Climate Week in New York City brings together businesses, social enterprises and non-governmental organizations to work together on creating a world in support of the United Nations’ 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This year, Peace Boat attended several of these events held from September 19-25, and hosted one called “Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action” to present its Ecoship Project. In addition, Peace Boat attended the Sustainable Investment Forum, the Social Good Summit, and the International Conference on Sustainable Development during this week.
Social Good Summit
The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held annually during UNGA Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. Our theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During the Social Good Summit, global citizens around the world unite to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place.– Social Good Summit website
For more than 30 years, Peace Boat has been working for the social good, fostering global citizenship, and carrying out activities that are embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, so Peace Boat US’ presence at the Social Good Summit in New York City on September18-19, 2016 was a natural fit.
The Social Good Summit brought together inventors, artists, activists, youth, and UN leaders, and featured an incredible line-up of speakers that included Vice President Joe Biden, actors Alec Baldwin and Michelle Yeoh, and singers Demi Lovato and Cody Simpson.
In addition to being a singer, Cody Simpson is a surfer whose strong connection to the ocean has made him a voice for ocean preservation—a topic that is also of great importance to Peace Boat as it sails around the world. Cody spoke about fuel alternatives that would be better for the environment, and expressed interest in Peace Boat’s Ecoship Project, which is aiming to build the world’s most sustainable cruise ship and reduce carbon emissions by a whopping 40 percent.
At the Summit, underwater photojournalist Brian Skerry, whose work is featured often in National Geographic magazine, also spoke passionately about our oceans and climate. He focused on the damage caused to ecosystems from overfishing, and proposed the concept of fish farming instead. We should go from being a gatherer under the sea to being a farmer under the sea, he said. Alec Baldwin talked about indigenous peoples, forests and climate change. Tropical forests are essential to fighting climate change, and we should invest in the people who are protecting the forest, he emphasized.
Peace Boat US looks forward to continuing to work with other organizations and individuals throughout the world toward global sustainability—especially with those who hold strong visions for positive solutions as represented at the Social Good Summit.
International Conference on Sustainable Development 2016
As an international organization that strongly supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goal of ending poverty worldwide, Peace Boat took a special interest in the fourth annual International Conference on Sustainable Development held at Columbia University in New York City on September 21-22, 2016. Keynote speakers at the conference included Andrew Holness, the Prime Minister of Jamaica; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. With a focus on how to end poverty, the conference included panel discussions on the SDGs and how they related to the private sector, youth involvement in solutions, and data.
Prime Minister Holness spoke about his goal to end poverty not only in Jamaica, but also in the larger world. Though not everyone believes this can be accomplished, nor does
everyone believe in the SDGs, he stated, everyone wants to develop into something better. This aim and desire for something better is the power we need to use to effect change, he asserted. Jeffrey Sachs spoke about the ethics of politics, and where countries should place their focus. Currently, the United States is spending millions of dollars on war in other countries, he pointed out, while this money should be spent on education instead. By focusing attention and funds on education, we could teach more about the SDGs and make a significant difference.
Prime Minister Solberg talked about her work for the SDGs, and how she was chosen by the UN Secretary General to lead the working group for the SDGs because of how Norway operates. Our current young generation is the last generation that will be able to eradicate poverty from the world, she emphasized, and it is therefore important for youth to learn more about sustainability in order to be able to reach the SDGs.
The panels at the conference focused on different approaches to reach the SDGs, such as through the involvement of the private sector, youth, and effective use of data. Various participants were invited to show what their company is doing to address climate change and poverty.
It is important to work towards the SDGs, but it will be hard to reach these essential goals for global sustainability if most people in the world are not aware of them. Therefore, Peace Boat encourages youth to travel to Latin America in the summer of 2017 with Peace Boat to learn directly about the SDGs as part of a special study program. To see the full itinerary of the Peace Boat voyage in which the program will take place, visit: http://peaceboat.org/english/index.php?page=view&nr=122&type=4&menu=64
Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action
How can world leaders and decision-makers understand the fear that people living in small island countries face regarding the effects of climate change–and how can they viscerally understand the need to take urgent action–when global discussions about the problem take place in comfortable hotels in cities like Paris, far removed from the realities of those on the frontlines? This was the question posed by Peace Boat Director Yoshioka Tatsuya at an event called “Sailing for Sustainability and Climate Action” held on September 22 as part of Climate Week New York City. Climate Week is an international event that gathers business and government leaders together to demonstrate how continued investment in innovation, technology and clean energy will drive profitability and lead toward net zero emissions.
At the event, Yoshioka spoke about how Peace Boat is currently developing the world’s most sustainable cruise ship—a project that will decrease the vessel’s CO2 emissions by an astonishing 40 percent through the use of wind and solar energy. This Ecoship will also feature vertical gardens, a zero waste water system, and other innovative features. Peace Boat’s aim in building the ship is to not only offer a solution to climate change and set a high new standard in the shipping industry, but to take thousands of people around the world every year to places that are directly feeling the effects of rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change. This will give people a much better understanding of the urgency of the problem, and of the need to help find solutions with those who are most affected.
Peace Boat was joined at the event by Ambassador Ahmed Sareer of the Permanent Mission of the Maldives Republic to the United Nations, who emphasized the importance of taking action on climate change. Wanjira Mathai, Chair of the Board of the Green Belt Movement, highlighted the important role that Peace Boat plays in providing education and experiential learning opportunities to young people, noting that Peace Boat has given people the opportunity to help plant trees in Kenya and learn from Green Belt Movement members about reforestation and other issues. John Bruno of the International Ecotourism Society noted that Peace Boat’s plan of reducing emission by 40 percent is truly groundbreaking, considering other companies and organizations generally aim for cuts of 2 percent. Margo LaZaro of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development expressed the importance of forming partnerships to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and lauded Peace Boat’s plan to use the Ecoship as a flagship to sail for the SDGs. Clayton Banks of
Silicon Harlem spoke of the need to provide young people greater access to the technology they need in order to succeed in education, and noted that Silicon Harlem and Peace Boat have the shared goal of giving people access to the technology and opportunities they need to reach their fullest potential. “We are all united in this,” he emphasized.
The speakers also agreed that being on a ship in the middle of the ocean is akin to our experience here on Earth—just as one cannot simply leave the ship when waste builds up or suddenly find new resources while at sea, human beings cannot simply exit the Earth to leave behind our devastation or to seek out new solutions. We must be aware of our existing environment and work together to find solutions to keeping it sustainable. Creating and expanding partnerships with governments, the private sector, schools, and civil society organizations is the key to making this happen, they concluded.
Peace Boat is aiming for its Ecoship to sail in 2020, and experts from various fields have already met and created the ship’s design. To contribute ideas to the project, including on how to fund the ship’s construction, contact Peace Boat. No idea is too big or small for consideration.
This post was created by and published Cecilie Barmoen (Intern from Peace Boat US)