Small steps leads to big change
There are lots of different types of action that you can take for the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Some you can do with your classmates, with your team or with your family. Every action counts and we love if you will share yours. Maybe you cleaned a beach like @yinyangina on Instagram, maybe you planted a tree or created a new Impact Game for the goal you care most about.
We will bring all your actions to the UN General Assembly September 2018 were world leaders are together.
OKAY. Let’s do this.
What change would you like to see in the world?
Use these 6 steps as a guiding tool to discover what you are passionate about and get some ideas of what is in your capacity to help.
Be innovative, identify your passion, and think about what makes you spark.
1 Find Your Cause
What problems have you seen, heard, read about, or experienced that sparked your interest or concerned you?
2 Observe & Understand
Why is this issue important? In order to make your community a better place for people, other animals and the environment, you need to first understand who lives there and if everyone’s need are being met.
3 Passions & Assets
The next step is to identify and think about what personal passions and assets you have that can help make a difference. What makes you spark?
4 Choose Your Action Strategy
You can lead change through Awareness, Service, Advocacy, or Philanthropy.
5 Add It Up
Now you know your goal. You are ready to take action and make real change happen for the world and where you live.
6 Make Change Happen & Celebrate
Execute and have a lot of fun with it. Maybe you need to repeat your event/action or tweak it a bit to make it more effective.
We believe the Goals are only going to be completed if we can make them famous.
But wait, let’s recap. What are the Sustainable Development Goals again?
In September 2015 World Leaders committed to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. 17 goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things by 2030. End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Tackle climate change.
You can say The Global Goals is the ultimate To-Do list for the world:
- The Global Goals address worldwide challenges. This means they are for everyone; whether you live in Nairobi or New York City.
- Every Global Goals contain specific sub-goals and a plan of how to achieve the them.
- Each Global Goal is considered equally important and none should be neglected.
- The Global Goals mutually support each other, helping to ensure that we achieve the global goals by 2030. For example, access to electricity will allow a child to study after sunset. If this electricity comes from a sustainable source of energy such as solar power (goal 7), this in turn will help fight climate change (goal 13) and the solar power industry can support the sustainable economic development of developing countries (goal 11).
- In order to reach the Goals by 2030, we all need to work together, take responsibility, and remember that even the very small things makes a world of a difference.
Is that something you believe can be improved? Believe us, you are not the only one.
The manpower of 1.8 billion people, play a crucial role to transform this from a plan to real action. You and all the young people will be the ones influenced by success or failure of these Goals.
The Global Goals are only going to work if we fight for them – and you can’t fight for your rights if you don’t know what they are.
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
What is it about?
- No extreme poverty, no one lives with less than 1.25 USD a day.
- Reducing the number of people living in poverty by half.
- No matter who you are, you have equal rights to economic resources and basic services.
- Build resilience of vulnerable communities to climate disasters and other environmental, social and economic emergencies.
Sounds like a big mission?
Oh yes, it is: there are more than 1 billion people living with less than 1.25 USD a day. But you can easily help to end this.
How can you start?
The number of people living in poverty is highly connected to the unemployment rate and the lack of education amongst most vulnerable communities.
Organize and/or take part in an entrepreneurship training: Increasing the amount of entrepreneurs is a solution. It would provide more people with jobs and income, thus eradicating poverty. Invite local entrepreneurs to your class to deliver trainings or find an existing program to develop skills for yourself and your class.
Organize and/or take part in a job and skills training program: By improving and learning new skills you and your peers become more competent to enter the job market and get employed. You can invite or organize a meet-up with professionals from different fields – can even be your parents – in your school, university or local community space.
Learn about economic rights, savings, credit and debt management: Convince your teacher/professor to run a class about rights on land and property, policies influencing small businesses, financing and microloans. Start making a personal and family budget to learn financial management and be prepared to manage your finances.
Raise awareness about social protection programs: A majority of the countries have policies to protect vulnerable communities through different subsidies and other benefits. Some people don’t even know about this and are therefore not standing up for their rights. Inform yourself about this topic and then spread the information to all the people in your surroundings – friends, family, even your neighbours who you only greet in the hallway.
Support campaigns collecting items for victims of various emergencies: Various development agencies (Red Cross, UNICEF etc.) run campaigns to support communities which are affected by the disasters. Donate your clothes, food supplies etc. to support those in need.
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
What is it about?
- No one goes to bed hungry.
- Everyone has enough nutritious food to stay healthy.
- Increase agricultural productivity and access to resources for local producers.
- Increase investment in rural infrastructure and agricultural research.
Why this matters:
Around 1 in 8 people in the world were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger. Even if you are lucky enough not to be among them, there might be people in your school, apartment block or neighborhood who are going to bed hungry.
How can you start?
