30.12.2016 · Category: Policy Support Components, Regional Policy Support Component Thailand

4 Billion Dreams Jumpstarts the Asia-Pacific Lifestyle Conversation

4 Billion Dreams is a lifestyle conversation that explores the diverse lifestyles that currently coexist in the Asia-Pacific. Our lifestyles define our consumption habits. Everyone has a dream.  There are 7 Billion Dreams in the world. 4 Billion of those Dreams are in the Asia-Pacific. With two thirds of the world’s population, global consumption and production patterns will be shaped by what happens in the Asia-Pacific.

The main goal of 4 Billion Dreams is to better understand the wide range of lifestyles in the Asia Pacific. Who are the people who call this place home? What do we eat? How do we travel? What kind of home do we live in? What do we do for leisure? How has is this changing? What implications does it have for the future? Who are we as a regional community? What is our region’s story? What are our hopes and aspirations for the future? 

4 Billion Dreams is a multimedia awareness-raising project. Powered by the Dreamers, 30 SCP Youth Ambassadors from 22 countries, the 4 Billion Dreams lifestyle conversation provides insight into current lifestyle patterns.

United Nations Environment, as the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia Programme’s regional policy support component with support from Norway and Sweden, built a youth community to explore the diverse lifestyles that currently coexist in the Asia-Pacific by jumpstarting the region’s lifestyle conversation. 

The Dreamers represent a diverse cross-section of modern society including: academia, government, NGOs and the private sector. After coming together to receive interactive training in Bangkok, Thailand at the United Nations Asia- Pacific Headquarters, the youth ambassadors deepened their understanding of what defines a lifestyle. Armed with storytelling skills, knowledge regarding SDG 12 and a set of lifestyle questions, the Dreamers returned to their home countries to conduct and film lifestyle interviews of everyday people from various walks of life. The voices from the conversations they had form the lifestyle stories in our regional mosaic.

The first phase of the interactive multimedia awareness project launched in Bangkok, Thailand in conjunction with a regional workshop with policy makers on Sustainable Development Goals, Natural Resource Accounts and Policy Indicators for Asia. The interactive exhibit was hosted by Dreamers representing China (Ms. Shaoxin Li), Thailand/Sri Lanka (Mr. Savinda Ranathunga) and Mongolia (Mr. Bayarbaatar Bold). 

The interactive exhibit featured tablets where policy makers and other participants could watch lifestyle stories from the fifty of the conversations that the Dreamers had with members of their society about the food they eat, the way they travel, the homes they live in, the traditional practices they recall and their dreams for the future. 

The lifestyle conversation was linked to two other portions of the exhibit that help to visualize resource use in the region. The ‘Footprint Forest’ featured per capita use of Carbon, Material, Energy and Water in individual countries—the higher a country’s per capita use appears on the column, the more efficient that country currently is. 

A ‘Life Size Infographic’ made of foam cubes was created to help demonstrate resource use. The entire wall of cubes represents the 81,000,000,000 tonnes of materials the world used in 2015. That includes outputs of agriculture, forestry, mining, and fishing. Two thirds of that, 51,000,000,000 tonnes, was used in the Asia-Pacific. Each of those represents ¼ billion tonnes. The pink cubes represent the use of the Asia-Pacific region, while the blue cubes represent the rest of the world combined. 

These cubes were also used to communicate the Material Footprint and Domestic Material Consumption in each country (the amount of materials represented by each cube varied depending on the country.) Participants from different countries built their country’s use providing a more tangible and memorable representation of what their country’s resource use looks like. 

4 Billion Dreams was created to support SDG 12: “Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.” More specifically, it is working towards SDG 12.8 “By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.”