On September 23, 2017, Western University held an event known as the Sustainable Development Goals Training. The training focused on how we can get involved locally and internationally by implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am writing this in part to advocate on the SDGs, but also to update those who missed out on the event. A brief itinerary was as follows:
- Certificate for training on Sustainable Development Goals
- A United Nations speaker and a Q&A session
- Skills training on how to implement the SDGs in the London community
- Networking with local NGOs and organizations working on SDGs
In 2015, the UN Member States unanimously adopted the 17 SDGs with 169 targets to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. They aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
At the very centre of this agenda are youth! The only way to achieve all 17 goals is to inspire the burgeoning generation of leaders to take up the message and act proactively in their communities to create sustainable change. At this point, you are probably wondering what the 17 sustainable goals are. Rather than listing them all, below is a picture that captures all 17. A picture speaks a thousand words, right?
Some people may look at this picture and think these goals are too broad or unrealistic; however, keep in mind this is only a picture to illustrate the 17 goals. There is detailed information, progress, targets and indicators regarding each goal which can be found here
You may be reading this and think to yourself, “I am just one person, I cannot make a change.” To that thought, I respond with this video.
Remember that you are not alone in trying to create a positive change. Start by choosing your favourite goal or the one that means the most to you. Think of ways that you can implement the sustainable goals locally in your town. Keep in mind that all the goals are interconnected, therefore, as we make efforts to implement one, we are simultaneously aiding another goal. For example, the first two goals are closely connected: many people around the world go hungry because they live in poverty.
The SDGs are a global movement in which we hold ourselves and our governments accountable. If everyone takes on the responsibility to educate and inform other people about the SDGs while simultaneously using the knowledge they have learned, these goals will be achieved. Below is a list of some ways you can contribute to the SDGs:
Decrease your meat intake. You don’t have to go full-blown vegan but try not to eat meat every single day or in every single meal of the day. Numerous studies have found a link between meat production and climate change.
Use less plastic: grocery shop with your own bags, use glass containers to package your food, etc.
Call people in, not out. If you find that a person is being discriminatory, rather than calling them out, call them in. This means approaching the person with intentions of educating them rather than penalizing them for what they did wrong.
Lobby Parliament. This can be done by finding your MP, expressing your concern about the SDGs, and asking them what they are currently doing and will do to ensure these goals are met.
I want to address a comment made by Steven Lee, a climate change activist; he said the SDGs need to as ubiquitous and familiar as Coca-Cola.
Educate, advocate, and act! Here is a great example of advocacy by the Japanese star Piokotaro.
- Food Fund: BMOS Students Combatting Hunger Create Recovered Produce Delivery Service
- Trick or Eat with Western Meal Exchange
- Neil Pasricha Provides Western Students with the “Equation to Happiness”
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