Although progress has been made ever since the establishment of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the problems that we are facing have not yet been alleviated. Thus, member states around the world - developing and developed - decided to come up with Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to tackle the issues that we all face. They recognize that all issues presented are interconnected, as such in order to solve these problems, members of the global community or global citizens must work hand in hand to alleviate the current issues of our time. Despite our age, everyone of us can all help achieve the SDGs.
SDG 1: No Poverty
Despite the world progressing rapidly and becoming more interconnected, sadly the wealth gap is also becoming wider. Thus, the need to be inclusive has become more crucial than ever before. As fellow citizens, we can do many things that would aid in the development of others. Objects and items that we might not need can be useful to those who are in a worse condition than we are in. Donations of things that we don’t use anymore will in fact help those who can’t afford these items given that 700 millions of us are still living in extreme poverty. For many of us who are living in first world countries, there are many hurdles that those in poorer countries have to face that we don’t know.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
With so many living in extreme poverty, the presence of hunger would be inevitable. According to research, the world's farmers produce enough food to feed 1.5x the global population. That's enough to feed 10 billion (we are at 7.6 billion currently). Despite this excess, hunger still exists. As an individual, you can support others who are in need by simply donating food that we are not eating to local food banks that would later be transferred to those who struggle to feed themselves. This simple action ensures that many would have food on their table and reduce food waste worldwide which is a huge problem for many countries in recent years.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
People living in a low-income country are far more likely to die of a communicable disease than a noncommunicable disease. Despite the global decline, six of the top 10 causes of death in low-income countries are communicable diseases. Despite the decrease in deaths from Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, they still remain in the top 10. Spreading awareness of the need for immunizations for children at a young age is important. Thus we can volunteer and help out in health campaigns as well as donations that aim to provide vaccines for people in low-income countries.
SDG 4: Quality Education
Without a doubt, education plays an integral role in the development of an individual and a country. As a matter of fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that our society wouldn’t have prosper without the presence of education. In order for developing countries to develop and to reduce the gap between the poor, it is crucial to provide quality education for everyone. Sadly not everyone can afford a quality education. Thus we can volunteer to teach underserved communities, participate in educational campaigns, and donate to organizations that aim to build schools and educational institutes in poor countries.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
In the recent decade, gender equality has become one of the most discussed topics worldwide and since then there has been much improvement in gender equality. There have been more opportunities opened up for women. However, there are still inequalities between genders in low-income countries. Given the situation, we need to campaign for more awareness on the topic as well as campaigning for policies that will help to empower girls and women.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Just as many are suffering from the lack of food, they are also living with a shortage of clean water and sanitation. The scarcity of these necessities is the cause of many diseases in lower-income countries. Thus, providing them with a clean source of water and sanitation would ensure them a better life. In order to help these people, we can volunteer in projects that help to create a clean water source for these people or to donate to organizations that are committed to end this deprivation of clean water and sanitation.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
With the trend of clean energy on the rise, many countries have been putting money into the development of renewable energy suppliers. In 2017, a total of $21.4 billion were invested into clean energy. However, only 12% went to Less-developed countries (LDCs). With this low percentage put into LDCs, without long there will be a wide gap between the LDCs and other countries. Thus it is crucial to campaign to raise social awareness and vote for politicians that really care about this problem.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
For sustainable and inclusive economic growth, it is essential to provide decent work for all. In order to achieve such goals, as a community, we need to actively organize mentoring programmes that include people with expertise in various fields as a form of preparation for young people with their future job. Last but not least, buy from your local producer, support local economic growth by choosing to buy from local producers and businesses.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
With the aim of achieving sustainable and inclusive industrialization, it is important for all of us to campaign for awareness as well as voting for politicians who support policies that are committed to inclusive industrialization.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
Given that wealth gap and inequalities within and among countries have been becoming a bigger problem as the world progress, there is a need to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. In accordance with this goal, we should support politicians and policies that aim to provide equal opportunities irrespective of one’s identity.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, it is essential to make people more aware of the importance of sustainable infrastructure. Moreover, we can support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
As society develops, there will be more products and items produced for our needs. However, sometimes they can be detrimental to the “health” of the planet. As such, being a responsible consumer ensures a better care for our planet. Therefore, we need to become more aware of our purchases, what we buy and the things that come along with it. Reusing our things and reducing purchase of products that we don’t need would also decrease the production of those things we don’t need or that is causing harm to the environment.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Global warming is no hoax, it is happening fast and it is the result of our lack of awareness. By volunteering in campaigns to spread awareness about saving energy and reduce the production of unnecessary products, we are already helping to reduce one of the largest causes of global warming - CO2 emissions. Thus it is important for us to take action and reduce our CO2 emissions.
SDG 14: Life Below Water
Many items and waste of ours are not naturally degradable or take a very long time. However, during their long period of existence, they can cause detrimental harm to animals, especially plastic. Plastic on average takes at least 500 years for plastic bags to decompose, but they are one of the most commonly used objects in our daily life. It is now time for us to learn how to say NO to objects such as plastic bags and straws. Though saying NO can be challenging, our effort in reducing the use of objects such as plastic would surely help animals that are living below water.
SDG 15: Life On Land
Not only do marine animals suffer from human activities, so do animals that live on land. Due to an increasing rate of deforestation for farming land and production of paper, thousands of species are going extinct from losing their living habitat. It is our moral responsibility to act upon this problem, spread awareness of the issue and campaign to stop uncontrolled deforestation.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions
In order to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, it is our job to support politicians that are committed to these goals and raising people's awareness over this subject.
SDG 17: Partnership for the goals
It is impossible to achieve these ambitious goals by ourselves and it is crucial to collaborate towards these goals. Thus we, the people should all work hand in hand to raise our awareness, share the knowledge and ways to achieve the SDGs as this is the responsibility of all members of the community
Want to know how you can achieve these actions? Check out TGC's programs that will help you create impact as a global citizen