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Supporting UN sustainable development goals while working from home

Duncan Grierson

09 April 2020 Sustainability

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are designed as a roadmap for a better planet with a healthier climate. We’ve picked out four of them that you can support, even while working from home!

In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to bring peace and prosperity to the planet and all people. Today, as the world adapts to the impact of Covid-19, this mission could not be more important.

17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and 169 targets derived from those goals, map out the ambition of the plan. Critical transitions such as improved health, education, ending poverty, and boosting economic growth are among the key areas of focus. Climate action, goal 13, has the potential to affect all the others.

The question we can ask ourselves today is: ‘how can I help the world improve and achieve the UN’s mission, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic?’

As individual citizens, we have a part to play. To help guide, we’ve chosen four of the goals that we can all support at home.

Choose energy options that reduce your energy footprint

Global Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

We need to decarbonize the energy that we use. Together, we can reduce our carbon emissions and keep global temperatures below disastrous levels. Using energy-saving light bulbs and appliances are helpful, but we can do more. Switching to a provider which supplies only renewable energy is also a powerful step. Looking to the future, when we are no longer confined to our homes, we should consider our choice of transport carefully. Choosing an electric vehicle can save up to 1.5 million grams of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of four return flights from London to Barcelona. Harnessing the power of the sun to fuel your home is another option. With prices falling and the opportunity to sell your energy back to the grid, domestic solar panels are increasingly attractive. 

Think local: support your community

Global Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban areas are projected to house 60% of the world’s population by 2030, with one in every three people living in mega-cities with at least half a million inhabitants. Building modern, sustainable cities will be essential in preparing for this surge. Intelligent urban planning will effectively guarantee safe, affordable, green and cultural cities.

Many of us are already contributing to this global goal without realising it. By shopping as locally as possible, we are supporting our communities as well as choosing a lower carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose local food providers.

Local politics matters as well. Elections have been postponed, giving us more time to reflect on our options. Research your local candidates and make sure you elect the leaders in your local community who will prioritise green solutions as part of their agenda. To support the UN Sustainable Development Goals at home, vote for leaders who support them. 

Be a responsible consumer; think before you buy

Global Goal 12, Responsible Consumption and Production

Over 7bn consumers drive the global economy. Every time we purchase something, we make a vote. What does your vote say? Are you voting for a more resource efficient planet? 

Taking responsibility for everyday purchases is essential. We need to start asking where the things we buy come from. Who made them? Are they ethical? Were they shipped thousands of miles by air when I could have purchased locally? What are they made out of? 

We need to think before we buy, especially in the fast-paced world of online shopping: “Do I really need this?” Perhaps you can use something you already have at home, repair it or make your own. DIY recipes can easily be found online for all kinds of things.  

And the food we eat has a big impact. Eating less meat, fish and dairy products can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But you can also cut down on food waste, which contributes to 8% of our total carbon emissions. In Max La Manna’s ‘More Plants, Less Waste’ book he shows us how to use food scraps like onion skins and celery leaves to make stock. So get creative with your leftovers and reduce your food waste, all from the comfort of your own home.

Take action now

Global Goal 13, Climate Action

Action at home starts small, by writing to your local MP. Demand action from the government on the climate emergency. Call for policies that will create lasting, positive change. 

Inspiring speeches might even motivate you to start your own initiative. This could be anything from a ‘green group’ in your community, planning a fundraising event (later in the year!) or starting a petition. Local networks are key. Invite friends, family and colleagues by speaking to them about climate change and what you can do together to help. 

Volunteering for projects such as Trees For Cities or a citizen science scheme are also effective steps. For the more adventuros, perhaps you could plan for your next (post-isolation!) holiday to involve volunteering with a conservation charity on a rewilding project.   

Together, we can support the UN’s mission. Now is the time to give some of these ideas a go, even while working from home. 

And finally, how you invest your savings can have a big impact. At Clim8, we are driven by sustainability and we’re enabling investment in green energy, clean technology, clean water, sustainable food, recycling, and clean mobility. Please join us.