How should we live today if we want to experience a better tomorrow? There are 17 solutions!

živi-zeleno- ciljevi održivog razvoja

From one person always carrying their reusable water bottle and canvas tote bags to governments implementing large national programs to reduce unemployment and poverty. From “ordinary” volunteering in soup kitchens, to embarking on major peacekeeping missions in Africa. Solutions for sustainability are numerous, and there are even more people, organizations, and institutions, or stakeholders, who can implement them.

One of those stakeholders includes the intergovernmental organization United Nations, which adopted the document The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. These goals represent call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all people worldwide by 2030. There are 17 goals addressing social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Continue reading and find out more details about each goal and what you can do to support them.

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Although the extreme poverty rate has been reduced by more than half since 1990, if current trends continue, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty by 2030. In other words, they will be living with less than $2.15 per day.

However, poverty is much more than just a lack of income and resources; it also includes a lack of education, food, healthcare, security, shelter, political participation, opportunities for choice, and dignity. All these areas require significant changes and improvements.

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Hunger is recognized as the leading cause of death globally, with approximately 735 million people, or 9.2% of the world’s population, experiencing state of chronic hunger in 2022. Additionally, around 2,4 billion people faced moderate to severe food insecurity in 2022, marking an alarming increase of 391 million people compared to 2019.

Investing in the agricultural sector is a crucial solution for reducing hunger and poverty, improving food security, creating jobs, and building resilience to disasters and global changes such as wars, pandemics, and so on.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Buy local and seasonal food, and if you have the conditions for it, try to grow some of your own food.
  • Do not waste food unnecessarily (e.g., freeze fresh food and leftovers).
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are no longer in perfect condition but are still good and safe for consumption, because by doing so you contribute to reducing food waste.
  • Try to eat less meat because the meat industry has a big impact on the environment.

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

In recent years, significant changes have been made to improve people’s health. However, there are still inequalities in access to healthcare, leading to 381 million people being pushed into extreme poverty in 2019 due to out-of-pocket payments for health services. A staggering statistic from 2020 reveals that every two minutes, one pregnant woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Healthcare is not just for a few, the elite, or the wealthy; it is for everyone. Besides that, healthy people are the foundation of healthy economies.

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Significant progress has been made in increasing access to education and literacy, especially for women and girls. However, it is estimated that without additional measures, 84 million children and young people will stay out of school by 2030, and approximately 300 million students will lack the numeracy and literacy skills necessary for success in life.

The improvement of education will also help with the achievement of other sustainable development goals because education enables breaking the cycle of poverty, contributes to achieving tolerance and gender equality, and promotes a healthier and more sustainable life.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Donate books that you have read and/or no longer need.
  • Take and promote free online courses.
  • Visit your local school and ask them if they need help; then, if they need it, organize some kind of charity action in your community.
  • Give young people tutoring and help them study and write their homework.

5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Gender inequality still exists and, as such, hinders social progress. The fact that women in the labor market earn 23% less than men is the best evidence of this inequality. Additionally, the UN estimates that it will take another 300 years to end child marriage, 286 years to improve legal protection for women and remove discriminatory laws, 140 years for women to be equally represented in positions of power and leadership in the workplace, and 47 years to achieve equal representation in national parliaments.

6. Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Although access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene is the most basic human need, more than 40% of the population experiences water scarcity, and one in three people live in unsanitary conditions, causing unnecessary illnesses and deaths. Through sustainable water management, humanity will reduce water shortages, be better at managing food and energy production, and contribute to economic growth and the preservation of aquatic ecosystems.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Save water whenever you have the chance.
  • If you have a garden, use rainwater for watering.
  • Organize or sign up for river and sea clean-up actions.
  • Educate others, especially children, about hygiene and saving water.

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy

Energy consumption accounts for up to 60% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Access to electricity increased from 87% in 2015 to 91% in 2021, but the fact remains that 733 million people (about one in ten people worldwide) still lack that access. To change this by 2030, even greater investments in clean energy sources such as solar, wind, and heat are needed.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Turn off lights and unplug appliances and chargers when not in use.
  • Instead of air conditioning, use a fan whenever possible.
  • Buy rechargeable electronics and avoid buying and using disposable batteries.
  • Consider using solar energy.

8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Globally, one in four young people is not in education, employment, or any form of training. Besides high rates of youth unemployment, the major problem is that harsh economic conditions are pushing an increasing number of workers – 2 billion people in 2022 – into informal employment that lacks social protection.

