Emily Klimmek Schwartz

bales of waste stacked in rows

Three United Nations Sustainability Goals to Help Save the Planet

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) laid out a plan to achieve a more sustainable world by 2030. The ambitious 15-year project aims to tackle 17 critical components. These components encompass issues like hunger, human rights, economic growth, natural resource management, human consumption, and more. This article summarizes three of the 17 goals, including zero hunger (Goal 2), clean water and sanitation (Goal 6), and responsible consumption and production (Goal 12).

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

According to the UN, it is estimated that nearly 9% of the world’s population is currently experiencing hunger, and approximately 2 billion people don’t have regular access to safe and nutritious food. When people are malnourished, they tend to have less energy and are more prone to disease, making it difficult to work consistently, earn more, and improve their living situation. So, the United Nations has set a goal to end worldwide hunger, achieve food security, and promote sustainable agriculture. To help achieve this goal, food-secure individuals can make sustainable food choices, like supporting local farmers and eating a more plant-based diet, minimizing food waste, and reaching out to lawmakers to demand action against hunger.

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Over 2 billion people lack consistent access to safe drinking water, according to the UN. They have also estimated that two in five medical care facilities worldwide don’t have access to soap and water. Water is essential for human life. It is also necessary for basic hygiene, cooking, and sanitation. When access to clean water and basic wastewater management are limited, people are at a higher risk for dehydration and water-related diseases. So, the United Nations has set a goal to ensure everyone across the world has access to clean water and sanitation. Those of us with access to safe water and sanitation can minimize our water waste to help achieve this goal. We can also contact our policymakers to raise awareness and demand equal access to clean water for all.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Consumption and production of material goods have dramatically increased over the last century. While consumerism drives the global economy, little attention has been paid to its concerning effects on our limited natural resources and environment. So, the UN has set a goal to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Many changes will need to occur at the industry level. However, we can become more responsible consumers and help in two main ways. The first way is by reducing the waste we create. The second is by making conscious and informed purchases. Being a conscious consumer includes carefully considering our purchases beforehand, choosing sustainable options when available, and thinking about what will happen to an item when it is no longer functioning or needed.

This article summarized just three of the United Nations’ 17 goals to achieve a more sustainable world by 2030. They included reducing hunger to zero, providing safe and clean water, and reducing our consumption. To learn more about these three goals, as well as the 14 others, please visit the United Nations’ website dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals.