The 13th Sustainable development goal is regarding Climate action, ranging from reducing an individuals carbon footprint to changing a country’s electric supply to renewable sources. Let’s zoom in on easy climate actions you can do from home!
Gender equality can be defined as men and women being able to enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviours, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favoured. Simply put, gender equality is the belief that all genders should receive equal treatment, regardless of their gender.
The overall target of SDG 17 is for countries to assist each other in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This particularly puts emphasis on more developed countries to commit to assisting less developed countries to reach the objectives of the 16 other SDG’s. Collaboration is essential if we, in a global sense, are going to achieve the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and create a more sustainable world. To stimulate the progress of implementing the SDG’s in poorer countries the economically more developed countries need to provide varying forms of support.
The completion of many of the SDG’s requires a great deal of investment. This is so more sustainable technologies can be developed and implemented. In countries where governments and economies are often more juvenile in their development funding for such projects is difficult to put together. To bridge this financial vacuum richer nations, and organizations such as the world bank, need to provide the funding necessary to implement more sustainable technologies, and fund educational programs so that people understand how to use them.
To implement the SDG’s, people need to know what they are and what they mean. In many countries’ education isn’t a given, but a luxury, that many are unable to access. To improve our collective knowledge of the environmental, economic and social factors affecting our world countries with access to educational resources need to share them with less developed countries, so that together we can work towards a more sustainable future.
To further the development of less economically developed countries requires a fair and universally beneficial global marketplace. To facilitate this requires the dedication of all nations to observe a set of universal trade legislation, that gives no single or collective set of nations an unfair advantage over the others. A fair and unbiased trade system will allow poorer nations to increase their export prospects and improve the economic conditions in their own countries.
Technology is a key factor in turning the tide against the climate emergency: it provides the means of continuing global economic and social development, whilst simultaneously decreasing our collective environmental impact. Currently most green technology is created and developed in richer nations: due to the fact they can throw more resources at it. To improve the technological advancement in developing countries the richer nations need to share and implement the technology that they have developed. These technologies include recent developments, such as: renewable energy production methods, environmentally efficient vehicles and educational technologies like computers and tablets.
Find out more about SDG 17 here.
The purpose of SDG 15 is to highlight, act on and reverse the damage we have done to our planet. The statistics on the toll that human activity is taking on our planet are astonishing: between 1990 and 2016 the world lost over 500,000 square miles of forest; we have also contributed to what is being referred to as the sixth mass extinction, with a total reduction in the animal population of up to 60% since 1970.
To reverse the current trend, and to restore a more harmonious balance with our world, requires a joint global effort. All sections of international society need to come together and take a more holistic view on the damage that each of us is contributing to our planet. Below are some of the ways that we can work to achieve this objective.
Many of the devastating actions that humans are taking is in the pursuit of business and is the effect of consumer demand in wealthier countries. For example, mass deforestation is the product of a huge demand for timber, and for agricultural land to rear livestock and to grow crops such as oil palm. These products are then sent through a complex, and opaque supply chain before ending up on supermarket shelves with the consumer often completely unaware of the damage their bought products have caused. By making supply chains transparent companies can be sure that their business activities are not contributing towards the destruction of our planet, and consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they buy.
Supporting Innovative Climate Initiatives
Reversing the damage that has already been caused by human activity requires people to come together to repair, and fight back, against the destructive forces that are destroying individual climates across the world. One example of this joint effort is the Great Green Wall that is being grown across the Sahel region on the southern edge of the Sahara. In recent years the increase in the temperatures experienced in the Sahel region have caused accelerated desertification. This means that habitats are dying out, crops can’t grow and the people who live there are struggling for adequate resources. To fight back against this desertification Sahel inhabitants, with support from international organisations and businesses, have been planting a wall of trees across the southern border between the Sahara and the Sahel regions. This joint effort means that desertification will be slowed, and the ground will be able to hold more water, bringing life back to the region.