Donate to food banks: Approximately, 1.3 billion tons of food gets lost or wasted every year. Make sure you donate leftovers from your personal events like birthdays, graduation etc. or school/university ones to the nearest food bank to help people in need.
Organize a day to feed people in local shelters: Volunteer with your friends in a local shelter to collect and give away food or even make it a regular class activity.
Learn how to cook: By learning how to cook you make healthier and more nutritious food to stay healthy.
Educate yourself and others on nutrition: Our health depends on the food we consume. By learning more about nutrition and following a healthy diet, you will increase your productivity and strengthen your health. Make sure to check food nutrition while shopping.
Buy from local farmers/producers: Make it a habit of buying food from the local shops or markets to support local farmers and their businesses.
Do research/write a paper related to agricultural advancement: The agricultural sector requires innovation and technological advancement to grow productivity and ensure sustainability. Educate yourself on new agricultural practices and share it with your class to raise awareness.
ENSURE HEALTHY LIVES AND PROMOTE WELL-BEING FOR ALL AT ALL AGES
What is it about?
- Every child witnesses his or hers 5th birthday
- Reduce the number of people suffering from mental illnesses by one third.
- End epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases
- Strengthen prevention and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse
- Significantly reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents
- Provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health services
- Ensure equal and fair access to medicine for all
Did You Know:
Immunization currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however, if global vaccination coverage improves (source – World Health Organization, WHO). And it’s only 1 of the targets that influences 1.5 million lives.
Do you want to contribute to a healthier world?
Use protection when having sexual relations: This will significantly reduce AIDS epidemics and prevent STDs. Educate yourself on this topic.
Use vaccination: Lack of vaccination coverage is a leading cause of death from preventable diseases. Check out which vaccines you need by asking your doctor, school/university or check the website of the World Health Organization.
Educate yourself about the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse: Conscious and responsible consumption among young people can reduce negative impacts from substance abuse. Equip yourself with enough information about the topic and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if needed.
Volunteer at a hospital: You can check out volunteering opportunities in your local hospital to support its operations which help to increase the hospital’s human capacity and their productivity to save lives.
Organize a visit to a hospital: Organize a class visit to a hospital to learn more about relevant health issues in your country.
Organize conversation circles with your relatives, friends or colleagues: Social isolation of people with diseases is a common problem in communities. To host an open conversation can be a solution to integrate people with particular diseases or to start an honest discussion about health issues within a family or a friend group. You can approach a counsel or in your school or university to get more guidance about this. This is closely related to approaching mental diseases, opening up about HIV/AIDS or STDs.
Drive responsibly: One of the goals is to reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents. Having a driving license is a privilege and responsibility so make sure to follow traffic signs and rules. Don’t use your mobile phone while driving and do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Organize a road safety event in your class/workplace to educate peers about the topic.
Donate blood: Be aware of your local blood donation centers to support blood banks with the supplies needed to help people in an emergencies. Initiate a blood donation center in your school, university or workplace once per semester or year.
Help rural or emergency areas with equal access to medicine: Not all of the people have equal access to medicine, especially in rural areas. Run a campaign to donate medicine that will be passed to rural or emergency areas. You can visit these areas to raise awareness and educate locals on the health care basics and hygiene.
ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
What is it about?
- Every child gets 12 years of education.
- Equal access to education for all.
Your education gets you employed.
- Affordable and quality technical education, including university.
- Every young person knows how to read and write.
- All learners are educated about sustainable lifestyles.
- Build safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments.
If you are among the youth that has or had a chance to go to school, you are lucky! There are a lot of reasons why youth and kids drop out of education. Conflict and natural disasters have disrupted the education of 75 million children. Moreover, there are 168 million child labor workers aged 5 to 17, which leads them to drop out of schools.
How can you start?
Run an awareness campaign on the importance of education: There are a lot of young people who don’t have access or abandon their education for different reasons. Run a campaign advocating for the importance of 12 years of education for every boy and girl to make sure that more parents and kids are aware of this issue.
Donate your books: the easiest way to give access to knowledge is to donate your used books to someone. Organize a class fare to collect the study books and donate them to kids who don’t have resources to buy them.
Fundraise for a local school: A lot of schools give scholarships and donations to kids. You can support an education of a person by organizing a charity event or campaign in your school, university etc. to gather money for underprivileged young people.
Promote and take free online courses: In a digital world, there are more opportunities to get access to education than just go to university. There is a big variety of online courses that can teach theoretical and practical skills and prepare you for a future career. Encourage your friends to take them.
Organize workshops on your area of knowledge to teach others: You can learn a lot from your friends and peers. If you are in high school or university, set a list of extra curriculum classes to share about your field of expertise with other classmates. You can organize a meet-up with other schools/universities/young people out of schools to share the knowledge. If you are a young professional, dedicate your time to mentor young people still in training.
