17 Steps to Save Humanity

Olivia Lam

August 12, 2022

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SDGs: Who, What, When, Where?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September of 2015 at the New York United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, and the SDGs were given a deadline: to be achieved by 2030. There are 17 total SDGs, all with the purpose to take a holistic approach to tackle global issues in our current age. To list a few: end world hunger, end all poverty, battle climate change, protect life on both land and water, achieve gender equality, and build a peaceful society. The other 11 goals can be found here.


We all know that these goals are necessary. The man-made issues of today are terrifying and we are slowly starting to face massive repercussions because of them. We have already hit the hottest temperatures recorded in human history, there is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch (which is twice as big as Texas), at least 2 billion people continue to use contaminated water, and almost 750 million people still live on less than US $1.90 a day.

This is all well and good, as everyone wants to end world poverty and remove all microplastics from the oceans. Yet, it is hard not to be critical of such an idealistic list. How does one even go about ending world hunger? All of world hunger? How much of my first world privilege do I have to give up to provide primary education in less developed countries? If I use a disposable plastic, am I a bad person?

These may seem like lofty goals, but as a global community this does not mean we should lose hope. Between 1990-2015 we have lifted over a billion people out of poverty, education has become even more accessible, with 63% of our world population using the internet, the impact the Black Lives Matter Movement had in 2020, and from 2000 to 2018 the percentage of people with access to electricity jumped from 78% to 90%.

Will This Really Work?

The 2022 SDGs update report came out, with the unfortunate if unsurprising news that we seem to not be making the current deadline of 2030, and that urgent action is needed to reverse all of the damage we have already done. The implications of the Covid-19 pandemic have slowed progress and have set our world on an even longer trajectory for change.

Solving corruption and creating sustainable government sounds daunting, but within these big umbrella-term goals there are even smaller goals our world can start with. For instance, tax fraud and tax evasion prevents money from circulating into government programs to help build infrastructure or fund food drives. Another example would be encouraging secure and fair elections to ensure giving power to the people who represent the betterment of the community. These are not by any means easy tasks, but they may make the SDGs seem easier to manage than before.

There are a lot of things you can do to help with these goals as well. It may be as simple as contributing to a healthy online environment, maybe avoiding that single-use plastic, buying from sustainable fisheries or grocers, or not committing tax fraud.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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