and keeping it healthy for future generations. One of the things that we really like about the Sustainability Adventure is its positive approach that aims to discover already existing initiatives and to sensitize younger generations for critical issues. Besides, if we already have the chance to travel for one year, we would like to not just collect great impressions, but also share them and contribute something positive in doing so. At the same time, by participating we hope to gain new insights and perspectives for ourselves and thereby broaden our own horizons. We feel that the project influences how you travel and that will definitely teach you something as well.
Matt & Valentina launched Forum ViA and the Choose Your Own Sustainability Adventure. Their flight-free journey around the world began in September 2013 at one of their partner schools (Harrison Preparatory School) in Washington State. Over the course of the first school year they traveled south by land and sea to Colombia, South America. There they took a container ship back to Europe and successfully wrapped up the pilot school year with their two Austrian partner schools (HLTW13 and Neue Mittelschule Retz). Their travels continue in the 2014/2015 school year, this time with two American partner schools (Harrison Preparatory School and Sumner High School) and one Austrian partner school (HLTW13), and will take them by land from Europe through Russia, Mongolia, and China to Southeast Asia. In May 2015 they will take a container ship from Shanghai to Seattle, so that they can finish the second year of the Sustainability Adventure with their two American partner schools.
Why they launched the project:
We’re convinced that traveling is a great way to educate yourself, broaden your horizons, and get connected with other people. We’ve always thought it was a pity that travel isn’t used more in school lesson plans or in the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development, so we came up with the idea for the “Choose Your Own Sustainability Adventure” project. Thanks to new media and a world that is so connected through the internet, not everyone has to always travel his or herself in order to learn from the experience. Now we can share our experiences and impressions from around the entire world and use them for collaborative and interactive learning. “Choose Your Own Sustainability Adventure” is a fun way for travelers like us to work with students at home to not just research and discuss diverse topics relating to sustainability, but also learn something about different places and cultures. Through the project we hope to make a small contribution towards creating more responsible global citizens!