The run into Christmas seems to be getting busier by the year and the phrase “limping to the finish line” rang true with a majority of people we were chatting to in 2016’s final weeks. We were no different at Talent Nation and it was a welcome relief when 5:30pm on December 23rd came around and we were able to ‘down tools’ for the year.
January has become the month of reflection for many people as the year does not seem to start in earnest until after Australia Day. Over the break, as I reflected on the year that was 2016, I reviewed my notes from the Sustainable Development Goals Australia 2016 Conference (SDGA16) and the Banksia Awards. In doing so I was reinspired by the stories told and the purposeful and positive work that people were undertaking around the globe.
However, one of the biggest challenges that arose was that people were struggling to identify what they could do with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as individuals. While we applauded the Banksia Award winners and the representative speakers from the organisations who had embedded the SDG’s into their business plans, it was still difficult to distinguish what someone could do on a personal level.
It is difficult to know where to start. We do need guidance and foundations in place around us so that our efforts have direction, and don’t get lost in the jumble. Yet in saying that, we can’t just sit around and wait for them to be built around us.
The following points are taken from the final session at the conference and I felt they summed up how we are sitting in both of these areas.
What we need from others:
- The underlying ethical foundation and the movement of the narrative (to communicate in a way that is powerful)
- Leadership and frameworks from the Government
- Tools and information to make it easier for people to do the right thing
- Monitoring, reporting and data; and accountability
- Our actions enabled through policies and the private sector through climate finance
- Need for partnerships, connectivity and alliances
What we can do ourselves:
- Map what we can personally do with the influence already in place
- Use the Sustainable Development Goals to guide personal decision making
- Think long- term; even when there may be a quick fix and it may seem it is not in your best interest to do so
- Be prepared to give some things up
- Don’t be afraid to start small
Further details on the Sustainable Development Goals can be found here.
The thing that most resonated with me was the closing remark from Professor David Griggs (Monash Sustainable Development Institute) – ‘if we fail on any one goal we fail on them all’. This highlighted the absolute interconnectedness of the goals.
The list above is clearly a small sample; I would be interested to hear of any other actions people are taking to support the goals.