Credit: Instituto TerraCredit: Amauri Aguiar / flickrCredit: Dave Sizer / FlickrCredit: David Cohen / FlickrCredit: Romulo Ferreira / flickr

Walking 4 SDGs

Thank you all for your participation, we made it to Instituto Terra! 

Do you miss our #Walking4SDGs adventures? Visit the visual recap of our real-world and virtual odyssey to Brazil!

Direct donations to Instituto Terra are still very welcome through this link until 31 May 2021.

Between 20 March and 8 May 2021, UNU-MERIT staff and students walked, ran and cycled, in support of Sustainable Development Goal 13 of the United Nations.  We did this in the real world — but also virtually, together, with the help of Google Maps and online sharing platforms such as Zulip, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram while listening to our Walking4SDGs YouTube playlist


UNU-MERIT sponsored the kilometres we completed, and all donations were transferred to the NGO of our choice: Instituto Terra in Brazil.

We coordinated our arrival on 8 May at Instituto Terra, which was the destination of our adventure AND of the money we collected!

We warmly encourage direct donations to Instituto Terra!

See below a short video about the work of this organisation. Please also see the news item that Instituto Terra published about our project.

Follow us on social media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – and tag us – @Walking4SDGs, #Walking4SDGs – on photos and videos of your walks/running/bike rides.

Spread the word! – help us promote Instituto Terra’s fantastic initiatives to protect our environment and our planet.

Our ‘walk’ started on 20 March 2021, International Day of Happiness and ended on 8 May 2021, World Migratory Bird Day. During this period, we could walk, run, swim whenever we wanted, and each kilometre was added to the total number of kilometres made by the group.


Here is our itinerary.

A message from Isabella Salton, Executive Director at Instituto Terra

“We are very happy that you have chosen Instituto Terra as the beneficiary of this beautiful initiative! This virtual running is an innovative way to involve people in a common cause: To care for our “blue planet”. It promotes environmental awareness and presents an active way of bringing the individual closer to actions in favour of the environment. Human beings and nature are the same, and the power that collective actions have is enormous.

We are very grateful to everyone who is participating in the marathon and we invite you: keep walking, for us and for the environment!

We look forward to welcoming you to Instituto Terra and celebrating the success of this marathon in the middle of the Atlantic Forest that we recovered here.”


Meet the Walking  4 SDGs team

Teresa Farinha

“Walking 4 SDGs was born out of saudades – the feeling of missing the old times before COVID-19, when we used to connect with our colleagues in real life. We were looking for a way to recreate the fun times in a virus-proof setting and heard about TU Delft’s digital MSE Ultramarathon 2020. We decided to do something similar. I contacted the leader, Jilt, who kindly shared his experience with us. And we started planning and building our own initiative for UNU-MERIT!”

Sueli Brodin

“It means a lot to me to be travelling to my country of birth, Brazil, together with many colleagues and students. I enjoy being engaged in this common adventure for the greater good. Instituto Terra is the perfect demonstration that every step counts. It is so encouraging to see how tree by tree, in less than 20 years, Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia restored an entire forest ecosystem in a region that had been devastated by land degradation.”

Elena Bolocan

“It’s very exciting to run the social media strategy for Walking 4 SDGs. I prepare at least three posts per week for all of our social media channels, highlighting our journey through the mesmerising pictures and stories that the participants are sharing with us. I am lucky to be part of a very creative team, always ready to brainstorm ideas. Walking 4 SDGs gives us a chance to walk together while being apart, and it also allows us to take a moment to observe the changes of nature day by day.”

Herman Pijpers

“This reforestation project was started by Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia in Brazil with incredible results. Since the money that UNU-MERIT will sponsor will come from the CO2 Fund, I think that it is most appropriate to donate it for a project or NGO that combats the effects of climate change. Reforestation is a simple and effective way to protect nature from climate change. A huge bonus is the restoration of biodiversity in the reforested areas.”

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Walking 4 SDGs

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    Instituto Terra, Sebastião Salgado, Muryllo Gonçalves, Christian Ender, Leonardo Merçon, Philippe Petit, Elena Bolocan,  Flickr/ Amauri Aguiar, Romulo Ferreira, Dave Sizer, David Cohen, GoogleMaps