Helping people grasp the urgency of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while simultaneously showing them how new technology can offer solutions to major global issues. And that everyone can take action themselves.
That is the message people are to take away following a visit to the SDG Dome, which PwC accommodates in the hall of its Amsterdam headquarters since 12 February. Head of sustainability at PwC, Wineke Haagsma: ‘We are really hoping to affect people.’
The SDG Dome is a domed space that accommodates eight people with a 360° panoramic image of the world displayed on its screen walls, visitors donning VR glasses are taken on a journey. The virtual journey sweeps visitors along the consequences of our actions on the planet, ranging from the destruction of the rainforest, pollution of drinking water to production of cheap goods in sweatshops.
After the virtual journey’s end, the visitors are invited to play a game in which they try to figure out ways of achieving the UN’s world goals as quickly as they can. Who knows what problems the world faces? Who knows what technology can be deployed to resolve these issues? Wineke Haagsma: "We are really hoping to affect people and virtual reality is a great way of doing just that. This way of using virtual reality leaves people feeling positive about what they can do to help bring about solutions to problems."
The Dome has been designed to offer visitors an experience that stimulates all the senses while educating them about the major problems the world faces. The Dome also highlights that new technologies offer pathways to solutions and that everyone can play a part. "We want to demonstrate that actions by companies, governments, other types of organisations, but also by individual citizens, have an impact. We want to show people that they can exercise social awareness in everything they do," Haagsma explains.
"Thinking about the plastic soup in the world’s oceans, the warming up of the atmosphere, the melting of the polar icecaps, the terrible levels of starvation affecting some regions and the waste in other areas could be enough to overwhelm anyone into inaction. Because where should you start? What can you do? The Dome helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible and draws them closer to the visitor, thereby also rendering them more specific and manageable."
"The SDG Dome helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible and draws them closer to the visitor, thereby also rendering them more specific and manageable."
PwC wants to help solve major problems and work to build trust in society. According to Haagsma, this is one way to make good on that purpose. "Our day-to-day professional experience and the studies we carry out show that many organisations are having difficulty integrating the SDGs into their strategies and specifying their own contributions. We are trying to reach out to organisations like these to positively influence their approach to the SDGs, as indeed we are doing with school students who have since signed up for a visit to the Dome. This is why we have decided to make the Dome a fun attraction. We believe that, at the end of the day, positive action and the sense that you can do something is what will stay with people the longest."
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