By Luca Ike, Corvin Illgner, Chiara Moenter and Lise Selles
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light (Dylan Thomas).
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a solar system. A solar system that differed from the others. Within this solar system there were eight planets. Technically, there are nine planets, but that is up for debate. In the center, you could find a nearly perfect bright sphere of hot plasma. It was called the Sun. The Sun formed in an interstellar cloud, much as the other eight planets. These planets orbit around the Sun. We have a huge gas giant called Jupiter. A planet with a ring of asteroids, called Saturn. Then there are the rocky planets: Mars, Mercury and Venus. But one rocky planet in particular stands out. Earth.
If you would look at Earth from a distance, it looks like a blue marble with some dots on it. This is where we are. This is where we live. This is home.
Six months ago, if remembered correctly, we were sitting in the living room, drinking beers, enjoying each other's company, and thinking about the topics we wanted to approach during the Value Creator semester. Back then, we were not a group. We wanted to approach different topics. Some wanted to do something with education, others were into psychology. Oh, how that changed. Well, that night, it was the beginning of our Value Creators journey. We realized how amazing it would be if we all worked together. So, we thought of a topic that could somehow combine everything. With our idea, we talked to our coach - quickly it became clear that we could not follow this. Though, another opportunity presented itself. See, about a year ago, our coach María had an idea to implement another Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). An SDG about space. And of course, we should have an SDG about space! The private space sector is ever expanding, regulations and international law are outdated by the developments, and with the arising military and defensive interest regarding space we need something to facilitate international discussion.
So, there we are. Four students with little to no knowledge in space, trying to implement an 18th SDG. How do you even approach such a big endeavor? Well, we had no clue ourselves. That is why we reached out to hundreds of people, asking for their advice. We educated ourselves about the issues and opportunities around space and tried to find opportunities to promote our idea. This was basically the first two months of our journey. Reading, contacting, reading what the contacts wrote, and contacting them back. Until one day, an opportunity presented itself. María gave us information about a so-called “UN75 Dialogue”. Organized by the United Nations, this format focuses on global challenges and possible solutions. We gave it a shot with our idea, and we can tell you this much already - it definitely worked out!
After back and forth, talking with UN officials in the United States of America, we were able to take part. Extremely happy about this new development, we clinked our beer bottles - and then realized: what now? We have no panelists, we have no platform to conduct a dialogue - thanks to COVID-19, and we have no idea how to facilitate an online discussion. Which meant, back to reading, back to contacting, back to reading what the contacts wrote. And then something amazing happened. In the midst of our network, we found a person that seemed very invested in the idea. So, we had a Zoom meeting. And this one Zoom meeting should mean the beginning of what is now the “SDG 18 - Space for All” initiative. Through this Zoom meeting, we generated a media partner that helped us with the platform to hold the discussion. With this one meeting, we managed to publish multiple features about our initiative and reached literally thousands of people. After this meeting, everything clicked into place. We found our panelists, all with a diverse background, all with extremely valuable insights, and with different opinions. Within two and a half weeks, we managed to gather all panelists
Then the day came. All of us were super, no, extremely nervous. Imagine preparing an online event for the first time for 300 people. It was scary! But then everything went fast. We had over 60 questions, about 180 people, from 41 countries around the globe that actually showed up, and one and a half hours of pure important insights. We were done! And the responses we got were overwhelming. “Great!”. “Incredible initiative!”. “How can I support you?”. Happy and full of motivation, we went to bed that night - thinking of what we have accomplished. Little did we know that the actual work just started.
In the next month, we synthesized the information from the dialogue, wrote a report to the UN, connected everyone interested in our initiative, and set up a platform where we all can exchange information. Now the semester is over, but we are not done. We have just started. And we will not stop until we see our logo on the SDG Agenda.