Now comes the truly dizzying chore of deciding what you will do to save the world. That’s not easy. You can dedicate yourself to helping out in your neighborhood, but people across the world live in far more devastating poverty than almost anyone in the U.S. Shouldn’t you help the most desperately needy rather than the people within easy reach? Climate change will have disastrous results, shouldn’t we tackle that first? What about this terrifying rise in white nationalism and the “alt-right.” Shouldn’t we be working to ALT_DELETE those crazy neo-Nazis?
Yes, yes and yes. There are a thousand ways to look at this. There are plenty of problems we desperately need to tackle. So, let’s look at a couple of ways to make this decision.
Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, world leaders came together from 193 member states of the United Nations and decided what the most pressing needs were to make the world a better place. There are seventeen global goals set for 2030:
Now, these world leaders that came together to hammer out these goals are a lot smarter than I am. If they can take all of the major problems of the world and hone them down into seventeen items, who am I to argue? Anyone who's ever participated in a model UN type program will tell you that getting anything past 193 member states is HARD. If this is what they came up with and a good portion of the world agreed on it...that's certainly something to consider focusing on.
Now, take a look at those SDGs. Does anything speak to you? Are you passionate about food and making sure children are fed? Are you really into saving the oceans? Something else? None?
Ok, so let’s make a list of everything you’re really into…topics that really motivate you to get up out of your chair and do something. Just the top five.
Chances are that whatever you wrote down actually fits into one of the SDGs. They were designed to be pretty broad. Draw a dash after each topic you wrote down and write down the SDG that most closely aligns with your passion. Like this:
Boy, I'm really into that SDG 16, huh?
There. Now, I’ve narrowed down all of the top world problems that I’m potentially going to work on to five. Five is a manageable number. I can do this. Maybe not all at once, but in a sustained manner over the rest of my life, I can make a substantial impact in these five areas.
What's your top five? Post a comment with yours!