We have Important Work to Do...Get on Board with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

I want you to know about the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, established on the 1st of January 2016. They were brought to my attention just recently, though I wish I had discovered them earlier. I am sharing this post in an effort to broaden the awareness and reach of the goals’ intentions and provide examples of how YOU can make a difference.

Here are the 17 goals and actionable quotes taken directly from the United Nations Website:

1. No Poverty

“Donate what you don’t use. 836 million people live in extreme poverty.”

2. Zero Hunger

“Avoid throwing away food. Over ⅓ of the world’s food is wasted.”

Taken on a hike in the Burren National Park last February with dear friends.

Taken on a hike in the Burren National Park last February with dear friends.

3. Good Health and Well-Being

“Vaccinate your family to protect them and improve public health.”

4. Quality Education

“Help children in your community learn to read.”

5. Gender Equality

“Call out sexist language and behavior.”

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

“Avoid wasting water. Water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world’s population.”

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

“Use only energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.”

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

“Buy from green companies that are equal opportunity employers.”

9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

“Think of innovative new ways to repurpose old material.”

10. Reduced Inequalities

“Raise your voice against discrimination.”

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Me and a bike with flower-filled baskets in Clifden, Connemara. When it’s an option, I much prefer biking or walking to motorized vehicles.

Me and a bike with flower-filled baskets in Clifden, Connemara. When it’s an option, I much prefer biking or walking to motorized vehicles.

“Bike, walk, or use public transport to keep our cities’ air clean.”

12. Responsible Production and Consumption

“Recycle paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum.”

13. Climate Action

“Educate young people about climate change to put them on a sustainable path early on.”

14. Life Below Water

“Avoid plastic bags to keep the oceans safe and clean.”

Sunrise from one of my runs this past week. Passing the ocean is a daily reminder of the importance of it’s preservation.

Sunrise from one of my runs this past week. Passing the ocean is a daily reminder of the importance of it’s preservation.

15. Life On Land

“Plant a tree and help protect the environment.”

16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

“Use your right to elect leaders in your country and local community.”

17. Partnerships for the Goals

“Get the SDGs in action app to learn more about the goals and ways to help achieve them. SDGsinaction.com

Though the goals listed above may seem a bit vague, there are 169 targets listed on the UN’s website to further define the missions behind each goal. The hope is to achieve these goals by 2030 in order to see a sustainable future for our own and future generations. You can make a change today in order to aid in the fruition of these lofty AND worthy goals. If you want more ideas for making a difference, the UN’s website has a great page titled “The Lazy Person’s Guide to SAVING the WORLD” check it out by following this link.

With an incredibly consumer-based holiday on the horizon, I thought I would share a few ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day this week in alignment with one or multiple SDGs!

Get friends together for a vegetarian or vegan meal or potluck.

Me and fresh veggies from the Ballyvaughan Farmer’s Market!

Me and fresh veggies from the Ballyvaughan Farmer’s Market!

When you cook for a larger group of people you can avoid food waste. Avoiding meat and other animal-based products help reduce carbon emissions, conserves water, and assists in ensuring cleaner air. Who doesn’t like trying out a new recipe? If you need ideas, I love the plant-based dishes on Angela Liddon’s website, Oh She Glows.

Donate to a worthy organization in your loved one’s honor.

If you aren’t sure what organization to make a donation to, I would first consider what may be important to the honoree. Does your loved one care deeply about education? Maybe you could donate to your local public school system. Do your research and find an organization that you believe in! If you are really stuck, this article provides some good tips on selecting a non-profit worthy of your donation.

Use paper, envelopes, and stationery items you already own to make your V-day cards.

Many of us have plenty of useful materials already lying around our homes. Why not get creative and use what you already own? You’ll save some cash and reduce waste! I’ve always considered the value of a handmade, handwritten card to be far greater than one bought in store.

Volunteer with your significant other at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter in lieu of a date night this week.

If you really want to have a positive shared experience with your partner, know that it does not have to resemble a romantic comedy-esque version of a perfect V-Day date. Skip the crowds of people filing into the “best” restaurants in town and spend an evening sharing your time with others in need. It may prove to be a more memorable experience than any Michelin star has to offer.

Purchase chocolates, flowers, and other celebratory items with the least amount of packaging possible.

One of my favorite chocolate shops in London.

One of my favorite chocolate shops in London.

If you feel the need to give a traditional Valentine’s day gift this week, opt for flowers sold in bulk instead of pre-packaged bouquets. You can likely find these at your local florist shop. If you have access to wildflowers, you could also create your own fresh bouquet (just make sure you are picking responsibly). For chocolates and other sweets, avoid individually wrapped candies they are like Russian nesting dolls for plastic waste. Find a local chocolate shop that sells candy in bulk or opt for chocolate bars with single wrappers.

Spread the word, spread the love, and enjoy your week!

Roses outside of a Ballyvaughan BnB…thought the color was perfect for Valentine’s day cheer.

Roses outside of a Ballyvaughan BnB…thought the color was perfect for Valentine’s day cheer.