With overwhelming goals like end poverty for all, achieve gender equality worldwide, feed an increasingly growing population and change the earth’s course on climate change, it’s easy to feel discouraged, and even a bit unimportant, as the world aims to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
It is difficult to view the SDGs as a collaborative effort when we zoom out and see that governments, private companies, nonprofits and intergovernmental organizations wield the most influence, power and fattest checkbooks.
But behind its newly launched “The Good Life Goals” initiative, Futerra, a global change agency, wants to zoom in and prove to individuals that their actions matter - that the SDGs will not be accomplished by solely the work of those with resources and power.
“The Global Goals have driven new action by policy-makers and corporations across the world, but what about the other billions of us?” Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra, said in a press release. “Sustainability isn’t just for institutions, it must also inspire individuals.”
The campaign breaks down each of the 17 SDGs and provides concrete and simple steps for how people can do their part toward accomplishing the bigger, overarching goals. A video also explains personal actions that people around the world can take to help support the SDGs.
Let’s look at SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) for example. While one of the SDGs targets inspires us to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking…” it seems more attainable at a personal level to “check no one was exploited to make what you buy,” as The Good Life Goals recommends.
Similarly with SDG3 (Good Health and Well-Being), targets like “achieve universal health coverage” or “end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria” seem like they are better left to lawmakers, doctors or NGOs. But when it’s simplified to “value mental health and well-being” or “demand medical care and vaccinations for all” then it becomes clearer that individuals can truly play a role in creating a healthier future.
For each of the SDGs, Futerra provides five Good Life Goals to create a personal guide on how to chip away at the bigger vision. Most of the 17 animations preach the importance of learning and educating ourselves about the issues at hand, and advocating for the goal. Futerra understands that individuals may not be able to contribute to causes financially but they can contribute their voice and support.
The SDGs are the encore to the United Nations’ eight Millennium Development Goals, which from 2000 to 2015 ushered in worldwide improvements in reducing extreme poverty, unlocking educational opportunities for youth, promoting gender equality, and improving children and maternal health, despite missing most of its ambitious targets. The SDGs are a compilation of 17 goals to be met through 169 targets with the collaboration of 193 countries.
Starting in 2015 and ending in 2030, the SDGs aim to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet.”
The Good Life Goals were created to bridge the gap between the SDGs and the sustainable lifestyles movement.
“Changing the world has never just been about policies or products, it always comes down to people,” Townsend said.
Image credits: Futerra
Based in Washington, DC, Grant works as a program assistant at SEEP Network, an international development nonprofit. A proud graduate of the University of Maryland, Grant spent four months post-grad living in Armenia where he worked for Habitat for Humanity and the World Food Programme. Grant is passionate about humanitarianism and finding sustainable approaches to international development. He enjoys playing trivia with friends but is still seeking his first victory - he ceaselessly blames his friends lack of preparation.