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What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Find out what Sustainable Development Goals are

At the beginning of this year (2019 for those reading it in the future) my employer started talking about and actively promoting United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It sounded incredible and I was surprised that nobody in my environmental social media circles was talking about them. I mean it took a multinational corporation for me to learn these incredible goals were a thing.

I was even more shocked when I realized that the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. Four years ago!

There are 17 SDGs in total:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships

All targets need to be achieved by 2030.

Is this possible? I want to think so. Even without reading about the goals in details, the UN is providing clear advice of what everybody can do to push those goals towards completion:

  1. Donate what you don’t use. 836 million people live in extreme poverty
  2. Avoid throwing away food. Over 1/3 of the world’s food is wasted
  3. Vaccinate your family to protect them and improve public health
  4. Help children in your community to read
  5. Call out sexist language and behavior
  6. Avoid wasting water. Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world’s population
  7. Use only energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs
  8. Buy from green companies that are equal opportunity employers
  9. Think of innovative new ways to repurpose old material
  10. Raise your voice against discrimination
  11. Bike, walk or use public transport to keep our cities’ air clean
  12. Recycle paper, plastic, glass & aluminum
  13. Educate young people on climate change to put them on a sustainable path early on
  14. Avoid plastic bags to keep the oceans safe and clean
  15. Plant a tree and help protect the environment
  16. Use your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community
  17. Get the SDGs in Action app to learn about the Goals and ways to help achieve them!

Just look at that list! That’s just the list of quick steps from the SDGs main page, not diving into specifics. And yet, a lot of that advice is aligning very closely with the values on the low impact / zero waste / minimalist lifestyle that I’m writing here about (and, obviously, want to convince everybody to share).

Lower your waste: donate instead of throwing out, conserve water, lower your food waste, recycle, avoid plastic.

Care for the environment: use public transport or bike instead of using a car, plant a tree, use energy-efficient appliances.

I took a quick peek into how each of the goals is doing and there seems to be some progress, though nothing near what I think we should have if we’re aiming for 2030 as the target date.

When I was discussing this with a friend of mine, we figured it might be because not many people are aware of those goals. I mean, if it wasn’t for my employer’s philanthropy kick, I would have no idea they existed.

So I’ll be doing a deep dive on each of those goals because I think it’s incredibly important we try to achieve those Sustainable Development Goals.

Keep your eyes peeled for the SDGs tag on the website!

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