Sustainability Video Contest Is Ideal Classroom Activity for Teaching the SDGs

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pave the way for peace and prosperity for all people and the planet, now and into the future, and this post is intended to give teachers a unique way to engage students with the SDGs through the World of 7 Billion Video Contest.

The World of 7 Billion video contest is entering the 11th year, and gives middle and high schoolers a platform to think critically about global challenges related to population and share what they think we should do to fix them.

A new study, published in April, by researchers at North Carolina State University and Duke University, shows that after watching student-produced videos about ocean plastics pollution and other garbage, local officials and voters reported feeling greater concern about the issue. This study is giving new meaning to the saying, “And the youth shall lead us.” Will your students be the influential leaders our world needs and participate in this year’s video contest?

The contest topics for this year’s video competition are: Ocean Health, Urbanization, and Agriculture and Food.

Let’s take a look at how the student contest topics relate to the SDGs.

Ocean Health and the SDGs

Oceans cover the majority of the world’s surface and are full of ecosystems and biodiversity yet to be discovered. Humans rely on them for food, work, pleasure, and they help with climate regulation. With a growing population, we are putting an immense strain on this global common. Global climate change, pollution and overfishing are threatening the health of our ocean systems. Rising carbon emission rates are of concern, as the emissions are absorbed by oceans, which changes the pH of surface waters and could lead to oceans that are 150% more acidic by the end of this century.

Logos for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 6, 12 and 14

Students can use the video contest as an opportunity to promote innovative ways to lower global carbon emissions, a topic that connects with SDG 12, “Responsible Consumption and Production.” In addition to #12, SDG 6 and SDG 14 can help students explore connections between ocean health and making a global impact.

Urbanization and the SDGs

We live in a world where over half of humanity lives in cities. As urbanization continues to rise around the world, new environmental problems are being created which add to the ones that already existed. Some of the world’s most innovative developments throughout history have stemmed from the unique circumstances of life in cities. Meeting the needs of a rapidly growing urban population will require a similar level of innovation. Some of the problems that we need to address are: overburdened infrastructure, urban poverty, water and air quality, and access to affordable housing.

Logos for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, 8 and 11

This video contest affords your students the opportunity to creatively engage with these global problems through the lens of the United Nations SDGs. For example, by discussing solutions to lack of sustainable transportation, students engage with SDG 11, “Sustainable Cities and Communities.” The SDG 3, SDG 6, and SDG 8 can also guide students when considering the impact of a growing population on urbanization.

Agriculture & Food and the SDGs

Agriculture has helped shape human history. Having a consistent food supply let people build settlements and form the bases of society all over the world. As human population continues to grow, we have discovered new and innovative ways to meet the ever growing need for more food. However, changes to land and weather patterns threaten to make farming more difficult and less productive. At the same time, agricultural production needs to increase by 60% by 2050 to create enough food to feed the growing global population. 2.37 billion people are without food or unable to eat a healthy balanced diet on a regular basis.

Logos for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3 and 15

Students, in the video contest, can reflect on problems such as food insecurity and in doing so participate in SDG 2, “End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture.” There are countless other problems that need to be solved by the global community surrounding agriculture and food, many of which relate to not only SDG 2, but also SDG 3 and SDG 15.

SDGs and the Video Competition

We look forward to seeing how your students incorporate the SDGs into their video submissions. As we learned from the NSCU study on student-made films, students don’t need to wait to be the leaders of tomorrow, they can be the leaders of today by participating in this filmmaking activity. You can support their leadership endeavors by encouraging their participation in the World of 7 Billion video project. For more information, please visit the World of 7 Billion student video contest website.