How To Tackle Really Big Problems – Like The Future Of Humanity


Thursday, 9.31pm

Sheffield, U.K.

You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. – Eldridge Cleaver

The UN Sustainable Development Goals have been coming up a lot in conversations – so what are they and why should you care about them?

You could start by reading the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 91 clauses and nearly 15,000 words, but what if you want a quick summary?

un-sdg-official.png Source: UN in collaboration with Project Everyone

The graphic above lists 17 goals – a todo list for world leaders to do some really big things and improve the situation on the planet.

Looking at that list, however, do you understand what they’re trying to do?

I struggled a bit – the 17 items seem sort of related and sort of not.

But 17 items is just too many to have in your head and think about.

So I thought it might help to group them and look at them again – which looks like this:


When you do that, you start to see relationships between the goals.

Some have to do with basic needs – like having money, food and energy.

Others have to do with opportunity – like having an education decent work and being treated the same.

We’d like to live in good societies – peaceful ones, with safe cities and responsible industries.

And we need to look after the planet – to preserve the life on land and sea.

And this results in higher level, simpler view that looks like this:


Writing out the points as a sentence:

We need to work together to meet humanity’s basic needs, enable people to contribute, create decent societies and preserve the planet.

Which, quite frankly, is everyone’s job – not just for world leaders.

So there you go – nearly 15,000 words reduced to 21.

Now you can’t argue that that you don’t know what the plan is to save the world.

So the next question is what are we going to do to help?



Karthik Suresh

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