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Let’s join the world and work for a sustainable future
Greta Thunberg, after traveling for two weeks from Sweden on a carbon-neutral sailboat, arrived at New York harbor. There to greet her were 17 sailboats, each depicting one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Some of the public that greeted her had posters of the goals but generally they have not gotten much coverage. And they should.
The United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. The UN website states that these goals “are a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”
The 17 goals are:
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 for the goals.
The UN graphic should be recognized all over the world. It is apparently more recognized in Europe than in the United States.
The city of Bonn, Germany financed the development of the BiWiNa SDG Blocks. These blocks represent one goal each and replicate the design and colors of the logo. The idea is for groups of people to get together and arrange the blocks, trying to accurately depict the inter-dependencies of the goals.
There is a website for data about the United States progress on these goals (https://sdg.data.gov/). When the goals and their 169 targets were adopted in 2015, 193 member countries signed on. The developed nations were pledging to spent 0.7 percent of gross domestic product for development aid, a pledge that has been met by only a few.
Our country has several websites related to work on these 17 SDGs. SDGUSA (http://sdgusa.org) is about the sustainable development goals for the US. There is a U.S. map and with clickable states. Each state has information about its goals for 2030 and how it is doing. Each individual state has a list of goals and progress, an option to drill down lists more detailed goals and actions.
There has been very little outreach to involve the grassroots in these efforts.
Now that we know about it we can spread the word. Different departments and committees could be focusing on appropriate goals helping to move the country to meeting them by 2030. I don’t believe this will happen without grassroots participation.
Good jobs? Employers, business owners, entrepreneurs, boards of directors, are the people that can make this happen. For those that are reluctant, public pressure should be brought to bear. Ending hunger is a goal that in some ways we have a lot of positive momentum on in our area. We have community supported agriculture and with EBT benefits both the local farmers and the low income buyers profit, one by being paid for their labors, the other by being able to have good, nutritious food.
These goals could be examined one by one and examples can be found for each one that we can look at locally and nationally and globally. As food is on the positive side locally, we know that is not true country wide nor globally. When we strengthen the positive steps we take locally, we need to work on how to replicate the step in a different environment.
In the past, whenever I was asked what I meant by sustainability I had difficulty answering. These 17 goals are the perfect definition. They are something everyone who cares about sustainability can get behind and they are global. Working together with other countries we can make these goals achievable.
I suggest a visit to the UN SDG site https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs is worth the effort. Here you will find pages on each of the 17 goals with progress and information for the years 2016 to 2019, plus targets and indicators.
Lets join the world and work for a sustainable future.
Nancy Riebschlaeger, of Wendell, co-chairs the Energy Committee and chairs the Planning Board.
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