Protecting our Wildlife
Since 1970, it is thought that the number of animals on Earth has reduced by up to 60%. This decrease is the result of actions such as over-fishing, climate destruction and hunting many species to, or to the brink of, extinction. To preserve the magnificent, and diverse, range of life on our planet we need to take action now and ensure that we protect species from destructive human activity, and restore the habitats that they have lost.
Find out more about SDG 15 here
Climate change is already having drastic effects on our planets: sea levels are rising, lakes and rivers are disappearing and the world is getting ever hotter. We have witnessed over the past few years that changes in temperature, and greenhouse gas emissions, have also had a major effect on global weather systems. The Caribbean Islands and Southern states of the USA have witnessed the most devastating hurricane seasons over the last few years, costing hundreds of lives and billions of pounds worth of damage. In the UK we have seen repeated flooding and an increased number of storms over the past few years. It is obvious that we need to do more to tackle this climate emergency, so that we can prevent more of the damage we have been witnessing in recent times.
Reduce Carbon Emissions
The increase in carbon emissions that we have been responsible for, mostly since the start of the 20th century, has had a catastrophic effect on our atmosphere. The rapid increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has created and artificially stimulated heating effect that traps more of the heat generated by the sun’s radiation. Because of the increased temperature the world is experiencing and ever-increasing frequency of environmental disasters: these include the Australia bush fires, the desertification of the Sahel region in Africa and the drying up of many of the world’s natural sources of drinkable water. To reduce carbon emissions, on the scale necessary to reduce global temperatures, requires a complete systemic change in the way we use resources as a society.
Restore our Rainforests
Rainforests are essential for the health of our planet: They absorb Co2, positively control weather patterns and are home to many thousands of plant and animal species. In recent years the worlds rainforests have been under constant assault from mass deforestation. Millions upon millions of trees have been cut down and sold, with most of the space then being used for agricultural purposes: for either livestock or to grow crops such as oil palms. It is essential for the health of our planet that this space is reclaimed for the rainforest.
Support More Sustainable Initiatives
In the past 10 years the world has seen a huge increase in climate awareness which has led to huge progress in fields such as renewable energy, sustainable business practice and climate awareness education. Despite the progress being made our society is still largely dependent on older, and more destructive practices. If we are going to improve our planet then each of us must support more sustainable solutions. This may include buying products from businesses with sustainable supply chains, investing in sustainable companies and choose the lifestyle options that have the lowest possible carbon footprint.
Find out more about SDG 13 here
The third sustainable development goal that the UN has set out is called ‘Good health and Wellbeing’. The UN states that ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.’ There are 13 points to Goal 3 but within this post, we will be exploring two of them; 3.1, 3.8.
The worlds oceans cover over two thirds of the Earth’s surface and represents 99% of the planets living space by volume; our oceans are also home to potentially millions of species and absorb around 30% of all CO2 produced by humans. It is also estimated that around 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity as part of their livelihoods. Our oceans are essential for the prosperity of our planet; and yet, despite this, human activity is rapidly deteriorating the health of our oceans by producing to many harmful gasses, overfishing and by dumping billions of tons of plastic. The aggregated effect of these actions means that: sea levels are rising at an ever-increasing rate, millions of marine animals are being killed and the oceans are rapidly becoming more acidic. So, what can we do to help stop this from happening?
Use Less Plastic
Plastic pollution is one of the largest single concerns regarding human effects on sea life. As a species we dump millions of tons of plastic into our oceans every year: this then ends up being consumed by marine life that mistakes it for food. To prevent this from happening the best thing you can do is to buy less plastic, and to recycle more when you do use plastic. Many of the plastic products that we use, that could otherwise be recycled, end up on landfill sites. Next time you’re about to throw away some plastic packaging quickly check to see if the packaging is recyclable: packaging that can be recycled will say so on the label and will also feature the universal logo for recycling. Also try to use a reusable water bottle or coffee cup next time you go out for a drink.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Increased carbon dioxide emissions have caused our oceans to rapidly become more acidic, which is harmful for many of our ocean’s species. The best way to help combat this on an individual basis is to try and reduce your personal carbon footprint. One way you can do this is by using more public transport: if you’re travelling solo, your carbon footprint for each journey could be cut by around 75% by using the train rather than driving. Also try buying more local products as they have a reduced environmental footprint compared to imported products.
