Christmas commemorates the birth of a little boy in Bethlehem. Christmas celebrates the joy of a new life and the hope of a better future. In my opinion, Christmas has a strong association with family and the children as a beating heart of the family. When I think of Christmas, the first thought that comes to my mind is my family and many happy memories. I was a fortunate child to have the love and caring of my family. But I know, unfortunately, many children are not that lucky.
Some weeks ago, when people in Sweden started decorating for Christmas, I attended the 2nd Karolinska Institutet Conference on Sustainable Development. Before the presentation Strategy 2030 and SDGs at KI given by Olle Petterson, Nina Rawal, a former KI PhD mentioned something that caught my attention: how the children are the centre of the SDGs.
Today’s children in the coming years will get the responsibility of leading and inheriting the world, making a lot of sense that a sustainable plan (Agenda 2030) put them in the centre. Why not make them our motivation and drive force to work together for the SDG?
But, how we as individuals can contribute with small actions to achieve the SDGs agenda. Here is what you can do? Here is a quick list. For more details, please visit: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/
Things you can do from your couch
- Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
- Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile.
- Share, don’t just like. If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it so folks in your network see it too.
- Speak up! Ask your local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don’t harm people or the planet. You can also voice your support for the Paris Agreement and ask your country to ratify it or sign it.
- Turn off the lights. Your TV or computer screen provides a cosy glow, so turn off other lights if you don’t need them.
- Report online bullies. If you notice harassment on a message board or in a chat room, flag that person.
- Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals online or on social media at @GlobalGoalsUN.
- Tell United Nations about your actions to achieve the global goals by using the hashtag #globalgoals on social networks.
- Calculate your carbon footprint.
Things you can do at home
- Air dry. Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
- Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower.
- Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants
- Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day. You will save food and money.
- Compost—composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
- Recycling paper, plastic, glass & aluminium keeps landfills from growing.
- Buy minimally packaged goods.
- Avoid pre-heating the oven. Unless you need a precise baking temperature, start heating your food right when you turn on the oven.
- Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency
- Adjust your thermostat, lower in winter, higher in summer
- Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs
- If you have the option, install solar panels in your house. This will also reduce your electricity bill!
- Get a rug. Carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low.
- Don’t rinse. If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine.
- Choose a better diaper option. Swaddle your baby in cloth diapers or a new, environmentally responsible disposable brand.
- Shovel snow manually. Avoid the noisy, exhaust-churning snow blower and get some exercise.
- Use cardboard matches. They don’t require any petroleum, unlike plastic gas-filled lighters.
I know some of us do not have children. But, we all were children and, you probably have family or friends that have children. Let´ s do something to create a better place for them in the future. Take them as your inspiration to do some actions regarding Agenda 2030. Now you know something you can do even from your couch to contribute to the Agenda 2030.
I believe this Christmas will be for many people the first time to meet again with their family since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope you will have a great time with your family, make lovely memories! Love and listen to each other, make your plan for the future, act and leave no one behind, especially children.
Image source: Placing children and adolescents at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals will deliver for current and future generations. https://doi.org/10.1080/16549716.2019.1670015