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What do the new UN sustainable development goals mean for you?

Professor Sarah Speight is lead educator on The University of Nottingham’s free online course “Sustainability, Society and You”. In this post, she discusses the United Nations’ (UN) new, global sustainable development goals and how the course links with them.

The new UN sustainable development goals

This Saturday, 24 October 2015, is United Nations Day, when member states celebrate the aims and achievements of the UN. One of the UN’s main priorities is to support sustainable development and in September 2015, world leaders committed to 17 global goals for sustainable development (pictured above).

These ambitious goals, ranging from ending extreme poverty to combatting climate change, were ratified by the UN and will set the development agenda for the next 15 years.

What have the UN goals got to do with you?

You might be thinking: “I’m sure that’s all very admirable, but it’s happening in the enclaves of an international organisation far, far away. What has it got to do with me as an individual?”

In fact, achieving the global goals for sustainable development does need everyone’s input. As the Global Goals website tells us: “If we all fight for them, our leaders will make them happen.”

The aim is to get the global goals onto every website, and by reading this blog post, you’re making a start in fighting for those goals.

What can you do in your own life to make a difference?

In “Sustainability, Society and You”, you will look at these global goals of the UN, an international organisation, and link them with what you can do in your own life to make a difference.

So, for example, you will take part in activities such as calculating your water footprint and conducting a waste audit to find out just how much waste you produce. In the online discussions, you can find out what sustainable steps other learners are taking, and that could influence you to introduce similar behavioural changes to your own life.

Making those small changes can help us protect our world for current and future generations.

What themes link the goals together?

In the course, we also ask you to relate the UN global goals to the sustainability agenda. We specifically show how health and wellbeing is a core theme that runs through the sustainable development goals programme.

But can you think of another theme, other than health, that you believe links the 17 goals together? Tell us in the comments below.

Or to find out more, join the free online courseSustainability, Society and You”.

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