Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Sustainable Development Goals-GSU Global Health

September 10, 2020 · 1 Comment · SDGs, Uncategorized

Sustainable Development Goals consist of 17 goals mapped out by the United Nations that aspire to create a healthier, equitable, and connected future for the world. These goals are centered around “investing in the future we want.” They consist of initiatives anywhere from ending world hunger and promoting well-being all the way to promoting world peace and standing up to fight injustices. However, although 193 countries have joined the movement to reach these goals by the year 2030, why is it that so many individuals residing in their respective countries do not know what these goals are? Why, if these goals are geared towards creating a future of unity, do so many citizens continue to carry on with their daily lives unaware of the small actions they can take to help?

Sustainable Development Goals, at a glance, look daunting and can seem absolutely unachievable to a single person. However, what most people do not realize is that these goals are not meant for a single person, single family, single company, or even a single country to accomplish all by their lonesome. These goals require a banded effort. These goals can only be achieved if the majority of our world starts to make conscious decisions on things they can do to improve the status of our planet. I think that when presented with this initiative, most people believe that they have to make a large contribution. They think that they have to donate “X” amount of money that they may not have, volunteer every second of their free time to the community, feed the hungry in their county, or house the homeless in their homes on their own. I feel like most people believe that they can only participate through large gestures that they may not be able to make and that can feel like a lot of pressure. However, in regards to SDGs, that is not the case at all. A person can contribute to the overall success of these goals by making small chances in their day to day lives such as taking a shorter shower, carpooling to work with a colleague, eating one meal a week without meat, poultry, or fish, or using a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one. These goals will not be accomplished by one person, even if that one person is putting their best efforts forward. I believe one of the best things a person can contribute to the success of these goals would be educating themselves as well as the youth in our nation.

                                 Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students - TeacherVision

The youth in each country hold the future in their hands and odds are, they do not even know it yet. However, by planting the seeds in their minds about a sustainable future, we are already one step further towards reaching our goal. Through educating and guiding our youth, we are allowing them to gain a perspective on the world that we live in and by doing so, we are opening up the opportunity for them to become world changers. An example of a young leader would be Karan Jerath. Karan Jerath was in high school when the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occurred near his hometown. While witnessing such a devastating accident, he educated himself on the impact that oil spill would have on the environment. As he researched, he stumbled upon many smaller similar incidents that occur far more often than we realize and it inspired him to take action. Karan was able to put his research to use and created a device that contains oil spills at their source (United Nations, 2019). Through educating himself and caring about the impacts of our human actions, he created something incredible that had the potential to save the environment in countless ways. He is living, breathing proof of what educating our youth can provide for the success of these goals. This is why I believe that the Future We Want Campaign in Atlanta is a great way to create change in our community.YoungLeaders_Gif16 - Copy

The Future We Want Campaign is an initiative pushed by the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of International Affairs with Atlanta Global Studies Center and the United Nations Association of Atlanta that is creating conversations for students K-12 about the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this campaign, students of a wide age range will begin their educational journey on something that many students my age may not have even been introduced to yet. By starting the conversation earlier in a student’s life, they have the opportunity to apply that knowledge to their studies, their families, and their community as they continue their educational journeys. As students grow and formulate their own opinions, thoughts, and ideas about Sustainable Development Goals, they can lead the conversation towards a more casual approach. If students become introduced to these goals at an earlier time in their lives, then they can potentially push our communities in the direction we have needed to head in for a long time. This is why I believe Atlanta is making great strides not only for our community, but also for our nation as we set an example for what standards we should be striving for. 

As a student in Public Health, I will be the first to admit that until about a year or so ago I was unaware of what Sustainable Development Goals were. I became aware of the initiative after going on a service trip with my undergraduate university to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. During this experience, a group of students and I had the opportunity to learn about environmentalism and sustainability efforts. From there, I started to make small changes in my daily life such as walking to campus every other day, using a reusable water bottle, making the conscious effort to recycle, and I even adapted a vegan diet. Once I started making those smaller changes and realized how easy they were, I became curious about other efforts our nation has made to promote sustainability. I began to research ways in which I can create a larger impact and through this research, I stumbled upon the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and decided to pursue my Master’s in Public Health.


The Sustainable Development Goals are important in more ways than one. Through the Future We Want Campaign in Atlanta, students will be able to weave these ideations into the everyday fabric in this community. If more communities adapt a campaign similar to this, the change that can occur can be life changing. It takes one drop in the water to create a ripple effect, just as it can take one conversation about Sustainable Development Goals to create an initiative that can take a community one step further towards the success we so want to see in 2030. It is imperative to understand that these goals are not for any one person to accomplish, but it is through a joint effort in which we all can take a stand to create the future we want.

Strategies for delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals: Some lessons from Rwanda

“Meet the Young Leaders for the SDGs.” United Nations, United Nations,           


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