Building a sustainable future through sport

In 2015, the United Nations made a call to take action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in order to ensure the future of our planet and the prosperity of all the people living on it.

Even though it is hard work to achieve the 17 goals by 2030, every day there are more people engaged in this cause thanks to the work of nonprofit organizations, institutions, and different programs. The Jadir Taekwondo Association (AJTKD) in Brazil has been working hard to promote sustainable practices to its students by embedding them into sport classes and through education.

Fight Plastic Campaign

Three of the SDGs are climate action, protecting life below water and life on land, and AJTKD’s Fight Plastic campaign contributes to these goals. Launched in 2021, the campaign addresses the problem of plastic pollution, which has increasingly affected the planet in recent years.

AJTKD encourages students and volunteers to show how they are helping reduce the use of plastic in their lives by photographing their reusable bottles, eco bags, and developing small habits to reduce plastic pollution.

Climate change poses a threat to vulnerable people on the planet. Its impact is more evident in developing countries and economies without the resources to take action.  Climate change affects the daily lives of people, from the way they dress to how they get their food, and it is a well-known fact that plastic consumption is closely related to it.

Looking to fight the negative effect single-use plastic is having on the environment, AJTKD brings this problem into the spotlight with students, their parents, and volunteers, urging everyone to take action. Children and youth act from their own homes to show everyone how they are reducing plastic use, inspiring others to do the same.

Refresher training for instructors

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers everyone to make informed decisions in favor of environmental integrity, economic viability, and helps build a just society for present and future generations. It aims to provide the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary to address sustainable development challenges.

ESD is a key element of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its aims form one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal on education, target 4.7: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.

The instructor refresher workshop provided AJTKD’s teachers with ideas to update their knowledge of class methodology and present new teaching materials on ESD.

The workshop explored recent theory and practice, focusing on the application of SDG-related activities into Taekwondo classes. Teachers learned creative approaches to motivate children and youth to take action towards the SDGs, so that they can contribute to a better future for everyone. From citizenship to environment and climate change, AJTKD aims to inspire children to create a fairer and more sustainable world.

“I think it’s important to introduce ESD even further into the class curriculum. We see an increased commitment between our students in achieving the SDGs as they express their feelings towards protecting the planet and making the world a better place. They are the leaders of tomorrow and need to fight for their right to have access to good health, quality education, and a clean planet. Their ability to protect the future for everyone depends on how well they understand their role today.”- said Flávio Bergamaschi, one of the teachers who participated at the workshop.

Sport and Sustainability International Webinar

AJTKD hosted its first International Webinar on Sport and Sustainability celebrating a global week of sustainability action, known as #Act4SDGs, with our volunteers, teachers, and team members. They all came together to discuss how AJTKD is using sport to build a sustainable future for children and youth in Brazil.

Myrka Suarez, an AJTKD volunteer who holds a Bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and is doing a Master’s in Environmental Sciences at the University of Wageningen, was one of the speakers at the webinar. She shared her thoughts about the work of the Association regarding this important issue: “AJTKD has been doing a great job so far with its environmental program. When I started working with them, they had already started with activities in order to teach kids about the importance of water and the Amazon. I think an association like AJTKD can influence its students and their families into adopting sustainable practices. AJTKD has so far produced videos, activities, classes, and lastly the SDG webinar.”

“I believe AJTKD could set an example for the people around them by implementing sustainable practices in their installations such as getting solar panels, collecting rainwater, and separating their waste. I know this may be harder to achieve since this technology comes with a cost, but it would be rewarding to follow up on the good work they have done. I think education is key. In March 2021, we created an environmental calendar to make environmental education a constant in the students’ lives. At least once a month we share content related to the environment and how to preserve it.”

Undoubtedly, it is important to create a better future for new generations and this is what the United Nations development agenda aspires to do. In its daily work, AJTKD contributes to creating a better future by educating children and young people through sport.