If you still haven’t heard of sustainable development, now is the time.
The United Nations define sustainable development as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
It is actually based on three major components: social development aiming social equity, economic development intending prosperity, and environmental development targeting environmental protection for future generations.
In order to make this big notion of sustainability more tangible and specific, the UN proposed 17 goals to be accomplished by 2030 that are considered “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”:
Goal 1: No Poverty
Goal 2: Zero Hunger
Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
Goal 4: Quality Education
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
Goal 13: Climate Action
Goal 14: Life Below Water
Goal 15: Life on Land
Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Let’s start with small changes you can make at home:
- Avoid wasting food: if you are looking to feed 4 people, cook for 8 people, not for a village! Doubling your recipe can save up energy and resources. For leftovers, give them to a homeless person or eat them the next day. Avoid wasting water as well!
- Recycle: separating your trash isn’t enough. You also need to give it to a company that recycles. NGOs such as Live Love Recycle and arcenciel can help.
- Limit your meat consumption: this does NOT mean you should go vegan or stop eating meat. It just means that eating red meat twice a week instead of 7 times a week wouldn’t be so bad. Actually, producing red meat costs a lot of energy, money, and resources. All those can be used in alternative ways if we can reduce our demands of red meat.
Next step, the supermarket:
- If you live close to the supermarket, leave your car at home. Walking there is better for you AND the environment.
- Choose fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Encourage local farmers and small companies: a neighbor that sells dairy products, an uncle that grows his own vegetables… almost everyone knows at least one person who produces some food. Buy from them! If you don’t know anyone, or would like to invest more in this, check out Souk el Tayeb’s page.
- Use the right packaging: using 3 plastic bags for 3 different products is definitely not the right way to do it. Use eco-friendly packaging, or at least, use less bags! Also, choose 1 family-sized product instead of 3 regular-sized packages of the same product for example – it’s less package quantity for the same food quantity!
- Buy “ugly” produce: you know what they say, “inner beauty is all that matters”. Just because a tomato isn’t completely tomato-looking, that doesn’t mean it should be thrown away! Odds are it will taste just as good as a regular-shaped tomato.
Finally, when eating outside:
- If you’re taking your lunch or some snacks to work, put them in reusable packages.
- At restaurants, take the leftovers with you. No, it’s not “3ayb”. You can eat them later or give them to a homeless person. Leaving them on the table means they’ll be thrown away – you will have wasted your money, the food, and the restaurant’s resources (water, electricity, time, etc.).
- When ordering or taking food from home, don’t order/take more than necessary: you know how much food you can handle, so why force yourself to try to handle more?
Yes, these steps are not easy to make. What’s even harder is reaching your 70s and realizing that you could have prevented the horror that’s happened around you by following quick and clear instructions.
No, I am not being dramatic. It really is that serious, and you can really make a difference. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most people wait on others to take action. Don’t be one of these people. Start taking action, more people will follow. If enough people get involved, food industries will also start investing in sustainable development strategies. So yes, YOU can help make the planet a better place.
Remember that our planet has been here long before we have. It’s been giving us, amongst other things, water, food and shelter. Don’t you think it’s time we took better care of it? And if it’s not for the planet, do it for the future generations.
- Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform [Internet]. Sustainabledevelopment.un.org. 2018. Available from: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org
- von Koerber K, Bader N, Leitzmann C. Wholesome Nutrition: an example for a sustainable diet. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2016;76(01):34-41.
- 5 Ways Grocery Stores Can and Should Be More Sustainable [Internet]. Spoon University. 2018. Available from: https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/grocery-stores-sustainable-5-ways-to-make
- 33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly | TIME.com [Internet]. TIME.com. 2018. Available from: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/24/33-ways-to-eat-environmentally-friendly/