Young people in Bogotá are committed to a sustainable lifestyle

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What would happen if the water, air or arable land were to be exhausted? When we ask ourselves this question, we often think of the massive consumption that industries carry out and the great pollution they generate, but the truth is that each of us leaves our environmental footprint and the sum of all of them is very valuable.

We are beginning to become aware that resources are not infinite and that a sustainable lifestyle is necessary. A lifestyle that allows the well-being of present and future generations.

Bogotá is preparing to be a sustainable city in 2038. Considering that its current population is estimated to double, promoting a sustainable lifestyle is one of the priorities.

One of the initiatives has been to bet on environmental education that allows a better use of resources, the UN Environment collaborates with the universities of Bogotá in a program called "How urban youth can be an engine to achieve sustainable low-carbon lifestyles ”. The program addresses issues such as mobility, consumption, housing and leisure habits among young people between 18 and 25 years of age.

Statistical data of the UN Environment program

The program began with a survey on the habits of young people that produced the following conclusions:

  • The least used transport is the bicycle. This is mainly due to the fact that the infrastructures in the cities do not facilitate this means of transport. Walking is followed, which is not very frequent due to the great distances that exist between residential neighborhoods and the center, shops, leisure or workplaces.
  • 70% of those surveyed prefer home cooking and organic food. In addition, they like to buy it more in the neighborhood stores than in the large supermarkets. Regarding consumer goods, the criteria that they usually use to make their purchases are discounts and the utility that they can give to the goods more than fashion or environmental criteria.

Irresponsible consumption of electricity or water has been detected in the home, as well as the scarce habit of recycling.

Environmental entrepreneurship

In view of these results, which have been made known to young people, some of them have decided to undertake their own social and environmental projects such as these examples:

  • Bioambientar: Organic waste management company that helps generate compost to fertilize your own garden at home. A sustainable way to eat organic products and economically. We also find Huertolaria, a company of organic gardens
  • Clearfuel: The creation of a catalyst that reduces CO2 emissions by 50% and saves diesel fuel by 20%.

Promotion of the reuse of clothing, rental, sale of second hand or donations to give a longer useful life to the textile sector. We have examples like Clote Modasostenible, Guadaluperent or Kukupu.

Other measures that promote a sustainable lifestyle

Large corporations have also begun to make a move.An example of this is the “Grupo Empresarial Argos”, which has facilitated access to electric bicycles for its employees and collaborators to go to work. In addition, it has granted food vouchers to eat in restaurants close to work and avoid additional travel. Along the same lines, it has created an APP to facilitate carpooling among its workers. These initiatives have been implemented in the Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla headquarters and in one year it has managed to save 900 hours of travel and reduce CO2 emissions by 5,000kg.

On the other hand, the government is taking action on the matter of promoting a sustainable lifestyle among Colombian citizens and the measures taken include:

  • Network of ecological markets of Bogotá: Sundays are organized in different neighborhoods of the capital markets. The products that are sold do not carry any chemicals, preservatives and are made with clean water. We can find everything from cosmetics, medicines or food. The sale is made directly from the producer to the customer, without intermediaries and at a more affordable price.
  • The week of healthy, safe and sustainable mobility. The Ministry of Transportation of Colombia has promoted "the week without cars" in 13 of the main cities of the country. The objective is to demonstrate that they exist and we can use other less polluting means of transport.

We can see more examples and challenges related to a sustainable lifestyle on the website of the project created by a group of young people in Bogotá «En Modo Acción«.

We cannot deny that the sustainable lifestyle is in fashion in Colombia and the mentality and habits are changing, or at least, awareness of it is beginning to appear. In any case, much remains to be done in the country in terms of energy efficient buildings or creating more compact urbanizations. That is, neighborhoods with greater resources for commerce, work and improving the public transport network. Another important initiative has to do with enabling more bike lanes as in many European cities.

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