To address these and similar issues, the UN emphasizes the need for financial system reform that will tackle with mounting debts, economic uncertainty, and trade tensions, while promoting fair wages and dignified work for young people.

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Today, about forty years after the “birth” of the Internet, it is estimated that 5.3 billion people, or 66% of the world’s population, have access to this network. In addition to advancements in information and communication technologies, investments are needed in urban infrastructure, where more than half of the world’s population lives. The growth of new and sustainable industries that will stimulate domestic entrepreneurship and economic growth is also one of the important issues of this goal.

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

It is concerning that one in six people worldwide has experienced discrimination in some form, and that 10% of the global population holds 76% of the world’s wealth. Political, economic, and social policies should be universal, with a special focus on the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities.

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

It is expected that 70% of people will be living in cities by 2050, and that prediction makes cities the future of global living. However, so far, many cities have been unprepared for growth and expansion, leading to an increase in slums, air pollution, and a decrease in open public spaces. Due to these and similar issues in cities, there is a need for new, intelligent urban planning that creates safe, accessible, and resilient cities with green and culturally inspiring living conditions.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Take care of public spaces and advocate for safe, accessible, and green public spaces.
  • Commute sustainably (by bike, walk, public transport, or organize carpooling).
  • Separate the waste properly.

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

If the world population reaches 9.8 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets will be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles. Therefore, it is important to change the current (unsustainable) mode of production and consumption.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Avoid plastic packaging and use reusable products.
  • Buy used and/or repurpose items.
  • Travel sustainably.
  • Support petitions and campaigns that call out companies with unsustainable practices.

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

With rising greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is occurring at rates much faster than anticipated. If we do not reduce these emissions by 43% till 2030, it is likely that we will not be able to protect a climate suitable for life. In addition to disrupting the quality of life, this change will cause extreme and unpredictable weather conditions and a rise in sea levels. As humans, we must limit the increase in global temperature to less than 2°C, and perhaps even to 1.5°C.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Separate waste, compost, and reduce paper usage.
  • Use reusable products and purchase environmentally friendly products.
  • Cycle, walk, or use public transportation.
  • Eat less meat.

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

The oceans and seas cover 70% of our planet and they are crucial for food, energy, and water resources. However, this largest ecosystem on Earth, home to almost a million known species, suffers from numerous harmful consequences of human activity. In addition to reducing pollution, urgent actions are needed regarding overfishing, the negative impact of tourism, and inadequate protection of marine life.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Reduce your waste, as a large portion of the waste we produce on land ends up in the seas.
  • Organize clean-up actions of the seas, rivers, and other water surfaces.
  • If possible, buy local fish and seafood to support small-scale fishermen.
  • Do not dive for protected marine species, corals, and so on.

15. Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Just as human life depends on oceans, it equally relies on land. Plant life makes up to 80% of human food, agriculture is a vital economic resource, and forests, covering about 31% of the Earth’s surface, are crucial sources of clean air and water and an important tool in combating climate change. Unfortunately, about one-fifth of the Earth’s land area is degraded, causing numerous problems.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja
  • Instead of buying, consider adopting a pet.
  • Choose products that are not tested on animals and avoid the use of pesticides.
  • Organize clean-up actions in parks and forests.

16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies

Nearly 200,000 trafficking victims were detected worldwide between 2017 and 2020. Three years ago, the highest number of intentional homicides in the last 20 years was recorded, and the year 2022 witnessed a more than 50% increase in conflict-related civilian deaths. Because of these, as well as all other “dark” figures, it is important to work towards promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, ensuring access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

17. Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

The pandemic is proof that strengthening multilateralism and global partnerships is more important than ever if we want to address global issues. Achieving this goal also relies on connectivity in the digital world, but there is still work to be done in this area, as it is estimated that only 66% of the world’s population (5,3 billion) used the internet in 2022.

živi-zeleno-ciljevi održivog razvoja

Sustainability is the only way we should live today if we want to experience a better tomorrow. It is the perfect solution to meet all our needs without compromising the needs of future generations and their livelihoods. In other words, the survival of society and our shared planet depends on a more sustainable world. In addition to following these steps, educate yourself more about each goal and support organizations working towards their achievement. You can do it through volunteering or donations. By doing so, you will contribute to the realization of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.