“The 2030 Agenda compels us to look beyond national boundaries and short-term interests and act in solidarity for the long-term…They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
For those who are not familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they represent the United Nations’ effort in championing and creating a common set of development goals for all communities around the world. The implementation of the sustainable development agenda began back in January this year, and will run through to 2030.
The 17 new goals are broad and truly ambitious, calling out to both developing and developed countries to join forces in making concrete improvements to the lives of their citizens. Encompassing social, environmental and economic aspects some examples include: “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, “reduce inequality within and among countries” and “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.
Although it might seem impossible for the average person to make a difference, change definitely starts at an individual level. Here’s a few tips from the ‘Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World’ on how you can adopt easy steps to make an impact:
From the couch:
Stay informed. Get enthusiastic about learning. Follow your local news and @GlobalGoalsUN on social media.
Share interesting social media posts about things like climate change or women’s empowerment - always spread the knowledge!
Speak up! Ask your local municipality to engage in initiatives that will help sustain our people and planet.
Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turn them off when they are not in use.
Turn off the lights you don’t need.
Pay your bills online. Go electronic and avoiding printing. Use digital notes instead of paper!
Take short showers and avoid long baths. A 5 to 10 minute shower will surely do the job.
Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of powering up a machine. When washing your clothes, always make sure the load is full.
Change your eating habits. Eat less meat, poultry and fish. Much more resources are needed to provide meat compared to plants.
Freeze fresh produce as well as leftovers before they go bad. You will save food and money.
Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminium - help keep landfills from growing.
Replace your older appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs.
Install solar panels in your house if you have the option. This will drastically reduce your electricity bill!
Shop local. Support local businesses instead of buying imported goods with high carbon footprint.
Shop smarter. Plan your meals ahead and use shopping lists to avoid buying things you don’t need!
Say yes to the ‘funny looking fruit’. Buy these equally good odd looking fruit at the farmer’s market that otherwise will be thrown out.
Take fewer napkins. You surely don’t need that much napkins to eat your takeout.
Say no to plastic. Use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. Get an eco-friendly shopping bag from Alosra and pass on all the plastic bags.
Shop for sustainable seafood. Let your local grocer know that ocean-friendly seafood’s on your shopping list.
Carpool to save fuel when you’re going out in big groups. On cooler days why not cycle your way to shorter trips.
These are only a few things you can do, explore UN.org/action2015 and GlobalGoals.org to find out other ways you can engage more actively in translating the global goals into concrete actions. Also, don’t forget to join the UN Foundation mailing list for regular updates: http://www.unfoundation.org/how-to-help/sign-up.html