Organize events with organizations to gain relevant hard and soft skills: Engage professionals to educate you and your peers about highly demanded skills. You can run open events to engage underprivileged youth to get access to this knowledge as well.
Volunteer at a kindergarten: You can contribute with innovative ideas and formats to teach younger kids by having your own experience in education.
Provide tutoring and homework assistance: Dedicate 1-2 hours per week to help to teach young people who don’t have access to education or don’t have resources to hire a tutor.
Teach English: Volunteer with NGOs or by yourself to provide access to English for young people and adults who didn’t have this opportunity. English fluency is one of the most demanded skills for employment in a globalized world.
Deliver the lessons about the SDGs: To make more young people aware of the importance of the sustainable lifestyle spread this Guide to your friends and family members, as well as run a class or educational session about the Sustainable Development Goals. You can use lessons created by us with our partners – World’s Largest Lesson for youth
Stop Bullying: Educational institutions should be safe, especially for the emotional and physical well-being of students. Make sure you call out bullies and your class has space for open conversation to educate kids and discuss cases of bullying in schools.
Petition your school to have accessible facilities: Schools and universities need to be accessible for everyone. Currently, not all of the schools are adapted to educate kids and youth with disabilities, thus isolating them from social interaction with
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
What is it about?
- No discrimination based on gender.
- End violence against women.
- Equal access to leadership positions and resources for women.
- End child marriage and female mutilation
- Enhance access of women to IT.
- Ensure access to reproductive health.
In different countries the exposure of this issue is different but the fact is: Over 150 countries have at least one law that is discriminatory towards women (source: World Bank). Look at your government, business elite or influencers. How many of them are women? 10%? 20%? Across all industries, women make up on average 9% of CEO positions. It is about time to change this, don’t you think?
How can you start?
Run a space about career planning for girls: You can run a sharing space about the career choices to challenge stereotypical thinking about career paths for girls. Invite inspiring businesswomen and entrepreneurs to deliver a class about their career paths.
Raise awareness about gender equality issues: Your voice can support equal rights for women. You can write a blog about your personal experiences, join social media campaigns, organize a gender equality event in your class or school.
Conduct an intergenerational dialogue on gender roles and norms: Initiate a regular conversation in your family about gender roles in household management, careers etc. Run a space in your class to discuss gender prejudice you observe in your everyday life.
Speak up for women in danger: Make sure that bullies in your class, workplace or even your family are called out about gender insensitive comments and actions. If those are dangerous for the health and wellbeing of victims, report the case to authorities in your school or workplace.
Educate women and girls about technology: You can start by educating yourself and your family members on how to use a computer and the internet, as well as well start taking coding, design etc. lessons online to advance your knowledge. Next, you can volunteer in an NGO to work with disadvantaged girls and train them in IT.
Educate yourself and others about reproductive health and hygiene: Start a conversation with your parents or counselor in the school about reproductive health and search for more information. Volunteer at an NGO to educate more girls about these topics, especially in rural areas.
Educate girls on their rights to end child marriage: The issue of child marriage doesn’t have enough exposure. You can support awareness campaigns in your community about this issue or volunteer to educate young girls about their rights and the dangers of an early marriage.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
What is it about?
- Make water the most basic consumer good and improve its quality.
- Everyone has access to a toilet and basic hygiene.
- Not a single drop of water is wasted.
- Protect and restore mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
Do you know why this is so important?
More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. We are talking about access to the most needed resource for people to survive. Water should not be a luxury product and neither should access to basic hygiene services.
No contribution is too small. How can you start?
Run a campaign on hygiene: Raise awareness about the hygiene issues in your community through social media, school/university campaign or even a campaign in the neighborhood you live in.
Don’t overuse water: Be mindful about using water: make sure to close a tap when washing dishes, keep those showers nice and short. Consider getting a water meter to be aware of your water usage.
Educate people on water waste: Run a test with your class to measure how much water can be saved by mindful usage and present the results. Encourage your school/university to support the contest and use the results to improve your own water management.
Volunteer to distribute drinkable water in vulnerable communities: As you read above, there are 750 million people who lack access to clean drinking water. People have to walk for kilometers every single day just to get the water they need to survive.
This especially affects children, who are forced to abandon their education because of those water runs. Volunteer on a weekly basis to help bring water to those communities and make their lives a bit easier.
Organize a river clean up: Engage your classmates or family to clean up a local river. Spread this activity to the whole school/university or building you live in.
Protect watersheds: You can plant trees on stream banks and edges that are necessary for filtering sediments and pollutants.
Make it a group activity as well
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
What is it about?
- Everyone has access to energy.
