You Have the Power to Change The World

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New year, new challenges. Same learning space. This year at the WED Drawing Contest 2022, we want to challenge you to think differently about everyday things and situations and encourage you to find ways to improve your consumption patterns. Small changes can have a significant impact, and if we all work together in changing the way we consume, we can change the planet. 

The United Nations Sustainable Goal 12 focuses on precisely that. Responsible consumption and production of goods, resources and energy. By becoming more conscious about the things we buy, we become more sustainable, minimizing waste and being kinder to the environment, because after all, there is "only one earth."

 

What do we mean by consumption patterns? 

Consumption patterns relate to how we act as consumers. It focuses on what we buy, how often we buy it and why. It also refers to the kind of products we consume and how we react to new products and services. The consumption pattern of consumer goods, such as electronics, clothing and books, varies depending upon various socio-economic and cultural variables. Where you live, the size of your family-household, your household's income, and regional consumerism patterns can affect your demand for one product or service other another. For example, Americans consumed 15 billion gallons of bottled water in 2020. That means, on average, each American drank 45.2 gallons of bottled water in 2020 - that is a rather alarming amount of single-use plastic. In contrast to other countries, people tend to choose filtered tap water over bottled water. 
 

How does consumption affect society? 

Rapid and growing population and consumerism present a threat to Earth natural resources and an increase in pollution. We face increased demand for energy, food, electronics, clothing, transportation, housing, furniture, etc. Some of the consequences of the increased demand are pretty spooky. 

Responsible consumption and production of goods can affect many areas of society, which is why this year, we will focus on making connections and finding solutions to drive change. Let's explore together! 

Let's have a look at Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being. 
 

How Consumption Patterns Can Affect Your Mental Well-being. 

The most common threat to mental well-being in teens is Generalized Anxiety—Excessive worry about everyday matters. Worrying comes naturally as part of growing and learning, and it is normal for all teenagers to feel anxious when confronted with new activities, places, or new social interactions. It can also be hard for you to communicate with adults during these years, and you may often feel adults can't relate to the worries or scenarios you are living. 

However, this is a crucial time for developing social and emotional long-term habits that will become essential for your mental well-being. These include adopting healthy sleep patterns, exercising regularly, developing coping, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills, and learning to manage emotions. 

While we talk about managing emotions, it might be good to consider how you use social media. Social media is by no means evil. It can be used as a source to learn new things, keep in contact with friends, and entertain ourselves. For many, social media can even be a way of earning an income and showcasing a talent or skill. It all comes down to how you 'consume' social media and your ability to manage your emotions. 

Do you ever catch yourself spending hours on TikTok scrolling through endless dancing videos? Do you find yourself comparing your looks, clothes, life to others? How does that make you feel? What do you do when you feel sad, mad or anxious looking at these? Do you put your phone down? Or do you continue watching and consuming content that makes you feel down? 

 

Time is your most valuable resource. Use it wisely. 

 

Change your social media consumption patterns:

  • Don't wait until your parents set limits. Set social media time limits for yourself. Not only will it teach you to discipline, but it will also release lots of free time to do other fun things. 
  • Find a Youtuber of TikToker that teaches you something valuable. A computer skill, a tutorial, cooking a new recipe.
  • Follow organizations and personalities that support strong causes and have defined values. You can learn a lot about a topic and find things you are passionate about. 
  • Not all you see is real in social media. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others online, remember photos can be altered, and images can be curated. 
  • Avoid negative interactions, comment exchanges, direct message exchanges, and reactions to posts that are not supportive. 
  • Remember, you have the power to change. 

 

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Thinking Cap On: 

Meet Izy, a young influencer who has used her passion for helping people cook healthy meals. Izy combined the power of social media with her degree in Food Science & Nutrition to create a positive learning space to share and inspire every day. 

Do you know what you want to do as a career when you grow up? Perhaps you want to be a veterinarian, a social worker, an engineer, a doctor? Could you use the power of social media to spread your knowledge and positive influence? What channel would you use? Do some online research about what makes you passionate and try to draft some content ideas to share with your friends and family, perhaps make a video or two. 

Let's change how we use social media and remember that your time is valuable. Use it wisely.

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