What Are The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

With the start of 2020, we have entered what the United Nations has declared ‘The Decade of Action’, here’s How You Can Take Part in The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

This is music to my ears, as I feel out of balance when my lifestyle doesn’t align with my values, and when the world reflects the disconnect between people and the environment. It’s time to Think Global, Act Local with the Sustainable Development Goals!

The SDG’s were created with the vision of worldwide, intentional action to support both people and the planet.

“Across the world, people are expressing their frustration around issues that are central to the SDGs: inequality, the climate crisis, corruption, violence against women and more.  The Decade of Action is an opportunity to respond to those concerns, to course-correct, and to bring the SDG roadmap to life.” -United Nations Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed.

an infographic of The UN's Sustainable Development Goals

What Can I Do To Support Sustainable Development Goals? 

Perhaps you’re excited about the momentum of a new decade, curious about International Development Week (February 2-8), or intrigued by The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World, the important thing is to act. Fortunately, no action is too big or too small. Whether you’re switching to a planetary health diet, greening your cleaning routine, or reducing food waste, you’re headed in the right direction. Keep going.

Here are a few Sustainable Development Goals you can tackle from home! 

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urbanization is happening, and fast. Half the world’s population lives in cities, and within the next 10 years, 5 billion people will live in cities. Cities account for 60-80% of energy consumption, meaning that how they are navigated and built can make a big difference. 

How can I make a difference? 

  • Advocate for -and use- public transit and cycling infrastructure. Many cycling paths have trackers to see how much they’re used and distinguish whether or not more investment would be worthwhile. 

flowers in a basket on a bicycle

  • Use the space you live into its’ fullest. A recent article by the Globe and Mail outlines how ‘Smaller Homes May Make us Happier’. Consider the time and resources that are freed up by having less space to maintain, furnish, heat and cool. 
  • Get informed on your municipal recycling guidelines. People oftentimes think something’s recyclable when it isn’t, which is causing major issues for the recycling industry. Search “recycle” and then [your city name], and there will be a simple summary or Waste Wizard to help you along! 

Related Post: Is Cardboard from Online Shopping Overloading the Recycling Industry? 

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Earth Overshoot day was the earliest ever last year (July 29). According to the UN, “Should the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.” This simply won’t work.

How can I make a difference? 

  • Waste Reduction: Get familiar with Zero Waste principles: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. Realize that taking steps towards Zero Waste means you are gradually and systematically working towards a simpler, less expensive and more practical lifestyle in all areas: the kitchen, linens, cleaning products… it’s never-ending!

a flat lay of reusable times like a bag and glass tupperware

  • Conscious Consumption: Being aware of where your purchases come from is empowering. If you like a shirt because it’s fashionable, you can also LOVE it because it’s ethically sourced. If you love it, you will keep it longer. 

Related Posts: Zero Waste Archives with the Eco Hub

Goal 14: Life Below Water.

Not only do “oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, [and] contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water,” they also buffer the effects of global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide (UN). Clearly, we need oceans, and more importantly- we need to protect the oceans.

How can I make a difference? 

  • Use non-toxic cleaning and beauty products by opting for simple DIY recipes
  • Get informed on microplastics, and reduce them. This can mean washing clothing less, purchasing different types of fabric, and making your own personal care products. Again, Zero Waste is a great way to start tackling the plastic problem! 

Related Post: DIY All-Purpose Bathroom Scrub and Cleanser

Are there other Sustainable Development Goals you are going to act on?

Follow the hashtag #goforthegoals and share your own journey!

As I continue to reduce waste, eat more vegetarian meals, and repurpose things I already own, I take pride in the changes I’ve made. I feel more connected with the environment, and have more time to go outside and enjoy the environment. No, I’m not perfect. But a consistent effort has simplified my lifestyle, connected me to the rest of the world, and just makes a whole lot of sense.

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