- Double the energy efficiency.
- Up-to-date infrastructure and technology to supply energy for all.
- Increase usage of renewable energy.
Even with all the innovation happening in the energy sector, only 6% of the energy used worldwide comes from renewable sources. The role of young people goes beyond conservation. It is time for youth to be actively engaged in advocacy and help communities to adapt to usage of new energy sources.
What can you do about this?
Turn off the lights when you are not using them. This will help to conserve energy.
Educate your family about not wasting power: You can ask your parents to check bills for energy use and track how your household improves over time.
Convince your parents to use solar energy sources: Make a research on renewable energy and how it can be used in a household and present the results to your parents. You can install solar panels in your home for water heating, nighttime lighting etc. and make your home more sustainable.
Switch off heating/air conditioning: Keep an eye on using those only when it’s necessary.
Don’t use multiple devices at the same time: Connectivity of devices and applications drives a behavior of using several electronic devices at the same time. Be mindful about this and actively use several devices only when it is necessary. Imagine how much energy you’re spending on charging your phone and laptop every night, just to be able to scroll through Facebook for the tenth time.
Recycle batteries: Wrong recycling of batteries can cause soil, water and air pollution. Check out information about nearby locations where you can recycle batteries and organize a class activity to collect used batteries to recycle.
Run a competition in your university around sustainable energy: Organize a project fair or competition for the best projects and research about renewable energy. It can be a part of the grade for a particular course.
Spread information about sustainable energy: The big role of youth as innovators is to spread knowledge and raise awareness about the importance of this issue. Organize or join a campaign to advocate for clean energy.
Stimulate traditional companies and government to make the transition: Voice your opinion through petitions and campaigns to push transformation of the energy sector in your country.
Help the local community to adapt: Young people are the best in managing and adapting to changes: we need to be role models in using new types of energy and energy waste management. Start with your own family and educate people in your building or neighborhood.
Support communities without access to energy: In reality, 3 billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. If there are communities like this in your country, organize
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
- Full employment and fair compensation.
- Minimum 7% annual growth of the economies in the least developed countries.
- End forced labour and slavery.
- Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments.
- Promote skill building for youth employment.
- Implement policies to promote sustainable tourism.
Help to prepare more young people to join the workforce:
Organize after-school workshops and sharing spaces: You can invite people with a specific skill to give workshops about that topic in your school or university. You can also organize spaces where participants share their knowledge about a specific topic.
Organize a mentoring program: You can invite people with experience in a certain field to create a mentoring group that will help young people from your university to better prepare for their future jobs.
Read the labour law related to your age group in your country: Get informed about the labour law in your country more specifically about the section that addresses youth labor.
Don’t buy from companies that exploit children: You can search online which are the brands that use child labour to produce their products.
Sign up to learn new skills and attend career days: To increase your employability chances you can complement your studies with practical skill learning. Subscribe to workshops online or on campus.
Buy from local producers: Support local economic growth by choosing to buy from local producers and businesses.
Promote your city and country: Support tourism by being an ambassador of your country and city by promoting it to your cross-regional or international friends.
Run professional orientation in your class: Talk to your teacher or school counselor to run orientation tests in your class.
Run a training for youth from rural areas: Young people from rural areas often don’t have access to after school training, you can help by inviting people with specific skills to run workshops.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Double the number of employees in industry in the least developed countries.
- Universal access to the Internet.
- Enhance scientific research.
Here is some context: While the world talks about the 4th Industrial Revolution, there are 4 billion people who still don’t have internet access (and we are not talking about 4G here). We have cars without drivers but there are countries that lack quality roads or public transportation.
Young people are catalysts of innovation.
Here are ideas for you to support this Goal:
Organize workshops run by people working in industrial fields in secondary schools: A great way for young people to know which careers they can pursue is by talking with people that are already working in the field. You can invite people working in different industries to your school to share their experience and skills. This will help to promote careers in the industrial field.
Organize or participate in a Think Tank contest: You can foster your and your colleagues’ entrepreneurial spirit by organizing a local idea contest and inviting companies or startups to mentor the winners.
Have IT classes in your school: Ask your school to have IT classes or after school workshops focused on developing coding and other IT skills. This will prepare more young people to deal with technology.
Approach your school or university to have an open wireless network: This will help to have equal access to knowledge and opportunities to youth without constant Internet access.
Create a hotspot map: There are a lot of public spaces with free WiFi access. By mapping them out in your neighborhood and spreading through social media, flyers or announcements in your building you can help more people access the internet.
Organize a science fair in your school: You can organize and participate in science fair to stimulate
REDUCE INEQUALITY WITHIN AND AMONG COUNTRIES
- Bridge the income gap between rich and poor.
- The safe mobility of refugees and migrants.
- Promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
As you see, there are a lot of issues surrounding the topic of equality. We have all felt discriminated against, at least once. Who you are, what you have or who you love is still an issue for some people. Beyond your personal issues, there are young people your age trapped in another crisis – 50% of the world’s refugees are under 18 years old.
Living in the 21st century, we feel like something should be done about this:
How can you support this Goal?
Voting registration campaign: One of the issues contributing to rising inequalities is caused by the lack of representation of minorities and underprivileged groups in government. You can run a voting registration education in these groups to raise their engagement and representation in institutions of power.
Organize events that address issues affecting minorities: Underprivileged groups and minorities have lack of information about their basic rights, such as human, labour, property ownership rights, making them vulnerable towards growing inequality.
Visit local shelters, orphanages or minority community centers and organize a conversation space to discuss the importance of these rights or volunteer there regularly.
Meetings between officials and underrepresented groups: Petition meetings with local officials and underrepresented groups to share their opinions and be included as a voice no matter their age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
Support migrants and refugees in your communities: Volunteer in a local refugee camp, gather or donate appliances, food, clothes needed. You can organize a language training, cultural induction to your country, skills workshop to make their adaptation easier. Petition your government to assist in contributing to resolve the refugee crisis.
Educate yourself and friends about cultural differences: In a globalized world, you need to know and adapt to working with different cultures to make it more inclusive. Spare an hour to read an article about this and discuss with your peers and family about your discoveries.
Raise awareness about different religions and cultural heritages: After learning yourself, organize a range of cultural nights for your community (school, university, work) to eliminate prejudice against different religions and cultures.
Give your seat to the ones who need it more: By this small but constant action you can practice empathy and being more inclusive for people who don’t have same opportunities as you.
Favor companies that are inclusive: Check the lists of the companies that are inclusive for different minorities through employment there or their products and spread awareness amongst your friends about it.
MAKE CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE.
What is it about?
- Every person has decent housing.
- Development of sustainable cities and rural settlements.
- Protect vulnerable communities from disasters.
- Safe and affordable transport for all.
- Protect cultural and natural heritage.
- Universal access to public spaces.
Why this matters?
Having a place to live seems like such a normal thing, however, 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising. Rising urbanization pressures on freshwater supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health.
Your actions can make cities a better place to live:
Sign urban development petitions: Keep yourself updated about the developments in the public areas. Sign or start a petition to stop projects that are not supporting the development of sustainable cities or promote in your building/neighborhood for the ones that build better cities.
Inspect your building: Spare one hour to check the safety and inclusiveness of your building (Is it accessible for disabled/senior people? Does it have any mole or not isolated wires? etc.) Report the cases to your homeowner’s union or to a governmental institution.
Support a project in slums for safe housing: You can volunteer in slums to help with building houses, fixing existing ones, setting up public or green spaces.
Create a ‘good neighbor guide’ for your house: After inspecting your building analyze the results and come up with common actions your neighbors can take to make your housing safer and more sustainable. Present or spread amongst your neighbors to make them learn how they can improve common spaces.
Promote cultural nights: Set up a group of meetings where your local community can present the information about their cultural heritages. Try to cook traditional food, learn songs, dances or games from these cultures.
Promote and support local museums: Initiate regular class visits to museums related to your studies or interests. Volunteer in a museum to run tours or support their advertising efforts.
Commute in a sustainable way: There are so many options available – carpool, bike, walk or use public transport. All of them make your city more sustainable.
Raise awareness about disaster points and how to help: Use social media to alert and spread awareness about disasters and needed help. Refer to emergency response agencies/institutions to get needed information.
Create a young board of advisors to give advice to the government: You can create a petition to include opinion of youth in urban development, create a proposal and propose to the municipality. Pitch an idea of the board from young people with tangible ideas about city improvements.
Take care of the public spaces: Start yourself and inspire others to contribute to better public spaces – water the greenery, trim and plant trees, renovate sports areas and playgrounds, organize a cleanup etc.
Create new spaces: Set a project with your classmates to create new spaces for sports, rest or community interaction. You can make a crowdsourcing campaign to get funding and engage volunteers from nearby neighborhoods.
ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS
What is it about?
- Zero waste of natural resources.
- Cut global food losses in half.
- Reduce waste through recycling.
- Keep businesses accountable to adopt sustainable practices.
- Ensure that people know about lifestyles in harmony with nature.
Every person, on average, generates 1.2 kg of waste per day. Can you imagine? This means you create 438 kg of waste per year. Just you. Now multiply this number by the number of your family members. Pretty impressive, right? The young generation can ensure smarter usage of resources and significantly cut waste generation.
How can you start?
Reduce usage of paper: Try to not use paper at all and substitute it with electronic devices or carriers. If it is not possible, print on both sides to use fewer resources and help to sustain the number of trees.
