Let's start with the recap of where we are: we are 7.53 billion people who generate 2.12 billion tons of waste each year. We throw away 99% of all things we buy within 6 months, and we are now 3.3 billion consumers. We are extracting 5 billion tons of resources of resources from earth each year for our living and we waste 1.3 billion tons of food per year. More food is wasted in developed countries compared to developing countries. If you take a minute to think about how appalling this statistics' sounds, we would realise the alarming impact of how unsustainable our way of living today is. Needless to mention, the Asian population of 4.5 billion (c. 60% of the world's population) is expected to increase its consumption rapidly with its fast growing economies.
Now that we know the statistics, our immediate thinking is I am not wasting all that much. If we think deeper and harder, and look around us, we know there is so much of stuff lying around that's of no use or can be use to someone else. May it be books, glasses, jackets or electronic items, you name it. Not only giving it to others who could use it reduces your cost of living but clearly will contribute to reducing your carbon footprint and help you live a simple and more meaningful life.
To this extent, United Nations has short-listed 17 goals for sustainable development. Whilst we all are chasing growth, there are goals that you can do today, and now, that would immediately start making an impact to the society you're living in. United Nations describes the following for the 17 sustainable development goals (https://bit.ly/2jHjQmD):
1. Donate what you don't use.
2. Avoid throwing away food.
3. Vaccinate your family to protect them and improve public health.
4. Help children in your community to read.
5. Call out sexist language and behavior.
6. Avoid wasting water.
7. Update only energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.
8. Buy from green companies that are equal opportunity employers.
9. Think of innovative new ways to repurpose old material.
10. Raise your voice against discrimination.
11. Bike, walk, or use public transportation to keep our cities' air clean.
12. Recycle, paper, plastic, glass and aluminium.
13. Educate young people on climate change to put them on a sustainable path early-on.
14. Avoid plastic bags to keep the oceans safe and clean.
15. Plant a tree and help protect the environment.
16. Use your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community.
17. Get the SDGs in action app to learn about the Goals and ways to help achieve them.
Without changing much of your life style, you can 1) Donate what you don't use (2) Avoid throwing away food 6) Avoid wasting water 9) think of innovative new ways to repurpose old material 11) Bike, walk or use public transportation (Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminium 14) Avoid plastic bags to keep the oceans safe and clean (16) Use your right to elect the leaders in your country and local community.
These goals are immediately doable with little to no change in your life style.
Initiatives such as Luxembourg Expats/www.luxexpats.lu subscribe to the sustainable development goals and are also committed to contributing to our community to help them achieve these goals. One of the way you can immediately use Luxembourg Expats is to give/sell/donate your unused things to be reused in buy/sell:
There are plenty of other ways some of you might be contributing and LuxExpats.lu is interested in featuring your sustainable activities on the website. If you're working on something towards the sustainable development goals or would like to contribute in your own way, reach out to discuss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable development is not a luxury only some of us can attend to; it's a necessity all of us have to contribute for an earth that's sustainable to our future generations. A promise we need to keep for our children.