As you let the fact that more than half the year has already passed and then have yourself a mini existential crisis to boot, it’s good to remember that we need to do our part to make sure our home remains a great place to live.
So why not turn your eyes towards saving the world-ish? Because let’s face it, you gave up your resolution to be nicer to people the second that one cousin you never speak to asked you why you’re still single. At the family breakfast. On January 1st.
Enter the awesome brainy bunch over at the United Nations (UN), who’ve taken the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and reworked them into a foolproof, idiot-proof, and apathy-proof way for every single person to get woke.
What are the SDGs you might ask? Think of them as 17 guidelines, ranging from gender equality, to quality education, to environment protection and even wellbeing; each goal forms part of an agenda adopted by member states of the UN that will guide the countries until 2030, and with their Lazy Person’s Guide, even the staunchest climate change denier can do their bit.
1. Couch potato goodness
As you reach over to charge your phone, make sure you’ve got all your appliances lined up on a power strip to save energy. Turning off your appliances completely when not in use also helps conserve power.
Maybe you’re booking a plane ticket, tolling through your bank statements, or jean just purchased your tickets to your favourite concert. The takeaway: don’t print. Trees are your friends. There are tonnes of apps available on phones and tablets to host and store tickets, and most transactions can now be settled online.
Also, social media is not necessarily a bad thing, if you know how to use it. Share stories and posts about equal rights, do your research and support sustainable industries, engage in healthy conversations on climate change, and get to online to ensure your government is in line with the Paris Agreement at both the local and national level.
2. Start local, tipo at home
Once you’ve managed to tear yourself away from the couch (Westworld will still be there when you get back), take a good look around the house. Invest in energy efficient appliance (and dispose of the old ones in the proper way), freeze food you don’t eat right away, and if you have to use a washing machine, make sure the load is full.
You can also take shorter showers (not baths – showers), reduce your consumption of meat, fish and poultry, and use a dishwasher instead of washing and rinsing the dishes by hand.
Done that too? Try buying goods that have the least amount of packaging (and make sure that’s recyclable too), invest in solar panels, and if you haven’t done so already, recycle your damn waste.
3. Taking it to the next level, beyond your front door
And you’ve left the house. Good on you. Consider getting to your destination on foot. And if that’s not an option, maybe a bicycle or public transport can do wonders to dropping your carbon footprint.
If you’re going shopping, look around the local area. You’ll be cutting down on emissions by not using a car, and you’ll be helping sustain local communities and small businesses. Shop sensibly and plan ahead, don’t buy more than you need, and ‘weird’ looking fruit and vegetables are just as tasty and healthy as the next one – if you’re making guacamole, do you really need a perfectly-shaped avocado?
On a more serious note: Use. Your. Right. To. Vote.
Oh, and for the love of everything that is good, vaccinate yourselves and your children (if you’ve got them anyway). That vaccines-cause-autism schtick has been disproven a billion times over.
4. Take your newfound saving-the-world persona to work
Now that you’ve walked/cycled/taken the bus and gloated about it to the entire office, extend your social responsibility with everyone at the office. Are the best-practice policies for waste disposal? Is there efficient energy use in the office? Are your coworkers aware of their impact and responsibilities?
While you’re at it, be a voice for those who may feel threatened or unable to speak up. Discrimination in the workplace is still a real problem, be it because of gender, sexual orientation, ability, race or creed. You can also report instances of gender pay gaps to the proper authorities, and you should stand as a united front in the face of such disparities to show support for equal pay for equal work.
So really, at the end of the day, it’s not that hard to make a difference in the world. And if all else fails, you can always rub it in the face of your nosy relationship-conscious relative that you’re too busy being woke. Or at least trying to be.