On October 24, 1945, countries around the world came together to sign the United Nations charter to establish the United Nations day to bring about peace and equality in the world. From then onwards, October 24 is celebrated as United Nations Day.
Amongst many things that the United Nations did, the formulation of the 17 set of Sustainable Development Goals is of primary importance as that determines the root cause of all evil on this planet, climate change and global warming.
In 2015, all the countries of the world signed a treaty and agreed to follow the 17 goals set by the UN to make the earth a liveable place for everyone. Climate change is the greatest injustice and propounder of inequality in the world. The idea of the Sustainable Development Goals originated in the 1992 Earth Summit but it took 20 years to finally hold the first Sustainable Development Summit in 2012. Today countries are working towards meeting those targets like climate action, clean water for everyone, clean energy, responsible consumption and production, preserving life below water, building sustainable communities and cities – to name a few.
But are we doing enough? What if we fail to meet the 2030 SDG target?.
Negative Impacts of Failing SDG Targets
The consequences of not meeting the 2030 target are far too intrinsic and far too many. Already countries like Scotland which have switched to clean renewable sources of energy felt the effect of their slow transition.
We are just 9 years away from the 2030 SDG target yet a vast number of countries haven’t been able to establish the SDG targets. Each SDG has been curated keeping in mind human life and climate conditions.
Whether you are looking to provide clean water and sanitation to people or you are trying to preserve life below water, it’s intrinsically connected with us and how we interact with the Earth in our daily life.
So, any disparity like rising plastic pollution is bound to affect the climate of the planet and internally our accessibility to resources like clean water and that in turn creates a struggle for life, giving rise to inequality and injustice.
This is quite visible when we are slow on acting on the goals as low income groups suffer, making way for a wider incision in our social system.
This in turn is affecting the life around us as wildlife and marine life are more in danger because of our activities.
COVID19 & SDG
The pandemic is a critical example why Sustainable Development Goals are needed. Scientists highlight that the world will see more pandemics in the next few decades because of climate related issues that are threatening species.
Today, more and more animals are jostling for space as their habitats vanish which is making them prone to spread diseases. Thus, the viruses and bacteria of one species can easily jump to another as they are interacting more, ultimately giving rise to new diseases.
So, in that way SDGs are critical for our survival. In today’s scenario people might not be concentrating funds and strategies on SDGs as the pandemic has taken center stage but they are important.
Scientists have revealed how the pandemic has brought out the interdependency of different SDGs like the SDG 3 – Health & Well Being is intrinsically connected to SDG 13 Climate Action as we witnessed in the above discussion. Similarly, clean water and sanitation is connected with health and gender inequality where women, children and low income poor communities are at the receiving end. When we fall short in achieving this, we ultimately fall short in building sustainable communities and cities which ultimately play a crucial role in curtailing climate change, as most pollution comes from our cities.
So, everything is interconnected and unless we act we can’t save this planet and most importantly ourselves
Act Now, Act Fast
So, what should we do as ordinary citizens to help the planet achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The answer lies in the way we live.
True sustainability is when our thoughts and actions are in complete harmony. It’s not about planting trees at events but a gradual change in lifestyle towards a more natural way of living. We are too dependent on chemicals, toxins and other harmful products. We exhaustively and one time use things which stay in the environment for decades, thus creating a huge waste and pollution problem which in turn is haunting us, reducing our standard of living.
So, the way out is some behavioural changes and critical lifestyle changes.
- Conserving energy by switching off the tap or the lights when not in use, making the dishwasher run the full cycle, using public transport and water transport more often, reducing the flame while cooking, and opting for renewable sources of energy like solar energy
- Switching to eco-friendly products in our daily life is one thing that everyone can do. It’s relatively easy, accessible and affordable to go for a Bamboo toothbrush over a plastic one, or change your cutleries to plant-based ones like areca leaf or sugarcane bagasse, or take up biodegradable sanitary pads, compostable trash bags instead of plastic ones. Even our cosmetics and bathing products like shampoos, conditioners, kajal, bath salts, soaps etc can turn eco friendly with natural ingredients.
- Certain behavioural changes like carrying your own water bottle, shopping bag, straws etc can go a long way in reducing toxic waste, especially plastic waste that takes 50 years or more to degrade.
You might ask how this helps in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Well, it might not seem apparent but there’s a huge impact. One single plastic toothbrush remains in the water for 50 years or more, ultimately destroying marine life. Now think about what you did when you switched to a bamboo one. Your discarded toothbrush is no longer there in the ocean rather it got decomposed in 45-60 days. The turtles and fishes are alive, the water is fresh and clean. So your food is healthy, ultimately fulfilling the criteria of health and clean water.
And when this goes right, the people are getting access to better amenities, thus eliminating inequality in society which further makes way for Sustainable communities and cities who are earning from making these products as well as getting a chance to live a sustainable life .
So, there you go the importance of Sustainable Development Goals and that’s why we need to act now and act fast to achieve them.
The future is now.