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Learn How to Support the Global Goals

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what you can do to make The Global Goals famous.
  • Make a commitment to one or more Global Goals.

Supporting the Global Goals

Cartoon young people wearing tshirts emblazoned with a Global Goal logo. A young girl holds the UN Sustainable Development Goals colour wheel above her head.

Can I Support Just One Goal?  

Choosing one goal to support is a good way to start, and to take specific action. However, all the goals are interlinked, so by supporting one goal your actions can have positive impacts on other goals. For example, promoting gender equality (goal 5) in your school helps support a growing economy (goal 8) and quality education for all (goal 4).

How Can I Support the Global Goals? 

Help Make the Global Goals Famous

Here are some examples on how you can make the Global Goals famous:

  • Make your Global Goal commitment public on social media.
  • Tell your friends, family, and colleagues. It makes for great dinner conversation.
  • Teach the Global Goals at your school or host a debate.

Talking about Global Goals is a great way to start a conversation with someone you ve just met. And a great substitute for talking about the weather!

Take Action: Bringing Your Commitment to Life

You can take action right away, just like these two young women from Bali.

Sisters Melti and Isabel smiling on the beach

Melati and Isabel Wijsen are on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their beautiful island home of Bali. Plastic bags are essentially indestructible, yet they re used and thrown away with reckless abandon. Most end up in the ocean, where they pollute the water and harm marine life. The rest are burned in garbage piles, where they release harmful dioxins into the atmosphere.

“Don t ever let anyone tell you that you re too young or you won t understand,” Isabel says to other aspiring activists. “We re not telling you it s going to be easy. We re telling you it s going to be worth it.”

Logo of Bye Bye Plastic Bag - a balinese temple with bye bye plastic bag written beneath it.

What global issue were they concerned about? 

Last year a study of 192 countries led by the University of Georgia found Indonesia was the second largest source of plastic rubbish in the ocean after China. Indonesians living within 50 kilometers of the coast generated 3.22 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010—10% of the world s total.

Why did it matter to them? 

Much of the rubbish in Bali is not collected. Some plastic is burnt, acrid fumes choking sweaty afternoons. Some is simply dumped in rivers.

“In Bali we generate 680 cubic meters of plastic a day. That s about a 14-story building,” Isabel says in her TED talk. “And when it comes to plastic bags, less than 5% get recycled.”

What did they do about it? 

Beginning when they were just 10 and 12, Melati and Isabel galvanized support from their classmates, and their efforts— including petitions, beach cleanups, even a hunger strike—paid off when they convinced their governor to commit to a plastic bag–free Bali by 2018. They developed a sticker that local shops can use to declare that they’re plastic bag free.

What’s next for Melati and Isabel? 

The sisters are working on an educational booklet, aimed at elementary school students, packed with information on waste management, pollution, and how to make your own bags. Melati and Isabel continue to galvanize the people of Bali to implement a ban on plastic bags by the end of 2018.

“Change doesn t happen if no one is educated,” Melati says.

You can check out their inspiring TEDx talk here.

Cartoon of Melati and Isabel collecting plastic bags the sea while other people collect rubbish on the shoreline

Flying over to the other side of the world, a trailblazer in Turkey is tackling goal 12, responsible consumption and production, and goal 13, climate action.

Headshot photo of Elif Bilgin

Elif Bilgin is a young scientist and has been curious since she was first up on her feet. She has come up with a few interesting inventions and discoveries since then. Her curiosity for environmental issues, especially petroleum-based plastic, made her think about alternatives. She spent 2 years researching and testing, and just like Thomas Edison, she found 12 different ways to fail. Eventually though she made her first sample of bio-plastic from banana peels when she was just 16 years old.

Here s Elif in action:


What global issue was Elif concerned about? 

The environmental problems associated with living in a big city made Elif want to do something to help combat climate change.

Why did it matter to her? 

She found out that petroleum-based plastics are causing a huge amount of pollution and that bioplastics are a great low-cost alternative.

What did she do about it? 

After lots of research, Elif developed a process for making bioplastic from banana peels. Her process is so simple, you can even do it at home.

“My aim was to develop a method for using banana peels in the production of bio-plastic as a replacement for the traditional petroleum-based plastic,” Elif says. “I was able to design a method and produce nondecaying plastic using banana peels. The method I designed is so simple, it is possible to say that one could actually do it at home. This way, anyone could use this plastic. Our beautiful planet will be spared from the consequences of the production of plastics with petroleum derivatives in them such as pollution of the air, land, and water.”

What’s next for Elif? 

Elifs not stopping at banana peels: “I want to get my degree in biomedical engineering and computer science and move on to working with technology that benefits humankind,” she says.

Cartoon of Elif blending bananas and imagining the different products she could create.

Finally, let s head over to India to hear about a young man striving to achieve goal 6, clean water and sanitation.

Headshot of Rohit Fenn

Fresh water availability is already a major environmental problem in several areas of the world and will become a global problem soon. That is why it doesn t make sense to continue to flush billions of liters of treated fresh water down our toilets every day. Since 40% of the 6 billion people on earth use toilets, that s a lot of water.

Rohit Fenn embarked on a project to redesign the water closet and flush mechanism to reduce the consumption of water. He did this by adding a simple mechanism to the conventional toilet that creates a partial vacuum when the user pushes down the flush lever. He called it the Vacu-Flush.

What global issue was Rohit concerned about? 

In parts of India the sanitation system is under a lot of pressure to keep up with rapidly growing population. In other parts of India there is little sanitation at all.

Why did it matter to him? 

The lack of water, due to droughts, to keep the system working properly becomes a real problem and people fall ill through coming into contact with open sewage.

What did he do about it?  

Rohit standing in front of his Vacu-Flush presentation at Google Science Fair 2011

When Rohit was 16 he became aware of the problems India was facing in regard to the lack of clean water. He says, “This sparked in me the desire to come up with a hygienic, reliable, cheap, and water-efficient solution to the problem.” Rohit designed and tested a toilet that used a pedal mechanism to save 50% of the water conventional toilets use, reducing the amount of water used from 6 litres per flush to around 3 litres, and called it the Vacu-Flush, winning the Google science prize in 2011.

What’s next for Rohit? 

“In the future, I would like to do more projects concerning the environment. For example, my biggest dream is to build a greenhouse made of waste materials.”

Cartoon of Rohit standing in front of toilet stalls while people congratulate him for winning the Google Science prize.

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