We are in middle of constant discussions about world problems from gender equality to global warming and a need of clean water (that Oksana described in her inspiring post entitled ‘The taste of water’ https://researcherblogski.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/the-taste-of-the-water/). These discussions are not only led by politicians, scientists and activists but also by everyman in the streets of our towns. Discussions are crucial as they bring awareness but they are not quite the same as actions.
So the question is: what I can do to make a real difference as an individual?
In my personal view, I reflect a lot about an impact both as a scientist and as ordinary human being. After years of doing basic biomedical research I am wondering how much I really contribute to the improvement of health and well-being. The same applies to everyday life; do my actions and behaviours influence the world? Although there is a need to close the gap between basic science and healthcare system I still believe that basic research is crucial. I try to think about my research as a small piece of much bigger puzzle. But what about the world problems? Do my small actions make any difference in this big world?
If you have the same kind of dilemma I would like to encourage you to visit United Nation website and increase your awareness about Sustainable Development Goals and vision to 2030 (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/).
Sustainable Development Goals address a range of social issues such as healthcare, education, social protection, and job opportunities as well as they tackle climate change and environmental protection.
17 goals consist of:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
- Partnerships to achieve the Goal
As awareness doesn’t equal action UN equips us with ’The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World’ (https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/), which is divided into 4 levels:
- Sofa superstar
- Household hero
- Neighbourhood nice guy
- Exceptional employee.
Now, when we obtained real guidelines how an individual can contribute the last thing to do is to just take some action. We can improve/change our behaviour at home by saving electricity or eating less meat. We can also serve as an example at work by speaking up, mentoring younger people or knowing our rights. We can make a difference on our way by shopping locally, biking, using refillable water bottle or electing leaders in our community.
This Christmas I made a decision to be more optimistic and use my energy to do some good. I also regain a hope that small steps matter and I hope that all the ‘Grinches of small actions’ will at least raise awareness about Sustainable Development Goals.
Can we fix it as individuals? Yes we can!