17 Sustainable Development Goals

Dr. Mara Catherine Harvey
Founder & CEO smartwaytostart.com,
Author, International Public Speaker, SDG Advocate.

For this post, I will be ​discussing a topic that goes beyond financial parenting, but which is so significant today that it impacts in many ways our efforts to educate children on the money. I’d like to acquaint you, or for those who already know these…reacquaint you, with an important aspect of sustainability: the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Many people have heard about the goals and some might be quite familiar with them. Few, however, know them by heart. What are the 17 SDGs and why is it important to know them in detail? Their significance for the future of our planet and of humankind is tremendous. These SDGs were crafted to help preserve and conserve the planet for generations to come. So, in the end, it will be our children and our children’s children who will benefit from this. If we fail to achieve them, our very way of life is at threat. This is why I warmly encourage you to include the SDGs in your financial parenting and your child’s education.

The summary below gives you a short overview and we encourage you to learn more, read more, and ultimately share these Goals with your kids so that they grow up sustainably minded. We have even published a poem on the SDGs, so kids can learn them by heart, like the alphabet. It’s easy and it’s fun:www.smartwaytostart.com/sdg

Our big news? In September we are launching book 5 of the Smart Way To Start series, and will be all about the 17 SDGs.

What are the SDGs?

The SDGs are short for the Sustainable Development Goals. It is a 17 part blueprint adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 as part of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs divide global issues into 17 different goals that allow tackling one specific aspect of sustainability.

Here’s a list of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and a quick explanation of what each Goal aims to accomplish.

  1. No Poverty – End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. Zero Hunger – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Good Health and Well-Being – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Quality Education – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Gender Equality – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation – Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  10. Reduced Inequalities – Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Climate Action – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Life Below Water – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Partnerships for The Goals – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

*The descriptions of each SDG were taken directly from the UN’s page on Sustainable Development Goals:https://sdgs.un.org/goals

Why Should We Care About The 17 Sustainable Development Goals?

Well, it’s simple.

As humans living on this planet, we have a duty to take care of it. As humans co-living with other humans, we have a duty to help advance humanity as a whole. Humanity cannot advance as long as there are people left behind. We all have to work towards these goals, together.

As parents, we have to do our part in making sure that the planet our kids grow up into will continue to remain a beautiful one for many many years to come! Through the framework provided by SDGs, we are guided on how we can all continue — in big or small ways — to contribute to better ​the planet ​and humanity. As parents, it’s also our job to impart these Goals to our children so they can grow up to be planet-caring and sustainably-minded adults.

How Should You Start and What Do You Do After?

Well, the fact that you’ve read this far means you’ve already started! Arming yourself with the right knowledge is always a good start. Awareness is the first step. Talking about is the next one. And then find ways to put the learnings into action.

Here are some small tips on what to do :

  1. Sharing your newfound knowledge

Become an advocate for the SDGs, with your children, your families and your friends.  Keep on learning and keep on reading and then share what you know with the people around you. Start with the adults first, as it is very engaging to have discussions and discourses with people who are equally passionate about our planet. I’ll discuss to you how you can teach the SDGs and Sustainability to kids further below.

  1. Practising what you learned

You don’t have to go into extremes like opening your own nonprofit or donating huge sums of money to NGOs. Not everyone has the resources to do so. You can start small — the sum of many little gestures can have a huge impact. For example, segregating your trash at home, choosing to patronise brands that support sustainable manufacturing processes, or choosing to support local produce thereby lessening the carbon footprint of your products. It can even be something as small as changing your search browser to ​Ecosia to help reforestation or donating a small amount of money to your favourite charity or organization.

  1. Teaching the young

There’s no better way to practice sustainability than by teaching good practices to the young. After all, sustainability is also about being able to future proof the planet. What better way to do so than by teaching the next generation the best way to care for it?

The fourth book of my A Smart Way series called A Smart Choice To Make. ​It’s all in rhymes, with wonderful illustrations that outline how nature is currently endangered by some companies’ bad practices. It’s important that children learn how every single money choice they make, whenever they buy something, can impact this world. And if we purchase mindfully, we can have a strong positive impact on the world!

As mentioned above, I am also working on releasing book 5, which specifically discusses the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and breaks it down for kids in an easy-to-read language. In the meanwhile, we hope you enjoy our poem and taking your first steps in learning more about the SDGs.

If you’d like to know when the book would be released, I highly recommend that you subscribe to my Monthly Money Tips newsletter so that you can be updated with what’s going on in Marty’s World!

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Teach your child 17 sustainable development goals
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