"To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there."
- Kofi Annan
“You must know who you are and what you stand for.”
I know I am a work in progress. Despite my imperfection, I do know what I stand for. Peace and gender equality have always been close to my heart. As I've grown older, good health and economic growth have become a priority. I focus on quality education every day as a mom. Clean energy tops the list from an environmental point of view. In other words, I've always stood for the global goals. I just didn't always know it.
“Where you want to go.”
Since I launched EarthyB, I've searched for a map to follow. I wanted a plan to work with, but nothing was big enough for all the environmental issues I wanted to write about. I've been referencing data from the United Nations and its partners from the beginning, but it wasn't until I read Factfulness by Hans Rosling that it clicked. The global goals for sustainable development are my outline. The mission is to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all people. That, my friends, is where I want to go.
Plus, every country already signed on. Why re-invent the wheel when we're already on the bus? You can see how the United States is doing here.
Now it's just a matter of taking steps to get there. Baby steps toward global goals. That, I can do.
You might see a goal or targets icon in articles moving forward. That doesn't mean I'm writing on behalf of the UN agenda. The last thing I want to do is to be part of the PR machine for a giant bureaucracy. I don't even agree with all the targets. I'll probably end up ranting about them at some point. But for me, it's important to know that what I write feeds into a bigger plan.
"And why you want to get there."
If the global goals are reached by their target date in 2030, what an astonishing accomplishment that will be for us all. The 17 global goals are:
- No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
- Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
- Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
- Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
- Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
- Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
- Reduce Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
- Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
- Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
- Life On Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
- Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Along with the above goals are 169 targets. Each goal has several targets, and each target has several indicators. The indicators help us measure if goals are on track to be reached by 2030.
Can you imagine what the world would look like if we met all the goals? It's almost too big to picture, but I don't think it's impossible.
How Do We Get There?
This isn't part of Kofi Annan's quote. I took some creative license by adding it, which seems fitting since I'm taking a lot of creative licenses just trying to show how we can all work toward the goals. But knowing how to get there is just as important as knowing where we're going. I believe the how is the missing piece. I intend to fill in that piece by showing you how we can each contribute in a small way. It's a big promise. I hope I can deliver.
How Do The Global Goals Fit With The Environmental Movement?
You may have wondered how are the global goals connect to the environmental movement. Some of the goals have an obvious connection; Sustainable Cities, Clean Energy, Climate Action. But what does the Zero Hunger goal have to do with the environment? Well, one of its targets is "sustainable food production and resilient agricultural practices." That's just a politically correct way of saying we shouldn't use so much space for cattle, and that leads us back to "how do we get there?" Yes, we can eat less meat. But what if you're a hamburger lover like me? Impossible Burger offers a solution. Other sustainable meat companies are working on similar alternatives. So there you have it. How we get there and how the global goals fit with the environmental movement all rolled into one.
I'll end with another quote from Kofi Annan. Annan was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. He received the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN in 2001. Annan died On August 18, 2018, leaving behind his wife, Swedish lawyer Nane Lagergren, and three adult children. He was one of the most inspiring leaders of the United Nations.
More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.
– Kofi Annan