Sustainable Development and You

Many of you, I'm sure, are familiar with the term "Sustainable Development." Indeed, it has been something of a buzzword/term for us in the Caribbean for quite some time. However, we frequently hear terms like Sustainable Development and toss them into the same part of our brains where we store other concepts like World Peace; a sad but true fact for the majority of us. While we may be aware of global efforts to promote the long-term development of all countries, the work of governments or large corporations to facilitate this development is frequently overlooked, and individual responsibility is rarely considered.

When the Republic Group signed on to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking - a single framework for a sustainable banking industry developed through a partnership with banks around the world and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative - in October of last year, I was forced to confront this thought (UNEP FI). While the Principles for Responsible Banking ensure that the banking industry's strategies and practices are aligned with the shared global vision for the future outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, I was curious about how they impacted me personally. What did this imply for me as a person?

Increasing the world's population's standard of living while also ensuring the long-term use of our planet's resources is a tall order, but it is certainly doable. Its success, on the other hand, is based on individual action and responsibility. Yes, governments and corporations make a difference, but we, as individuals, also have role to play as well. But where should we begin?

The first step is to educate oneself. You can become more aware of what's going on around you by doing research and staying informed. Understanding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how they affect you can serve as a springboard for action. You may be passionate about a specific goal, such as ending poverty, achieving gender equality, or providing high-quality education. Action follows passion.

In this context, action does not have to entail organizing a large-scale demonstration in support of climate action; it can simply entail informing friends or co-workers about the effects of climate change. It could also imply making minor adjustments to your daily routine. This can include bringing your own reusable shopping bag to the store or washing and reusing a ceramic coffee mug at work rather than single-use Styrofoam cups. Simple changes like these can have a huge impact.

There is a popular quote which says “You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself.” I believe that by changing our individual behaviours, we can collectively change the world. So, I implore you to delve deep into the recesses of your mind and pull out concepts like World Peace and Sustainable Development to see what YOU can do to bring them to fruition. After all, it is our future generations who will benefit from our efforts.

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