About Global Solidarity Challenge
Welcome to VIDEA’s 8th Global Solidarity Challenge!!
Are you ready for a challenge; one that will test your resilience, compassion, community networks and vigour? VIDEA is about to put your skills to the test through our annual fundraising event, the
Global Solidarity Challenge: Consumer Edition!
Did you know that the average person today consumes almost twice as much as they did 50 years ago? At this rate, where will we be in another 50 years?
We live in a society that promotes buying more and living large, but what will that ultimately cost, and who will have to pay the price? Between consuming the second highest amount of water in the developed world, depending on a precarious food system, purchasing new electronics before the old ones have the chance to die, participating in a deadly cycle of fast fashion and using more than our fair share of non-renewable energy to sustain our lifestyles - it’s time to take a good look at our consumer choices, the systems which sustain unfair and unsustainable processes, and ultimately, how we can contribute to a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.
Excessive lifestyles in the developed world are contributing to growing inequality and disparity amongst developed and developing nations.
This year, we want to prove that we can cut back. Let’s promote mindful practices, engage in important conversations with our communities and politicians, and rise to the challenge of raising funds for VIDEA!
Are you up to the challenge?
It is time for GSC 2017: Consumer Edition! We are dividing into five teams centered around over-consumption. That’s right! We are talking about team –
Aqua Action- Cutting back on water consumption and water pollution!
Food Fighters- Realizing the right to food and supporting sustainable food systems!
E-Waste Watchers- Taking care of our electronics and holding our government responsible for their proper disposal!
Trend Defiers- Defying social shopping norms and raising awareness about labor rights!
Power Rangers- Saving energy and pushing MPs to curb our dependence on fossil fuels!
For one week, we will demonstrate just what standing in solidarity can look like. It’s time to ask the tough questions about our own purchasing patterns, who is making our goods and what the real cost is for the environment and for citizens all over the world.
Each team will use the Global Solidarity Week to show solidarity in their own unique way and to raise funds to help support VIDEA’s education, gender, and poverty reduction programmes in Canada and overseas. Learn more about these programs at the bottom of this page, or check out VIDEA’s website for more details!
Are you in? Want to join? It’s easy – just follow these steps!
Step 1: Sign up and join a team! Follow the ‘Register’ link and join the team of your choice - choose wisely!
Step 2: Choose your challenge! The challenges are organized by team, but you can do whichever challenge you want! Here are a few ideas to get you started but feel free to be creative and come up with your own as well!
Team Aqua Action
- Walk to a public water source each day for the water that you will wash in. The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6km. This takes time! Because girls are walking long distances to get water, they are missing school or dropping out altogether. Public water in Canada is usually not safe to drink, so be sure to boil this water when you get home and only use it for washing in!
- Limit water consumption to 10L/day this includes eating, drinking, and hygiene! Canadians currently use an average of 329 litres of water per person, per day — second only to the United States in developed countries, and more than twice as much as Europeans. In rural Ethiopia, people use on average around 5 -10 litres a day per person, largely because their access to this fundamental resource is highly restricted.
- Don't use hot water unless you boil it yourself. To add on this, don’t drink any water unless you boil it first. 663 million people around the world don’t have access to a source of clean drinking water.
- Shower with cold water and limited time. Turn the water off in between shower activities. Switch your shower head off while you’re letting your conditioner sink in, while you’re shaving, etc. so that even if you can’t cut down on actual shower time, you use less water. The average shower has a flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.
- Don’t use any products (including plastics, chemicals and lots of others) that pollute water and harm aquatic creatures. Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the ocean, and that amount is increasing exponentially. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, plastic debris kills an estimate of 100,000 marine mammals annually, as well as millions of birds and fishes.
Team Food Fighters
- Live off of $1.25 a day - nearly 1/2 of the world’s population, more than 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
- Eat one food (a staple) for the whole week - more than half of the world’s food energy comes from a limited number of varieties of three “mega-crops”: rice, wheat, and maize. These three staple foods represent the primary form of sustenance for many families worldwide.
- Only eat non-perishable foods - Each month, over 850,000 people turn to food banks for help in Canada. More than one-third of these people are children and youth!
- Practice the 100 mile diet for a week – Our present industrialized food system requires food to be transported long distances and as a result, can cause everyday people to have large carbon foot prints. Buying locally grown produce strengthens your community by investing your food dollar close to home. The 100 mile diet allows participants to challenge themselves by only eating food that is produced locally within a 100 mile radius.
- Create zero food waste. Canadians waste $31 billion worth of food every year, and 47% of that is wasted at home! In North America, over 30% of fruits and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they aren’t attractive enough for consumers. Or you can go all out and do the Zero Waste Challenge! Recycle, reuse, compost, and reduce consumption in an attempt to limit waste to 5L in a week, or none at all if you really want to challenge yourself! – In 2012, the world generated 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage; the weight of roughly 7,000 Empire State Buildings.
Team E-Waste Watchers
- Auction off old electronics/donate them. More than 140,000 tons of e-waste ends up in Canadian landfills each year. The average lifespan for computers and phones in developed countries is two years because technology is evolving so quickly, but that doesn’t mean those electronics are broken. Donating them to local charities gives electronics a second life and allows individuals and non-profits access to technology.
- Photo challenge: collect all of the electronics in your house and photograph them. Post the photos online and make a digital map of where your electronics came from. From the factory workers in China who work 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week, for $360 a month, to the miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo making $1-$2 for 12 hours of work. Finding out exactly where your electronics came from may be difficult because the Canadian government doesn't require every company working abroad to be transparent.
- Don’t read or write for a week to stand in solidarity with children who are forced to work instead of going to school. The UN estimates that 168 million children are being put to work globally, and about 40,000 of them work in the Democratic Republic of Congo's cobalt mines. They get paid less than $2 for working up to 24 hours underground. They are also subjected to unsafe work conditions; with exposure to cobalt dust leading to permanent lung damage. Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries, which can be found in big companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony.
- Get X # of people to commit to not replace their phones/electronics until broken (instead of upgrades) or buy used. Canada produced 14.3 million tons of e-waste in 2012. About 25% of that is collected for recycling, or so we are led to believe. In reality, 50%-80% of the e-waste we recycle ends up getting exported to developing countries, where unsafe methods are used to take apart the e-waste, often releasing toxic fumes, harming the people and the environment.
- Go to/use a ‘fix it’ café. Try to fix broken appliances in your home. A study found that a cell phone is broken every two seconds in the U.S., 30% of cell phone owners will damage their phone in the next twelve months, and that 10% are currently using a phone with a cracked or damaged screen. Instead of replacing your phone when it breaks, try and fit it. If you live in Victoria, go to the Repair Café. They fix clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, toys, bicycles, etc.
Team Trend Defiers
- Live in silence for a predetermined amount of time – The global fashion industry employs over 25 million workers in 100 countries. The reality of this industry is that many employees are subjected to poor work conditions, in Bangkok, subcontracted workers make $1 per hour, and they have no health care or contracts to hold their employers to. Stand in solidarity by living in silence with workers who are denied access to basic human rights!
- Donate an article of clothing for every $x raised. Donating clothes to thrift stores instead of throwing them out provides low-income shoppers with access to affordable clothing.
- Wear the same outfit all week. Societal norms and habits influence our decisions to purchase items. Clothing brands constantly change styles and trying to keep up with what’s “in” is near impossible. Ignore societal pressure and wear the same outfit every day for one week. At first you may feel weird, but without having to make the decision of what to wear every day, you can focus on more important things. It’s liberating!
- Shopping Fast - don’t buy anything new for a month. Fast fashion brands like H&M and Forever21 are dependent on consumers’ desire for new clothing to wear. The average American throws away over 68 pounds of textiles per year. This is not clothing being donated to charity shops or sold to consignment stores, that 68 pounds of clothing is going directly into landfills. And because most of our clothing today is made with synthetic, petroleum-based fibers, it will take decades for these garments to decompose.
- Make a commitment that when you buy one thing, something else must be given away... self-analysis for “Do I REALLY need that?” 85% of clothing ends up in the landfill. Canada produces enough textile waste to create a mountain almost as big as the Eiffel Tower. Participate in “Swap and Shop’s” or clothing swaps with friends to get new, slightly used clothes, without buying more. And when you do buy something new, make sure it’s going to last. Make sure to donate any clothing you don’t want anymore!
Team Power Rangers
- No electricity! – Electricity is produced mostly by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gasoline, and natural gas). This creates CO2 and other greenhouse gases, causing global temperatures to rise, they destabilize the climate, and put our health and the health of global ecosystems at risk! Turning off your electricity costs nothing and takes minimal effort, and you save money and energy!
- Turn off the light switch for a whole week (only natural light allowed). If using no electricity at all seems like too much of a challenge for you, just try going without any lights for the week. Stand in solidarity with the 1.2 billion people around the world who go without electricity.