Buy recycled goods and recycle yourself: You can find creative ways to reuse existing things in your home you wanted to get rid off. Search for DIY videos and articles for inspiration or switch on your creativity. You can also buy goods that are created from recycled materials. These actions will directly cut amount of wasted resources.
Reduce water consumption: Here are some tips: shower shorter, close the tap when washing the dishes, point out when someone in your family doesn’t, put a water meter to check how much water your flat/house is using.
Switch off electronic devices during the night: Charge your electronics during the day to disconnect them on time when they are fully charged. Keep an eye on other devices that you are not using at night (lights, air conditioner, etc) to switch them off before sleeping.
Keep your car tires inflated: This can help to reduce gas consumption so check for more information about it.
Download and use food sharing applications: You can download apps for different locations to donate your leftover food and decrease the amount of food waste in your household.
Food planning for grocery shopping and cooking: Spontaneous shopping leads to overspending and buying food that will be left over later. Create your own routine around this and make lists on your fridge, phone or notebook to plan out food for a week. Make sure you cook (or order) a reasonable amount of food so you don’t have to throw it away later.
Buy in zero-waste shops: Search for a packaging-free (zero-waste) shops nearby you and check how shopping there can help to reduce the amount of plastic, paper and other materials used for packaging.
Choose reusable products: You can have an eco bag for shopping, a plastic bottle or a cup you could re-use all the time to reduce the amount of plastic waste.
Donate old clothes and electronics: Check the list of organizations which collect things for people in need and donate your stuff that can be reused to them. This will lead to less consumption and impact on the environment.
Make your own gifts: You can be creative and make recycled gifts for your friends and family to be more sustainable with resources.
Run a workshop on reusing and recycling: Come up with a creative workshop to engage your peers with the idea of recycling. You can help to make more people aware of the impact of waste and engage them in a sustainable lifestyle.
Set up bins to separate the trash in your school or house: Initiate this idea with school/university management or an NGO that is focused on waste management.
Advocate for corporate responsibility in reducing pollution and environmental impact: Join petitions and campaigns calling out not sustainable businesses, choose and buy products from the organizations that appear on various sustainability lists.
Eat vegetarian: Try to consciously reduce amount of meat consumption. The meat industry creates a huge waste of water resources and pollution. Convince your school authorities to make one day fully vegetarian in a canteen.
TAKE URGENT ACTION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS
What is it about?
- Increase capacity on facing natural disasters.
- Education and Awareness on climate change.
Yes, it’s real. 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. Unless, humankind will start an urgent action to combat climate change, our home, planet Earth, will be in extreme danger.
How to prevent the advancement of climate change:
Deliver workshops on what to do in case of disasters: Get in touch with the institutions in charge of natural disasters in order to create the workshop in the best way. This will help to equip your peers with knowledge and make them more resilient to natural disasters.
Buy eco-friendly products: Check out the packages to see if the products are produced in an eco-friendly way. Buying eco-friendly products helps to reduce environmental impact from their production and consumption.
Track your carbon print and create an action plan to support the environment: Find an online footprint tracker to measure your own emissions and set goals to reduce it.
Consume less meat: Become vegetarian for one day a week. The meat production industry has a huge impact on environment so by consuming less meet you decrease it.
Keep your tires inflated for lower gas consumption: Less gas consumption reduces your carbon print and helps to decrease CO2 emissions.
Deliver a training session on how to prevent climate change: Now that you learned about climate action, become an activist by delivering workshops on how other people can take action and become more environmentally-conscious.
Recycling: The less waste, the safer the environment. Separate paper, glass, plastic, metal, old electronics. All of them can be recycled, bring them to the nearest recycling center.
Turn off the lights: Reduced usage of electricity helps to impact nature less.
Take public transport or bike: By using public transportation or biking you decrease carbon emissions which severely impact the environment.
CONSERVE AND SUSTAINABLY USE THE OCEANS, SEAS AND MARINE RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
What is it about?
- Reduce marine pollution.
- End overfishing and illegal fishing practices.
- Equal opportunities for small-scale fishers.
- Protect oceans and marine ecosystems.
Do you realize that it all gets back to your plate? The ocean is not our garbage bin. As much as 40 percent of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities. Moreover, over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Simply put, almost half of the world’s population relies on oceans to exist.
How can you start taking actions for oceans:
Campaigns on plastic usage: Run a campaign about the effects of wrong plastic disposal for seas and oceans.
Educate friends on the importance of oceans and marine resources: Based on the YouthSpeak Survey, only 2% of young people choose that they would contribute to Life Under Water. This means that youth is missing out on knowledge why sustaining clean oceans is important for our everyday life. Make a series of TED talk style presentations about the role of oceans in your life or show them a YouTube series about impact of waste on the oceans and lives of their inhabitants.
Be conscious about waste disposal and it’s effect on oceans: Look for tips about waste disposal to eliminate negative impact on the marine ecosystem, especially related to glass, plastic, batteries and others.
Stop using plastic bags: Usage and wrong disposal of plastic is a major cause of marine pollution. Convince your parents to stop using plastic bags in your household.
Clean up project for rivers and ocean: As mentioned in Goal 6. Clean Water, you can engage your friends and family to clean up a local river, seaside or an ocean near you. Make it a bigger event on Facebook to get support from more people who also want to help.
Don’t throw trash in rivers or oceans and call out those who do.
Buy local and legal fish: You can support small-scale producers by shopping in local markets and shops. When buying check whether the farmer has the needed documents to run a fishing business.
PROTECT, RESTORE AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE USE OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS, SUSTAINABLY MANAGE FORESTS, COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, AND HALT AND REVERSE LAND DEGRADATION AND HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS
What is it about?
- Preserve the number of forests and mountains.
- Prevent the extinction of the threatened species.
- Sustain fertile soil and land.
- Protect wildlife and prevent poaching.
The forests do not belong to us. Forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects. However, it is our role to take care of them and other land ecosystems to sustain life on land.
Eager to help? Here are some ideas:
Join policy groups to promote protection of life on land: Join an NGO or a policy group to advocate for the protection of life on land through petitions to companies and government, educational events in your local community, creating resolutions to support this cause etc. This can help to start a discussion on this topic on the governmental/corporate level.
Throw trash in the right place: By simply putting trash in a trash bin you support the cleanliness of the soil, forests, mountains which helps to avoid pollution of these ecosystems.
Organize or join projects to help maintain/build biking or hiking trails: An important way to protect forests and mountains from human influence is to create means for both to co-exist. You can create or organize a project which builds or maintains biking or hiking trails in your local forest or mountains.
Plant a tree: Make it a yearly resolution to plant a tree (or more) in your neighborhood, school garden or forest nearby. You can make it a social media challenge or just a thing amongst your friends for them to join this idea.
Don’t buy Christmas trees: Convince your parents to substitute the tree with a plastic one and reuse it from year to year, It will bring an equal amount of holiday spirit and will keep more trees safe.
Clean your local parks and forests: Organise your own or join an existing clean-up event to sustain the ecosystem of your local green space. It is easier than it sounds: grab a trash bag and collect and sort trash you find. Even 1 bag will make a difference.
Recycle paper: You can help to avoid cutting more trees by using less and recycling paper. Store all the paper you don’t need in a separate bin and take it to a special recycling institutions.
Don’t use pesticides: To protect and sustain quality of soil, don’t use chemicals while growing plants. It will help to reduce soil pollution. You can always choose natural fertilizers.
Don’t buy illegal plants or wildlife: You can help to prevent extinction of the threatened species if you are checking the source and not buying illegal plants and animals. You can check the list of endangered species in your country and globally online or in a local library.
Don’t buy products tested on animals: Check the labels on the products you buy. Check if they are tested on animals (mostly applicable to cosmetics, food, medicine products etc.) Additionally, you can search for a list online. Preventing buying from companies that test their products on animals helps to sustain the diversity of wildlife and eliminate cruel practices against animals.
Don’t visit institutions that behave in a cruel way towards animals: Stop going to circuses with animals and attend only zoos and aquariums that take good care of their animals and foster an environment of natural habitat.
Don’t buy fur or leather: Substitute fur and leather with faux ones or other materials to prevent cruel practices against animals in the fashion sector.
Adopt house animals: You can save the life of an animal by adopting a pet and not buying one.
Volunteer with street animal organizations or shelters: Help to sustain diversity and save lives of animal species by volunteering in organizations helping these pets as well as endangered species.
PROMOTE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PROVIDE ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR ALL AND BUILD EFFECTIVE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCLUSIVE INSTITUTIONS AT ALL LEVELS
What is it about?
- Reduce violence everywhere.
- End violence and torture of children.
- Equal access to legal services.
- Reduce corruption and bribery.
- Public access to information and protection of fundamental rights.
According to the United Nations, young people are not at the center of political decision-making even though almost half the world’s population is under 30 years old. It is our right as young people to speak up for what we believe in and our voices to be represented in institutions of authority. Moreover, living in the 21st century, there are still conflicts happening in the world, causing children to leave primary school in conflict-affected countries, growing poverty and ruining infrastructure.
How can you help this cause?
Educate yourself and friends about their rights and responsibilities: By knowing your rights you can protect yourself in possibly dangerous situations for your basic human and other rights. By educating others, you can help to prevent more youth and kids from getting in the situations where they would be exploited or abused, provide them with information about access to legal services and others. This should be a separate class in your educational institution.
Run community workshops for conflict resolution: Engage your teachers and peers (or colleagues) in a workshop about conflict management and resolution. This should be facilitated by a professional and can be a platform for your friends and yourself to learn about preventing violent resolution of conflicts, empathy and emotional intelligence.
Participate in meetings between officials and underrepresented groups: You can contribute with a voice of your generation in a decision-making process by taking active part in meetings with your government representative, various youth working groups etc. Globally only 2% of parliamentarians are under 30 years old. This makes youth an underrepresented group and you need make an extra effort for your rights to be reflected and protected.
Vote! Closely linked to the previous point: use your voting rights to manifest your support to particular ideas or to make your voice heard by different institutions. In the end, decisions are made by those who show up.
Run for a public post: If the two previous actions are not enough for you and you want to represent youth in official decision-making, you can always run for a public post. You can find inspiring examples around the world, for example, Minister of Youth in the UAE is just 23 years old.
Stay updated with the news: Being up-to-date with what is going on in society helps you to be aware of rising conflicts, the current state of the major governmental decisions, new laws that can influence you. Being well informed and having access to information is a privilege and strength that you can use and need to share with your peers to be ready to make decisions on your own.
Call out corruption attempts and don’t give bribes: Even in the life of a teenager, student or young professional, you might face attempts of bribery in different institutions (school, hospital, driving school etc). Make a conscious decision not to support this behaviour even though it might seem easier to give a bribe than study or work for a particular thing.
STRENGTHEN THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND REVITALIZE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
What is it about?
- Mobilize financial resources for developing countries.
- Tech and innovation capacity building in developing countries.
- Capacity building of skills needed to implement the Sustainable.
- Development Goals in developing countries.
- Increase export from developing countries.
- Execute data monitoring.
This game cannot be won by one person, one company or even just governments by themselves. This is everyone’s responsibility if we want to make it happen. All sectors and the whole population must collaborate.
How can you engage everyone to work for the SDGs?
Work or volunteer in NGOs that work with SDGs: through volunteering with various NGOs you can contribute through various projects in your own country or developing countries to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, you can volunteer in developing countries in the field of capacity building for technology and innovation advancement, as well as education about sustainable development.
Fundraising for projects aligned to the SDGs: You can support a project directly with your resources or start a crowdfunding campaign to support existing initiatives aiming to help achieve the SDGs in one of the developing countries. Just visit one of these platforms to get inspired and decide how you want to support this cause.
Buy products from developing countries: You can support export by creating demand for products from developing countries. Pay attention to the Fair Trade label on products which helps to indicate products from local producers in developing countries.
Keep governments and companies accountable: Get to know about your government’s plan to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and use your citizenship power (voting, joining working groups, civil society organisations) to pressure governments to be accountable for this plan. You can use your customer power to influence businesses to implement sustainable practices. Maybe one person is not enough to make this happen, but you can start a movement in your community to be noticed. It is up to all of us to take responsibility and achieve the Goals that impact much more than only our own lives!
More inspirations for actions you can do …
… from the couch: Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.
… in the kitchen: Don’t rinse. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine.
… in the garden: Compost – composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
… when shopping: Bring your own bag when you shop. Pass on the plastic bag and start carrying your own reusable totes.
…when you buy new: Donate what you don’t use. Local charities will give your gently used clothes, books and furniture a new life.
Are you a teacher? Inspiration from The World´s Largest Lesson
a Seven Steps Plan to introduce the Global Goals to your students by Mareike Hachemer.
- Put up a poster of the Global Goals in your classrooms and school corridors. Inform your students and fellow teachers and discuss the goals.
- Focus on SDG-related topics in your classes. Research poverty, climate change and peace. Work on suitable material and get inspiration from The World’s Largest Lesson. Let school book publishing houses know there is a need for more SDG-related material.
- Encourage problem-solving and meaningful action! Add a new focus to your teaching units: ACTION! What can be done? And how can we do it? Your students will experience self-efficacy!
- Dedicate a day or week to the Global Goals: Are you looking for a theme for the school fair? Or planning a Week of Project-Based Learning? The Global Goals are an inspiring theme and you can get your whole school on board.
- Make local and global connections! Connect subjects! Research the chemistry and construction of water filters, develop an action plan, write a proposal for funding, create a convincing video: all subjects contribute.
- Encourage student leadership! Let your students be in charge. Help them find the support they need. Be brave! Your students will be the experts, you will be their assistant.
- Create culture of appreciation and growth! Everything your students do towards achieving the Global Goals is going to be worth encouraging feedback! We need a culture of appreciation in our schools and in society. Why not create an additional certificate too?