The truth about SDG 18

These are extraordinary times, and I’m not just talking about the Coronoavirus health pandemic, but an environmental, economic, gender-imbalance, runaway toxic political, societal-behavior sanity-checking Pandemic.


If 2020 is about our crystal vision, then the greater need of whatever we think needs fixing requires some serious truth telling. And the truth is, we have to start with ourselves.


The idea for SDG18 (the unofficial 18th Sustainable Development Goal) was an answer to a question, "why is it taking so long to heal our world's problems?" That naive and also audacious question may sound like one a 6-year old would ask. That means it demands a simple and honest answer. If you follow the deep root system of any single problem of each and every one of the United Nations 17 SDGs, you will find that personal behavior has a catalyzing and a perpetuating impact on that problem. Or, at best, can be reversed with personal responsibility that comes from Self Awareness and Personal Agency, the two Goals of SDG18. To know the impact of our actions, which are possible because of our thoughts, we must have self awareness. To then take action or change that behavior requires an awareness, or a willingness to seek out and know how to do that, i.e.; personal agency.


Everyone has a story. Every story has a narrative, a personal spin, a bias. Truth telling invites us to deconstruct that story with a new set of goggles. Start with any condition of the planet that you find yourself complaining about. Don't be afraid. You may return to your original truth anytime you feel unsafe. Just try your best to venture back out to the edges of that truth to be really sure it's the truth.


Start by drawing that condition in the center of a piece of paper. On one side of the paper, identify just a few of the impacts of that condition. Circle them. On the other side of the paper, identify the cause and break it down until it gets to you and your action. In the illustration below, I was able to deconstruct something the magnitude of global warming down to my consuming habits.



Try it. It's fun. Don't stop until you get to what is your personal advocacy. That is the meaning of self awareness, and now you will have the most simplest action items to take. I will start with wanting, buying, and throwing away less. BTW- this illustration is a conceptual one, and can be broken down for days. I stopped on this small piece of paper. These are just a few of the items associated with global warming. However, take another look. Each one of the items that are circled can be deconstructed themselves and the inter-connectivity and interdependence they all share starts to emerge. It's amazing that I have so much power in my consuming habits.


What would it look like if you put a person who triggers you in the center of that page. On one side of the page, list the behaviors that bother you. On the other side of the page list your common traits. Now, draw a line to a shared quality, and a common value you share. Are you seeing something different with your 2020 vision?


Whether you deconstruct a problem or issue on paper or not, next time you find yourself complaining about, well, anything, ask yourself, "what am I doing (or not doing) so that this exists. You may not always come to an easy solution, like global warming, but it's a great habit to strengthen your self awareness.





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