There a many ways you can help support our worlds oceans. You could start by doing some volunteering work with the Students Union, or other organisation to help clean-up our waters. You could also take part in the climate strikes, and other initiatives to promote a less toxic world. Or, you could simply help inform more people about the troubles our oceans are facing: the more we know the more we can do collectively to prevent a catastrophe.
Find out more about SDG 14 here
International Women’s Day annually encourages the celebration of women all over the world. From mothers, daughters, sisters, friends to women who do amazing work to change the world. This year it was on 8th March and whilst this post is a little bit late it is still important to celebrate women every day of the year. Here are some women who have made massive changes in the world of Sustainability.
When approaching sustainability it can seem like the eyes of the twitter masses are on you, waiting to pounce on you for throwing that plastic bottle in the general waste rather than recycling; worrying about doing anything wrong in terms of being environmentally friendly. It can feel like one step forward, two steps back as sustainability can seem like the utter antithesis of modern day society.
On 20/02/2020 we ran the first “Hunger Games”.
This session was run for Level 4 Tourism students as part of #SDGTeachin. The focus was on SDG2 Zero Hunger, with inevitable links to SDG1 No Poverty.
We began by splitting the class into three groups, consisting of one (representing the richest 1%), two (representing the remainder of the richest 10%), and The Rest. We then used sweets (Haribo, etc) to reflect the distribution of global wealth. The wealthy 3 students had plenty, while there were not enough left over for the rest of the class to have one each.
A couple of short activities followed, representing the opportunity for social mobility (which, in the event, was only given to the friends of the rich) and the redistribution of wealth. In one case this was given somewhat reluctantly, and was rather meagre, while the second group was seemingly more generous, but in practice were only giving away the sweets that they did not like!
This was followed by an incident that we could not have planned. One of “the rest” decided to keep a large part of the redistributed sweets for himself. This does, of course, have lots of global parallels, and eventually resulted in a mini revolution, and our upstart dictator was overthrown and ended up with nothing!
The second game (top picture) was based on the old TV show “Play Your Cards Right”. In this case, the contestants were presented with one country and the percentage of its population that suffer from hunger. They were then given the name of another country and had to guess whether that country’s hunger rate was higher or lower than the first country. Audience participation, in the form of shouting HIGHER or LOWER was encouraged and to our satisfaction, the room was soon very loud!
As the cards for successive countries were revealed, the actual number of people in that country suffering from hunger was also revealed, emphasising the sad human aspect of this very real problem.
After a short presentation on Hunger, the class split into two for other sustainability related activities.
The first group (above) learned about EcoBricks and were given the opportunity to start making some. This soon turned into clusters of activity, with students cutting up plastic while others frantically stuffed bottles. Some went away promising to make them at home and donate them to the CCCU EcoBrick project. (Please email John.Hills@canterbury.ac.uk for more information).
The second group took part in an activity called Pictures of Success. Adriana led this engaging activity to stimulate discussion about a wide range of sustainability-related issues. Created by a company called Carbonsense, who prior to 2015, worked with companies across the globe as part of a project to engage people in the UN’s Millennium Development Goals; the PoS cards contain compelling images and inspiring quotes from real life stories of successful sustainable projects, and are based on the values and ethical principles of the Earth Charter. They are one of a range of engagement tools and games, which are available to borrow from the Sustainability team’s educational resources.
A lot of fun was had by all, we look forward to running this again!