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Young Consumers’ Guide to Eco-Friendly Living

How to balance looking cool and feeling cool with the need to combat climate change are among the key tips in the new United Nations YouthXchange Training kit. This updated version of the guide also gets to grips with the mountains of waste emerging across the globe as a result of today’s fast throw-away society from mobile phones to fashion.

The 2008 Training Kit on Sustainable Consumption, produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is now in its second edition. YouthXchange is a train the trainer tool that aims to promote sustainable consumption patterns among young consumers worldwide. Among other novelties, this updated guide includes a chapter on how to find a balance between youths’ consumer aspirations of dressing cool and fashionable while at the same time being aware of the impact of their consumption on, for example, climate change.

Young people today establish their identities through what they buy and seek social inclusion by purchasing the newest and “coolest” products on the market. Yet, when unguided, this consumption contributes to problems such as ozone depletion, climate change and hazardous wastes that not only affect our daily lives but impact the entire globe.

Through their daily actions, people can increasingly reduce their environmental impact. Well aware of this, UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) and UNESCO decided to update the 2002 guide to include today’s trends. It provides statistics, case studies, games, examples of companies going greener, and alternatives for more sustainable lifestyles. New to the guide are the following features: a clear link between our consumption patterns and climate change, a more substantial e-waste section, updated data and scientific information and two new chapters: one on the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development and one on fashion. Fashion feeds a growing industry and ranks textiles and clothing as the world’s second-biggest economic activity for intensity of tradeHowever, human rights and the environment pay a heavy price – a price that people can increasingly choose to lessen with the rise of ethical fashion.

Through YouthXchange, UNEP and UNESCO work together to show young people that it is possible to translate our aspirations for a better world into everyday actions.

YouthXchange YouthXchange has been translated and adapted in 19 languages and is available in a bilingual (English and French) website. Visit www.youthxchange.net.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme