Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sustainable Development Goals: The Global Goals And What You Can Do

This image represents the world that is possible if we hit just ONE, of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

Fifteen years ago, world leaders came together and set array of goals toward building a better world. Among the foremost in these goals was to cut in half the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Any time an individual or group sets a goal, the initial goal setting is met with a mix of hope, expectation, cynicism, and critique, and justifiably so. People make commitments all of the time, but what is often lacking is follow through. At the same time when people make bold commitments, our imaginations are enlivened as we visualize a different world coming into being.

Last Friday, the United Nations came together to set an array of new goals for the year 2030. Again these Global Goals have been met with a mixture of cynicism and hope. Personally I choose the perspective of hope, and here's why. Without a bold goal and a vision of what is possible, we can get satisfied with the status quo. We can get caught up in "this is the way things have always been and this is the way they will always be." I believe we have been given our imaginations to dream of a different world, and we have been given our bodies and our wills to take steps toward making those dreams a reality.

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed upon. Want to learn more about what they are? My good friend Aerie Changala, Nuru's Director of International Operations, recently wrote a post listing these goals and how Nuru has already been working toward many of them. That's another part of the reason I'm hopeful. These aren't goals that have come out of nowhere. They are attainable, and if we increase the level of our commitment toward these goals, and more people choose action over apathy, these goals are well within reach. We, regular people like you and me, could be part of seeing these goals become reality. We each have a part to play.

So what can we do? To start, I recommend checking out the ONE Campaign's website. ONE is a movement of more than seven million members who are taking decisive action to see the end of extreme poverty in our lifetime. ONE advocates using your voice to keep these goals in front of our governments and on the minds of our neighbors.

In addition, I recommend looking into organizations that are doing great work toward hitting these seventeen goals. Commit yourself to getting involved in this worthwhile work. Join our efforts at Nuru and help raise funds and awareness for Nuru to take its model to even more households that are needlessly suffering in extreme poverty. (Ending extreme poverty by 2030 is one of the seventeen goals.)

Third, take decisive actions to lower your ecological footprint. I believe a large reason why we are seeing global injustice on the rise is because we seem to be focused on the pursuit of excess and ongoing self-indulgence. What if each of us chose to make do with a little less? What if we gave more of our time and resources to the betterment of others? What if we chose to walk or ride a bike instead of drive sometimes during our week? What if we made it a habit to turn off lights and appliances when not in use? Not only would these activities be good for our health and well-being and that of the planet, but they would also allow us to save money too.

One other thing you can do is nothing. You can choose to be a spectator, sit on the sidelines, and watch as the rest of the world takes action and sees these goals to their completion. But where is the joy in that? I believe each one of us is at our best when we not only make a commitment, but we take decisive actions toward improving the lives of others and choosing toward reflecting a little bit of the hope and light that comes from living with a diminished focus on ourselves.

So what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking,  and we have less than 5,480 days to see these goals become a reality. Let's do our part to hit these goals and build a better world for everyone!!!

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