2017 Social Good Summit: One Way you Aren’t Applying the SDGs

Throughout the Social Good Summit you could not help but hear and see the passion of the speakers and attendees, people who want to better our world by 2030 by implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. At the Summit, I learned about all the heroic ways people are applying the SDGs to their countries and communities. However, most of us – though passionate about our SDGs – are not applying them to one of the most important causes:

 

Ourselves.

 

I stood in the press room full of people carrying on a conversation about SDG 4, Quality Education. While we were discussing the speakers who touched upon this SDG, a journalist had approached us and asked us the most intriguing question:

 

“How are you applying the SDGs within yourself?”

 

At first, we were taken aback and didn’t know how to answer. Then, suddenly, I had an epiphany. How am I, someone who advocates for change through SDGs, someone who can speak for hours about why and who I’m passionate for regarding these goals and changes, taking it upon myself to relate to an SDG in my everyday life?

 

She knew in that moment we had been hit with a question we had never thought about.

 

When she saw that we started to hesitate she said, “This is what we are missing. We are so quick to want to apply these SDGs to someone else. To a different group of people. To people far from us. However, how can we speak on a topic that we can’t relate to? How can we advocate for something that we don’t know the feeling of?”

 

In that moment we all looked at one another. She couldn’t have spoken truer words. At first, I felt ashamed I hadn’t been applying the SDGs in every way possible. I thought I had it figured out.

 

After getting through the initial captivating question, we agreed to start thinking about how we can apply at least one SDG to ourselves. That way, when we talk to others about how to advocate for the SDGs – whether by posting on social media, or writing articles – we can experience what it feels like to truly know and apply an SDG to our own personal lives.

 

I chose to focus on SDG 3, Good Health and Well-Being. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but we forget that if we don’t take care of ourselves, mentally and physically, how can we continue to fight for someone else? We cannot advocate for something that we aren’t willing to implement in our own lives.

 

So now, I ask you the same question that was posed to me this past weekend: which SDG will you work on to improve your understanding of it and, consequently, your own life?

 

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