#WED2020: Every Little Change Can Make a Big Difference

5 June 2020

A story about young environmentalist from Kazakhstan, Ms Anar Berdykulova, dedicated to celebration of the World Environment Day.

The air we breathe, the soil we live on, the trees, which give us oxygen - all constitute the environment. It would have been impossible to survive on the earth if we did not have such a supportive system.

However, as we were inadvertently accelerating the industrialization process, people around the world started witnessing how the quality of the surrounding environment is declining. The United Nations designated 5 June as World Environment Day to emphasize that environmental protection is a major issue, which affects the well-being and economic development of people around the world. Protecting our environment and thus protecting ourselves is in the hands of each of us, we can only save our environment through sustainable management and development.

Anar Berdykulova is an environmentalist and social media influencer in Kazakhstan. Having won a state scholarship Bolashak program, Anar received BSc in Economics from Royal Holloway University of London. She also holds a BA degree in International Relations from Kazakh-American University. She has been continuously taking online courses and taking offline seminars related to environmental topics . After graduating, she worked in the fields of Internationalization of Higher Education and English language at the British Council Kazakhstan and also participated in green teams work to assess the sustainability of the project.

Following her natural interest in the environmental issues, Anar embarked on a journey to explore waste prevention and reduction in Kazakhstan. The annual volume of waste generation in the country is equal to 5-6 million tons. Only about 10.5 % gets recycled. The remaining amount goes to landfills. The number of landfills grow and greedily absorb new territories.

We all live in times when each of us should take responsibilities and start making positive changes. Feeling an impact of my small contributions keeps me going.

Anar Berdykulova

Being an Eco Ambassador in Kazakhstan, Anar initiated a few projects aimed at waste prevention and minimization (aligned with Waste Management Hierarchy, UNEP) and to increase awareness about responsible consumption and production (addressed at SDG 12).


UNESCO Almaty

The first project is production of reusable cloth bags made from clean leftover fabric. This way bags have much lower carbon footprint and fabric is averted from going directly to the landfill. Association of People with special needs Kamkor Zhurek is a partner responsible for the sewing process.

The second project is an Eco Program for Cafes in Nur-Sultan. The goal is to reduce the single-use items, incorporate social responsibility and promote responsible consumption.

Anar believes that there should be a quick shift from single-use to reusable and more sustainable alternatives. The reason behind is that globally only 9% of all generated plastic has been recycled (UNDP, 2018). Meaning that if we alter our consumption and drastically reduce the influx of single-use items we will find ourselves in a situation where recycling capacities are able to cope and much less ends up in the environment and helps to preserve biodiversity.


UNESCO Almaty

In addition, Anar is also a social media influencer, and is committed to promoting her ideas and initiatives.

I will always be immensely grateful to my life not only for the opportunity to study abroad but also for the chance I had to meet and experience how people from various countries live. And this career is an opportunity to look at the problem from someone elses perspective and understand the better ways to communicate ecology related agendas.

In order to share the vision, the young eco-enthusiast accepted the UNESCO invitation for "Story Circles" training to improve her intercultural competences in December 2019 in Almaty and discovered a special perspective that inspired her future work.

Im grateful for receiving an invitation to join the training. That was a great opportunity to look critically at myself. How I convey information. To what extend I allow negative messages to take over. To what extend I refrain from judgment, and how well do I filter prejudice.

Moving forward, Anar said she realized that in order to ultimately create changes in terms of environment protection, we must work on ourselves. She mentioned that we should use social media as a platform to support open-mindedness, mutual respect and acceptance, and further promote the important of sustainable approach to whatever we do. Gaining perspective on environment protection and management is not only a thrilling challenge, but also a unique opportunity to be able to engage and act globally.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/wed2020-every-little-change-can-make-a-big-difference