Tackling the Sustainable Development Goals One by One
If you wanted to internalize ideas and actions for sustainable development into the community – how would you tackle such a challenge? There are some creative ways of tackling the Sustainable Development Goals and planting these into our collective brains. To begin, here’s a plan of attack.
Start with a priority list for the year: Save the world from hunger and poverty. Ensure that all are able to thrive with good health, wellbeing, education, equality, decent work and livelihoods. Don’t settle for less than clean water, sanitation, and an environment safe from harm.
Why stop there? Add affordable clean energy, economic growth, innovation and improved infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities.
While we’re at it, let’s make sure that we take a responsible approach to consumption and production, climate action, caring for life below water and on land, peace and justice. Of course, to achieve all of these tasks, we’ll need to develop strong institutions and partnerships.
Tackling the Sustainable Development Goals with Music
There’s a simple way of tackling the Sustainable Development Goals by internalizing all 17 with music. Try watching this short and catchy video produced by Flocabulary, an online educational tool using creative approaches to inspire young adults (and the young at heart) to learn and engage in the world.
Flocabulary breaks down the United Nation’s huge sustainable development mission step by step into two minutes with some snappy hip-hop music. You may find yourself singing along with the syncopated rhythm.
“Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals…To improve life all around the globe…Protecting human health and the envi-ron-ment whatever bed we make we’re going to have to lie-in-it.”
“In some corners of the world today people are living on a dollar a day. Hey, that’s not how it ought to be. So goal 1, eliminate poverty. And goal 2, root out hunger across the globe. There’s 800 million people hungry, if you want to know.”
I recommend taking a moment to watch and sing along before reading on.
If you’re not convinced that a hip-hop video will spread the message far and wide, the United Nations developed these memorable icons as a means of tackling the Sustainable Development Goals and spreading them around the globe. You many have already seen these colorful and simple images flashing about in news stories, websites and social media profiles.
The UN encourages all to download these images and share widely (with a few guidelines). The logos and each of the square icons is available in six different languages. Disseminate at will – divide our efforts, disperse, and conquer.
Ask the Community
I’ve read several LinkedIn publications lately focused on tackling the Sustainable Development Goals. I believe these posts could be useful in helping us in our quest to own the Goals and while we’re at it, commit to taking action. sustainable development one step at a time.
Mel Wilson of PwC Canada presented the goals at the end of last year as a wish list for 2017. His wish list brought attention to the Goals while imploring us (in a polite Canadian way) to collaborate in meeting these goals by 2030.
Just so that you don’t think I’m getting a kickback, I like to give credit where it’s due. I was inspired to write this essay after reading Wilson’s wish list. I also couldn’t help but notice his other publications helping to lay the groundwork for approaching the Goals. He advises a thoughtful and collaborative approach by thinking about the Goals in terms of progress rather than perfection.
Bjorn Kjaerand Haugland of DNV GL and his colleagues have published a series of insights on sustainability topics. I followed the breadcrumbs and watched an impressive video forecast called Future of Spaceship Earth (and then downloaded the comprehensive report). The video briefly examines the global community’s ability to achieve the 17 Goals by 2030. The report dives into specific examples of companies who are pioneering progress on at least one of the Goals.
The good news is that we’re making progress in education, health, and gender equality, and steady progress in poverty, clean water, and sanitation. The bad news is that if we continue on our “business as usual” track, none of the goals will be met in all of the regions without some extraordinary measures. To achieve the Goals, DNV emphasizes the importance of continued and expanded strategic engagement from the business community.
Consider the UN’s message: “The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.”
There’s no doubt we have work to do. Let’s begin by tackling the sustainable development goals one by one. We’ll need to make sure not to overlook the final one – number 17 Partnerships For the Goals – in our plan for a sustainable future that includes us all.
Author: Kathryn Thomsen
Founder of Hundredgivers, a nonprofit supporting and accelerating sustainability initiatives benefiting local and global communities. Kathryn is a social entrepreneur, consultant, researcher, writer and urban farmer. She collaborates with individuals, organizations, and businesses to develop climate change solutions, clean energy, and sustainability strategies and programs.