Held annually during the United Nations General Assembly week, the Social Good Summit unites global citizens and progressive thought leaders around technology and new media’s impact on human progress. This year I had the opportunity to serve as a United Nations Association Social Good Summit Blogger Fellow. Check out five quotes from the 2017 Social Good Summit for a glimpse into the lively discussion around making the world a better place:
“We’re facing a threat maybe even graver than the White Walkers.” – Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Winter is coming and the Game of Thrones star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau shared that the impacts of climate change are a greater threat than the White Walkers in the hit HBO series. He explained that while nations are making strides in achieving the sustainable development goals especially when it comes to poverty and gender-based discrimination and violence, if the world does not achieve the climate change goals then all bets are off.
“There are nineteen cities where you are more likely to be killed by a police officer than a private citizen.” – DeRay Mckesson
The civil rights activist and host of Pod Save the People, DeRay Mckesson, discussed the importance of bringing attention to social inequality. Mckesson stated that while protesting is not the answer to the problems facing the world, it does however, provide a space for answers to be found. He went on to share his view that people are often in love with the idea of resistance, but are not necessarily in love with the work of resistance.
“We’re under the impression that we’ve beat AIDS, we think it’s done, it’s not.” – Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg shared the story of seeing her friends dying during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, which led to her activism through the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. The award-winning actress shared her concerns that while many people are surviving on medication with AIDS, the world has not yet irradiated the disease — so there is still much more work to do.
“The average time that a person spends as a refugee is between 15 and 20 years.” – Filippo Grandi
The High Commissioner for Refugees for the United Nations, Filippo Grandi, gave insights into his experience with refugees and the need to invest in education. He shared stories of refugees who ask for education for their children above basic necessities such as food and water. Highlighting that progress has been made, High Commissioner Grandi stressed that the world still needs to maintain commitments to providing education to refugee children.
“By 2050 half of the area currently usable for coffee growth will no longer be viable.” – Bambi Semroc
The threat that climate change presents to the coffee trade is serious. Bambi Semroc of Conservation International explained the impact of higher temperatures and more erratic rainfall patterns; specifically, the area that is currently being used to grow the world’s coffee is at risk of being reduced by 50% by 2050. As the world’s desire for coffee grows in areas that are typically tea drinking, the need to ensure the future of coffee farming is sustainable and ethical is becoming paramount.