- No dishwasher, laundry machine, or electrical appliances for one week. Many women can spend at least 4.5-6 hours a day doing household chores. With all this time spent cleaning and cooking, women miss out on their education and have less time for paid work. If they had access to electricity and better technology, the time spent doing chores would be significantly reduced.
- Letters to MPs to push for broader structural shifts (curb industrial use of energy/reliance on fossil fuels). Burning fossil fuels releases CO2, a gas that contributes to climate change. The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric CO2 levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. But now more than ever, we have access to renewable energy such as hydro, solar power, wind power, etc. These resources are more sustainable and we need to show our government that we want Canada to lead in the shift towards using more renewable energy resources.
- Track how much time you spend online/using electronics every day (checking phone, work, email, tv…). The ICT system, which includes smartphones, laptops, and digital TVs, uses 1,500 terawatt-hours of power per year. That’s about 10% of the world’s total electricity, the same amount that was used to light the planet in 1985.
Step 3: Congratulations! You are all set up. Your team leader will be in touch with you in the next couple of days to go over next steps - don’t worry, nothing too scary!
Step 4: Is there a prize for all of this hard work? Absolutely! You could win an opportunity to visit one of VIDEA's projects in south or east Africa! Once we have met our goal of $20,000, this amazing prize kicks in! After this point, for every $150 that you have raised we will enter your name in a draw to win this trip! PLUS, as a bonus, you can nominate another GSC participant, who has raised $150 or above themselves, to be entered into the draw at the end of the week; so each time you raise $150 you not only put yourself in the running for this free and incredible trip, but you also nominate somebody else who has demonstrated excellent GSC stamina!
The winner of the 2017 Global Solidarity Challenge will have the opportunity to see firsthand one of VIDEAs projects and learn just how important strong human rights work truly is! We guarantee that this experience will be eye opening and will help you to share what you have learned back home in Canada as well. What better way to do that then acting as a challenge leader in 2018?
- This prize kicks in after we meet the collective goal of $20,000;
- The trip will be taken at a time that VIDEA staff are in the focus country and able to facilitate the winner;
- The trip must be completed within 1 year, and before the start of the GSC 2018;
In order to qualify for the coveted trip, winners must meet the following criteria at the time of travel:
- Have been active participants in the Challenge in 2017, and must have raised a minimum of $150;
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Be in good health;
- Committed to sharing their experiences by participating as a team leader in the 2018 Global Solidarity Challenge;
The prize includes:
- Return flights to the project area;
- In country road travel with VIDEA staff to projects;
- In country hostel and village-style accommodation;
Does not include:
- Anything not listed above, including: Vaccinations, medications or health insurance;
- Travel insurance;
- Spending money;
Huge thanks to Raptim Humanitarian Travel for once again sponsoring the flights for our 2017 GSC winner! Your ongoing support makes a huge difference!
So, why is solidarity important? The Global Solidarity Challenge allows VIDEA to continue to support development projects like these ones:
- Shared Wisdom: Raised Voices - 8 youth leaders from Lil'wat Nation, Maskwacis, Whitehorse and Victoria are engaged in a two year leadership project with the aim of strengthening local and global communities and providing youth with the opportunity to be leaders in addressing violence against women and girls in their home communities through building their capacity and leadership skills;
- Youth Internship Programmes – throughout 2015/2016 VIDEA has provided 40 opportunities for young people to take part in the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP), and 20 opportunities for young Aboriginal youth to take part in the International Aboriginal Youth Internship programme, providing support and solidarity to overseas partners in Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and South Africa;
- Public engagement – every year VIDEA delivers a range of public engagement projects across BC that help community members to better understand global issues and to figure out how to make a difference. Through activities during International Development Week, supporting Aboriginal initiatives, the Fair Trade Fair, and many more, thousands of Canadians gain the opportunity to volunteer, take part, learn more, and become more active global citizens;
- Education – VIDEA has delivered a vibrant education programme for over 35 years! Every year VIDEA provides opportunities for students and youth to learn about global issues through the development of new resources and learning opportunities. We provide mentorship and opportunities for volunteers, interns and practicum students to gain the experience they need to pursue careers in international development and social justice areas, and support to teachers and educators looking to integrate global issues into their learning experience;
- Indigenous Knowledge – through this innovative programme Indigenous youth, Elders, and community members in Canada and in the south and east African countries that we work in are connected and better able to address the issues that they face in solidarity and by sharing knowledge passed down and reclaimed;