A lot can happen in a decade. In fact, a lot can happen in a year. Just look at 2020. We’ve seen the world completely shift.
It makes us question- what will 2030 look like? What do we hope for? What do we expect? This year was not what anyone hoped or expected. Thinking to the future may seem an impossibility when we don’t even know what tomorrow will hold. We are in survival mode. It seems that if we do find ourselves looking to the future, it has a cynical, negative lens.
However, in these moments of intense flux and change, we need to still have an eye of optimism to the future. We cannot lose sight of the big issues and opportunities that face society and the environment.
The future can fill us with hope for today
It is more than reasonable for many of us to view the future with a sense of trepidation and anxiety. After all, we are facing some of the biggest challenges ever faced by society. Climate change, pandemic recovery, institutionalised racism, and increasing global political tensions.
However, we can bring some optimism into these scary and fear mongering spaces.
The Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of global goals we need to achieve by 2030. They provide a way to navigate social, economic, and environmental challenges at a local and global scale in a practical, positive way. In a time of fraying international relations, these goals are more important than ever.
The United Nations and global leaders created a holistic roadmap for 2030 to bring together people, planet and prosperity. Read their vision. Read it again. Let it sink in…
‘In these Goals and targets, we are setting out a supremely ambitious and transformational vision. We envisage a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want, where all life can thrive.
We envisage a world free of fear and violence. A world with universal literacy. A world with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social wellbeing are assured. A world where we affirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and where there is improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious. A world where human habitats are safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.
We envisage a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination; of respect for race, ethnicity and cultural diversity; and of equal opportunity permitting the full realisation of human potential and contributing to shared prosperity. A world which invests in its children and in which every child grows up free from violence and exploitation. A world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerments have been removed. A just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
We envisage a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. A world in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural resources- from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas- are sustainable. One in which democracy, good governance and the rule of law, as well as an enabling environment at the national and international levels, are essential for sustainable development, including sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger. One in which development and the application of technology are climate sensitive, respect biodiversity and are resilient. One in which humanity lives in harmony with nature and in which wildlife and other living species are protected.’
Read it again..!
Now, if you got to a point and skipped some sentences, then I want you to go back and re-read those words. Picture them. Think of the people and natural environments that need this global transformation.
Think of those people who will benefit from an equitable, sustainable and resilient future. How will our lives change? What do you want to tell your loved ones about the year 2030?
Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the UN is a document that shares not just the vision but also the roadmap for sustainable transformation.
To bring these to life, there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each goal has a set of targets, indicators and supporting resources to help Governments, businesses and citizens to reach these goals.
SDGs in Action: Spain
Last year on my travels, I was fortuante enough to meet with the Spanish Government to hear about their comprehensive plan to embed the Sustainable Development Goals in all policy and key decision making. I interviewed Álvaro Gallego Peris who works in the High Commissioners Office for the Spanish Government. He said in the interiew ‘The Sustainable Development Goals are important to us as it helps us shape a society that is engaged, healthy and strong. It also allows us to understand what it means to be a global citizen and for these reasons, we believe the Government has a strong role to play in driving the agenda so no one is left behind.’
Check out the interview here.
17 weeks, 17 SDGs
The SDGs are a space of hope, optimism and action. These 17 goals hold ambitious opportunities for us to act on the biggest challenges facing our world.
There are a bit over 17 weeks left in the year. My plan is to blog about one goal a week for 17 weeks.
I will share positive stories of change and reflect on how some of the leaders I met last year on my travels are unlocking action to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. I hope it will start a conversation within our community about how we can act on the SDGs today to build a better tomorrow.
I hope this practice will inspire us to act for a sustainable, equitable, thriving 2030! Who is ready?!
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Now you may have noticed, this year I’ve not written much on Planet B Insights. Balancing a new job in the wild world of the pandemic has brought a range of challenges. My headspace is often jumbled, exhausted and full of guilt for not doing more in this world. I was fearful and anxious about what the next day held. Not to mention an intense sense of missing my family and friends. However, recently I’ve started doing the Resilience Project 21 day wellbeing journal. It focuses on Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness. By reflecting on this year, I have realised my focus was really negative. I focused on all the things I am not doing and felt a general cynicism about the world.
I am telling you this because if you’re feeling in any way similar that you’re not alone. Sometimes the hardest thing is to check in with yourself and ask how you’re really going. I avoided that question for most of this year and just tried to put on a brave face. I didn’t question my routines, mindsets and practices that were slowly drowning me. So this SDG 17 week challenge is a way for me to focus on positive action. If you’d like to contribute to the SDG conversation, please reach out below. Or if you’d like to share your tips about staying positive in this time, I would love to hear from you!