Thumb Up Foundation
The concept of ‘sustainable development’ is increasingly known and used among a wide variety of actors. However, the real implications of this concept remain unclear, as wars are still being waged, human rights violated, and the effects of climate change and an unequal distribution of wealth and resources are characterizing societies worldwide. Fundamental changes are needed in our ways of thinking and living. This requires a global awareness that the time for change is now! But how can you get people from all over the world to be aware of this? It is time for a new approach, it is time for something that has never been done before, something that goes beyond people’s expectations. No lectures, no workshops, it is time to get the broader audience involved through a dynamic, interactive and adventurous approach of sustainability: a hitchhike journey of 15 000 kilometers, from The Netherlands to South Africa, to raise awareness on sustainable development in an unprecedented way and give a face to this intangible concept.
In the summer of 2012, a group of hitchhikers embarks on the journey of their lives as they travel across the continent of Africa to increase the support and the required awareness for sustainable development in our global society. They will depart from Groningen, the Netherlands, and arrive three months later in Cape Town, South Africa. During this trip, the hitchhikers will be confronted with the effects of war, ecological degradation, and social and economic injustice. They will not only encounter these problems in the daily lives of the people they meet, but by doing hands-on grass roots voluntary work in development and humanitarian aid projects, the hitchhikers will get to work side by side with the people working on these issues and experience the difficulties and opportunities in addressing them. By giving an insight in the daily reality of so many, Thumbs Up wants to reach those people who at this moment feel indifferent towards the concept of sustainable development. For them, the broad concept of ‘sustainability’ will get a name, a face, a focus.
To lift the impact from the local level to a broader scale, people from all over the world will join in on this adventurous journey through television, internet and radio. The hitchhikers will encounter an amazing variety of people, cultures, and landscapes. They will immerse in the daily lives and experiences of the people they meet by sharing a ride over the savanna and through the jungle, staying at homes in big cities and tribal communities, and working together to move towards a just, sustainable and peaceful future. You can join in on this unprecedented journey! The whole journey will be made interactive in an unprecedented way through a multimedia platform in which the followers can directly ask their questions and take part in discussions with the hitchhikers, the people they meet on their journey and the aid workers. Following the journey through short online videos and the documentary series thereby becomes a unique viewing experience in which the followers feel as if they are traveling through these areas themselves. It will make people reflect and discuss actively about what they think and do, through an amazing journey brought right into your own living room! Thumbs Up challenges you to join in and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
From the ancient pyramids to the impressive Victoria Falls, from rural life to crowded suburbs, from the scars of war to the impact of climate change, this adventurous journey’s goal is not to steer. The goal is to get people and especially youth engaged, to get us thinking, talking, to actively consider our role and place in the world. By making this experience a personal one, we can start living up to our potential as ambassadors of change, each in our own place, but together in a common goal. An enormous challenge with a message of great importance!