In November, SDSN Bolivia along with UPB SDG Hub organised a workshop to introduce the concept of Doughnut Economics to undergraduate students at the Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), based in La Paz Bolivia.
This activity was planned in order to prepare students for the presentation of Carlota Sanz, Co-Founder of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, at the Bolivian Conference on Development Economics, which will take place at UPB in December.
We used one of the tools published by the Doughnut Economics Action Lab in order to introduce the doughnut to university students, who had never heard of Kate Raworth’s book.
After a short discussion of the problems the world is currently facing and how the doughnut can be a friendly and inclusive way of reimagining the economy, around 50 students were asked to make a giant and perfect circle with a long rope. Then we selected 9 students and asked them to represent the 9 Planetary Boundaries. These students were asked to disrupt the perfect circle to visualise how humanity is not respecting the Ecological Ceiling. Students who were forming the outer boundary were upset and immediately wanted to push the 9 planetary boundaries all the way to the middle of the circle in order to avoid causing harm to the planet.
However, when they were asked how they get their food and how they transport themselves every day, they also realised that going all the way back to middle meant a poor lifestyle for most humans. This is when another group of students were asked to form an inner circle and to become the 12 social dimensions. One clever student quickly pointed out how access to affordable health is key for a good life, but that it has inevitable negative impacts on the planet. The 12 social dimensions were further discussed and students started thinking about the importance of finding a balance.
As a final step, all students were asked to immerse themselves into the doughnut (i.e. our safe place) and were asked to name natural spaces they love and would never want to lose. They were also asked to name things that make their lives better. Finally, they were asked to start thinking about ways to stay inside the doughnut. A brilliant law student said that laws were essential but that it was also important to think about how they can actually be implemented in Bolivia so that they support sustainable development. She looked both happy and surprised to realize that as a law student she could also play an important role in reimagining our economy.
A Psychology student shared his concern about the harm that the fashion industry is causing to the planet but was also worried about textile workers and their jobs. Immediately, other students mentioned that there were ways of making this industry less harmful to the planet while protecting jobs. A girl enthusiastically pointed out how plastic is currently used to make clothes in a more sustainable manner. Another girl also mentioned how in other countries recycling clothes is creating more decent jobs.
Seeing students intrigued and motivated by how they can further use the doughnut to find solutions truly made our day!
Finally, all the students who participated in our workshop enjoyed free doughnuts and were invited to continue discussing possible solutions.
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