Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): How to Put Them In Practice?

Have you ever heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)? Or were you intrigued when you saw the acronym SGD? You may probably know that these are 17 goals and have something to do with the UN, but, what are they REALLY about? And how to put them in practice?

A few of context for the Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all Member States in 2015 as a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

The 17 goals are integrated, recognizing that interventions in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Who must be worried about achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?

The global goals are important, world-changing goals that will require cooperation between governments, international organizations and world leaders. It seems impossible that ordinary people can make a difference. But will you just give up?

No! Change starts with you. It really does. Each and every human being in the world, even the most indifferent and lazy, is part of the solution. Luckily, there are easy things we can introduce into our routine and, if we all do it, we will make big changes.

17 goals to choose one by one

The 17 SDGs 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 Inequality
  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 17 goals are interconnected with each other, with the consequence that by influencing one, others are also affected. For example, combating the threat of climate emergency impacts how we manage natural resources, thereby achieving gender equality or improving the quality of healthcare systems, which in turn, would contribute to poverty eradication, fostering peace and inclusiveness that will reduce disparities and help economies to prosper. Although there are some of the 17 goals that focus on the environment and the ecosystem.

What can you do to improve sustainable development in the ecosystem?

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action

People are experiencing the consequences of climate change on their own skin. These include changes in weather patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events.

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities are increasing this threat. In fact, emissions have never been higher. If we do not act, the world's average surface temperature could rise by about 3 degrees Celsius this century, and in some areas of the planet it could be even worse. The poorest and most vulnerable people will be the hardest hit.

Thing to do:
  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and unplugging them completely when not in use, including your computer.
  • Share, don't just click "like". If you see an interesting post on social media about women's rights or climate change, share it so that people in your network see it too.
  • Speak out! Ask local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don't harm people and the planet. Ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference, you can sign this petition to ask leaders to reach an agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Buy local. Supporting local businesses helps people keep their jobs and helps keep trucks from having to travel long distances.

Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water

The world's oceans, their temperature, chemistry, currents and life drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humanity.

Our rainfall, drinking water, climate, weather, coastlines, much of our food and even the oxygen in the air we breathe come from and are regulated by the sea. Historically, the oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Prudent management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Things to do:
  • When you go to a restaurant and order seafood, always ask if they serve sustainable seafood. Let your favorite businesses know that ocean-friendly seafood is on your shopping list.
  • Buy only sustainable seafood. Now, there are apps like this one that tell you which products are safe to eat.
  • Use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup.This way, you'll reduce waste that can potentially pollute waterways and may even save money at the coffee shop.
  • Take your own bag to the grocery store. Ditch the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable bags. Less plastic in use means less plastic discarded in the future.

Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life On Land

Forests, in addition to providing food security and shelter, are fundamental to combating climate change, as they protect biological diversity and the homes of indigenous people. Every year, 13 million hectares of forest disappear and the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Deforestation and desertification caused by human activities and climate change pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.

Things to do:
  • Take fewer napkins. You don't need a handful of napkins for take-out food. Take only as many as you need.
  • Buy odd-looking fruit: Many pieces of fruit and vegetables are thrown away because they are not the "right" size, shape or color. By buying these pieces of fruit that are in good condition despite looking odd, whether at the farmer's market or elsewhere, we are using food that might otherwise end up in the trash.
  • Eat less meat and fish. More resources go into meat than into growing plants.
  • Buy products that are minimally packaged.
  • Use cardboard matches. They do not require any oil, unlike gas lighters made of plastic.

All this may inspire you to learn more about sustainable development, the 17 goals and even the economic implications of this urgent change. Check this great book!

Our Top Pick Sustainable Development Book

Economics of the SDGs: Putting the Sustainable Development Goals into Practice

sust dev book

This is the first book that employs economics to develop and apply an analytical framework for assessing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The authors explore the historical context for the underlying sustainability concept, develop an economics-based analytical framework for assessing progress towards the SDGs, and discuss the implications for sustainability policy and future research. Buy on Amazon

Climate change and sustainable development is a real topic nowadays. If you want to learn more and keep on reading about (to put in practice later) you can check Climate Crisis Books: What You Must Read to Know What's happening

I am really aware that the big pain in climate change and sustainable development is carbon footprint. For more information about you have Carbon Footprint: What This Is and What We Can Do about It and Australia fires: what caused them? and what is their impact on the environment?

So, even now, are you the lazy type of change maker? Or have you already chosen your favorite SDG?

Agostina Martino

Fashion and textile designer. Working on sustainability. Entrepreneur, creative and university teacher.

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