Moving inside my environmental circle it seems clear that everyone is concerned and taking due action on the SDG’s, waste, plastics, conservation, etc etc. But moving outside of this circle I find myself in a land almost entirely devoid of sustainable environmental and humantarian thought. No wait, that’s a lie, there’s a food waste bin in the office… So there’s a lot of work to be done here. How do we bridge this gap?Unfortunately there’s no quick answer. While it seems horrendous to me that sustainability isn’t anywhere near the forefront of a lot of people’s minds, I can’t just go in to the office shouting about it and telling them they’ve all got it totally wrong – I’d pretty soon be ostracised. No one wants someone around that’s constantly telling them they’ve got it wrong and need to change because the fate of the world rests on their shoulders…
And people are used to hearing about both humanitarian and environmental action now, it’s mainstream news and those that haven’t taken it up as something they should be invested in are closed off from those stories, enclosed in their own echo chambers full of those things that are important to them. You’ve also got the ‘someone else’s problem’ line, and even when asked head on I’ve heard many people excusing themselves from being involved because ‘there’s other people out there working on that, it’s not my problem.’
So we can’t bombard people, and we don’t want to, and probably couldn’t, scare them, and we don’t want to bore or frustrate them.
How do we bridge this gap?
An answer, and I say ‘an answer’ rather than ‘the answer’ because there will of course be more than one, came the other day, and from a most unexpected source.
Last week I attended a youth work policy and practise conference. There were some fascinating speakers, and they explored the practise along a ‘where we are now, where we want to be next, and where we want to be in the future’ theme, which made the whole thing run very smoothly. What was interesting (apart from all the other super interesting things!) was that the last speaker, who came on to talk about the future, talked about the SDG’s. And he did it by linking the future of youth work, and the fundamentally caring basis of it as a profession that exists to help and support those younger generations make their way through an often difficult period of their lives, to SDG’s 1,3,11 & 13.
Bam. Suddenly people were talking about the SDG’s.
How can you work within your community without considering goal no.11; Sustainable Cities and Communities?
Today 828 million people live in slums across the world, and that number keeps rising.
Is it not important that we look after our planet and seek environmentally sustainable solutions to our needs in order to maintain a world that every single one of us depends on in order to live?
“Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.”
If we aren’t taking note and changing our behaviour in regards to the issues that face us globally, then what are we doing? In this age of globalisation it should be easy to see that everything is affected by the actions, information, goals and ideals outlined throughout all the SDG’s, and that in order to build a more sustainable future for everyone we need to be actively working towards each one of them.
It’s not about saving the planet because we want to be eco-warriors and dance naked around camp fires while singing about how we’re at one with nature, it’s about finding a sustainable future for ourselves, for our species, and for the planet. It’s about understanding that each and every one of us has a role to play, and it’s about finding solutions and working together.
These goals affect our futures, and the futures of our friends and loved ones, and the futures of our fellow human beings scattered all across the Earth.