The Year of waste: 2019-2020
In 2018, the World Bank published What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050, an alarming report that details the effects of rapid urbanization and population growth on the world’s production of waste.
The report predicts that without immediate action, global waste will grow by 70% by 2050—to 3.4 billion tons of waste annually—harming human health, contaminating local environments, creating economic uncertainty and exacerbating climate change.
It’s hard to wrap one’s head around 3.4 billion tons of food, plastic, paper, metal, glass, rubber, electronics, medical supplies, construction materials, clothing and chemicals—never mind the actions required to reduce that number. And it doesn’t help that efficient removal systems keep waste out of sight and out of mind in industrialized nations while countries with fewer resources bear the brunt of the global trash problem. Americans may not see or fully comprehend the scope of the world’s waste predicament, but, quite frankly, it’s a mess.
The World Bank’s report is not all doom and gloom, however. Solutions exist, it concludes, but governments and individuals around the world must take seriously the threats presented by global waste and work together to implement change.
So, during the 2019-2020 year, the Isdell Center for Global Leadership (ICGL) is asking the school community to get on board the change bandwagon and think critically about Waste, the sixth annual ICGL global theme.
Using as a framework the ICGL’s five organizational centers—Science & Technology, Culture & Arts, Social Entrepreneurship & Business, Community Engagement & Environmental Sustainability, and Public Policy & International Relations—students, faculty and families are exploring Waste from a variety of age-appropriate angles. Previous years’ themes of Water, Food, Climate, Conservation and Energy serve as the foundation as we read and research; unplug and upcycle; hear from scholars, experts and advocates; travel the world; and attempt to clean up our lives, our city and our global community.