In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly set 17 goals as “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) address issues linked to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice. The SDGs exist in the form of certain targets for the year 2030. To help achieve these goals, we can even act individually or in small groups, thus making a positive contribution to the world.

The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) has compiled a list of 170 actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are 40 of those most relevant actions you can easily take, which shall not only help improve our planet but also bring about meaningful change in your life.  

  1. Sponsor a child so they can have access to food, education, and health.
  2. Volunteer in homeless shelters. Your time can be more valuable than money.
  3. At birthday parties offer the option to donate money to your chosen charity in replacement of a birthday gift.
  4. Donate non-perishable foods to charities.
  5. If you employ workers on minimum wage, help support their other needs like education for their children, or housing supplies.
  6. Keep a bag of apples or tinned foods in the car for street beggars.
  7. Don’t smoke.
  8. Be more active. Go for walks at lunchtime or cycle to work.
  9. Eat a healthy diet and drink a lot of water.
  10. Heart disease remains the number 1 killer. Educate yourself on the causes and symptoms of heart disease as well as other Non-Communicable Diseases.
Man jogging to become healthy
A healthier you contributes to a healthier world
  1. Take education outside the school and keep it fun. Travel. Take kids on day trips to the planetarium or museums.
  2. Share your skills with the ones who need them.
  3. Encourage schools to provide scholarships for girls.
  4. Make flexibility and work-life balance a part of your company’s culture.
  5. Fix leaks at home. A leaky faucet can waste more than 11,000 litres per year.
  6. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and while soaping in the shower.
  7. Cover the pan with a lid. It reduces the amount of energy required to boil water by 75%.
  8. Turn lights off in rooms that aren’t being used.
  9. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs and set your household appliances on low-energy settings.
  10. Provide food for low-earning workers.
Children enjoying and posing for the camera
Sponsoring a child’s education can significantly improve his or her future

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  1. Host a small event for people to donate their unused, working phones, and in turn raise the awareness about the lack of infrastructure for communication services that 1-1.5 billion people still do not have.
  2. Encourage children to make friends with kids from different cultures.
  3. Build schools, homes and offices to be more accommodating to older persons and people with disabilities.
  4. Don’t keep clothes or other items you are not using. Donate them.
  5. Arrange school groups to spend 1 hour a week on the beach, along lakes or in parks to pick up the litter and to raise awareness on water pollution.
  6. Partner with hotels and restaurants to fast track leftover foods to charities that would otherwise be thrown away.
  7. Keep showers short. Don’t fill the bath to the top. Excessive use of water contributes to global water stress.
  8. Drive less. Walk, cycle, take public transport or car pool.
  9. Take re-useable bags to the store.
  10. Maintain your car. A well-maintained car emits fewer toxic fumes.
20 to 50 percent of the food we buy ends up being wasted
20 to 50 percent of the food we buy ends up being wasted (United Nations)
  1. Organize for your school or company to plant new trees every year. Trees give oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.
  2. Only buy what you need. 20-50% of the food we buy ends up in a landfill.
  3. Use fewer plastic products, which often ends up in oceans causing the death of marine animals.
  4. Never buy products made from threatened or endangered species.
  5. Recycle used paper and go paperless where possible.
  6. Buy recycled products.
  7. Participate in your country’s decision-making processes in an informed manner.
  8. Stop violence against women. If you see it happening, report it.
  9. Demonstrate a peaceful environment at home.
  10. Practice teamwork at home. Share activities among all family members and outside the family.

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