Christmas is coming! That’s also the case here at VISIONEERS. This year we have a very special Advent Calendar, created together with young people from our project "Fair Sewing and Understanding".
The project, funded by Engagement Global, the Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken and Brot für die Welt, aims to promote young people's understanding of sustainable consumption in line with SDG 12 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. More on this topic we’ve reported on here.
And as sustainable consumption also includes the recycling of products, we also dealt with the subject of upcycling in a workshop.
Who cares about garbage anyhow?
In our “throw-away society”, a lot ends up quickly, frequently too fast, in the garbage. The colour is not the preferred one anymore, the sweater does not match current trends any longer, or repairing is much more expensive than buying a new one anyway.
These are things we hear often. But what happens to the things we throw away? What happens in general with the immense garbage piles that we then produce – regionally, but also globally? We dealt with these questions and looked at a variety of footage, mainly short clips, which drew our attention via social networks to our garbage problem. It turned out that many young people are not aware of this problem. In particular, young refugees, who had to concern themselves with protecting their own lives in their home countries, have not so far had an opportunity to deal much with this subject area.
However, adolescents who grew up in Germany were also given more insight into this topic, in particular by visually illustrating the environmental problem caused by our consumer behaviours.
Upcycling - making something new from old
After gaining a theoretical understanding of the topic, we dealt with upcycling. The term ‘upcycling’ refers to the conversion of old materials into new ones. You can work with old pallets that can be turned into chairs, beverage cartons convert into wallets, an old hoodie becomes two new hats or we can sew out of shopping bags meter-long pennant chains prepared for the next party. In addition, an Advent Calendar was worked on as a special Christmas assignment.
The young people were completely free in their choice of materials. Most were initially sceptical of crafting with "rubbish," but as soon as the creative process began, they quickly engrossed themselves in their work. It is nice that via the materials used, the group discussion also turned itself naturally to sustainable topics and individual experiences regarding consumer behaviour more broadly.
The result was out of old cardboard boxes, packaging waste from the kitchen, tea boxes, corks, a broken water heater and many other objects, with much love and patience, 24 very unique Advent “doors” were created, which are waiting on the Advent season with sweet little gifts. The VISIONEERS Upcycling Advent Calendar is a joint, very special project, in which the young people had a lot of fun and which, within the understanding of SDG 12, advocates rethinking regarding sustainable consumption, also in terms of recycling and waste prevention.