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169 Ways to Change the World.

[Image: 'Kiribati Beneath the Waves' | © Kadir Van Lohuizen]

 

The last couple of months have seen me immerse myself in the inspiring (yet terrifying) world of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals – 17 overarching goals, 169 targets and 230 measures that were launched in January 2016 to try to create the kind of world in 2030 that all of us should be aspiring to live in.

 

No Poverty. No Hunger. Education for All. Good Health & Wellbeing. Gender Equality. Decent Work. Peace. Climate Change addressed.

 

And that's just 8 of the 17 goals – read them all and you'll get seriously inspired about the future that lies ahead of us (even in these politically leaderless times).

 

Yet read them all and you also run the risk of losing some serious sleep.

 

1.2 billion people living in poverty in the world today. 795 million people undernourished. 45 million living in slavery. 100 million women 'missing' in the Asia–Pacific due to gender inequality. And population growth doing its utmost to magnify the impacts of climate change into something approaching armageddon.

 

I confess to being somewhat overwhelmed by the horror of the numbers in the previous paragraph. As someone fortunate enough to be living in moderate comfort by Australian standards, but in absurd luxury when considering the poverty facing the 1.2 billion mentioned above, I find myself lurching between relief and fear.

 

Relief that my two girls will (hopefully) never face abject poverty in their lives; but fear that so many millions in the world will, that living in 'The Lucky Country' will cease to protect them from the seismic changes that seem to be rushing at us.

 

When I work on projects like the one that has been consuming me for the last few weeks, I can't help but lose a few hours (nights?) sleep.

 

The challenges facing humanity are complex, growing and in need of leadership that seems to be beyond the Western World's Political Class.

 

And yet it is this sleeplessness, combined with the sheer breadth and complexity of the Sustainable Development Goals that actually gives me hope.

 

Impossible as successfully achieving 169 targets may seem to the vast majority of the developing world, knowing what those targets actually are is at least half the battle.

 

Actually delivering them is the harder 'other' half of the battle, but, as the world looks to 2030 and all the glorious chaos that is heading our way, I (for one) am happier knowing that we at least know the scale of the challenge facing us.

 

Even if actually overcoming that challenge feels much, much further away today than it should.

 

 

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