How YOU Can Contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Bodhi Surf + Yoga / Surf + Yoga Camp Blog / How YOU Can Contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

This is part three of a series on the SDGs and their importance, read parts one and two here

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call to action that unites all of us globally. No matter where in the world you’re reading this from, or whether you’re a business or an individual, it is time to recognize that we must all come together to address the global issues that will affect each and every one of us.

At Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we strive to do our part, and utilize our operation to inspire individuals and other businesses to follow suit.

Young man picks up trash in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica

Sustainable Development Goals on an individual level

As you’ll now know, in 2015 the 190 countries that make up the United Nations met in Paris with the goal of addressing the impending danger of climate change. From there, the 17 SDGs were born. For more information about these SDGs and their purposes, you can revisit the first and second parts of this blog series.

These goals were originally developed for macro-levels of participation, mainly including:

  • the governments of these UN-participant countries,
  • filtering down into larger corporations,
  • and later smaller businesses, like us here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga.

However, the participation does not stop there. SDGs are not only able to be adopted governmentally and within the offices of large multinational corporations, but also on an individual level.

What does this mean? YOU CAN HELP TOO. As an individual, whether you are implementing SDGs in your workplace, at school, in your free time, or even at home; you can help to create a better and healthier world.

In this blog, we’ll talk about how important your role is and how you can integrate some of the SDGs into your daily life in order to do exactly that. After all, it’s our planet, so it’s our shared responsibility to protect it.

Bodhi Surf + Yoga intern George Frost, and his Ocean Guardian Pledge

Intern (and author of this blog!) George Frost makes a personal commitment

Individual action is so important — for current and future generations

To put it in the simplest way possible, your participation matters! Seriously, it does. By integrating SDGs and their targets into your life, you are taking an extremely important responsibility to protect our planet. As you can see from the different goals and their purposes (blog 1), by participating in this you are:

  • reducing the impact that you as an individual have on the environment
  • contributing to a healthier global society
  • protecting and creating a better world for our future generations

These are all extremely important points, but let’s focus on that last one. Future generations also deserve access to a beautiful and healthy planet, so it’s the responsibility of those who are here now to protect that for them. They too deserve to have clean air, healthy and plentiful food supply, and clean refreshing water.

By making more informed and responsible choices, it is more likely that future generations will also have access to a healthy planet. This is called sustainable development, which is the concept that is central to the SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Commission defines the term as “development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” As you’ll see in this blog, integrating and sticking to your SDG commitments is a helpful guide to sharing resources more equitably while still living comfortably today.

Seems fair enough, doesn’t it?

Bodhi intern aids in Carbon Neutral process

Measuring your individual impact

Before we get into the SDGs more specifically and how you can commit to some of them individually, let’s take a look at how you can keep track of the impact that your actions already have. Most of us don’t even understand how our daily activities impact the environment, or whether that impact is positive or negative.

So how can we?

Utilize the SDG Action Manager

You may recall from the second blog of the series, the SDG Action Manager is a great way of measuring and understanding your impact. Inspired by the Certified B Corp community, the Action Manager enables you to make meaningful decisions and actions through self-assessment, benchmarking, and improvement.

Basically, it allows you to:

  • pick which SDGs matter most to you and how to take daily action on them
  • get a clear idea of how your actions can create a positive impact
  • set goals and track improvement

Support B Corp-certified businesses

One extremely important way of making responsible purchasing decisions is by supporting B Corps. As you will have seen in the first two blogs these are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

B Corps harness the power of business, “using profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.”

By supporting a B Corp like us here at Bodhi Surf + Yoga, you help us make a difference.

We are proud to….

  1. Be a 1% For The Planet member
  2. Offset our carbon footprint, including giving guests the option to offset their flights
  3. Partner with other B Corp businesses, such as Klean Kanteen and Native Energy
  4. Encourage guests to take our Ocean Guardian Pledge

This is just one example of how, by supporting responsible businesses, you are being a much more sustainable consumer — thus reducing the negative impact that your purchases may have on communities and the environment.

Responsible consumers need responsible businesses

As consumers, we are incredibly powerful. We create demand in the marketplace that businesses then come and satisfy by supplying their products and services. The more that we demand responsible products and services, the more responsible businesses come to satisfy that demand.

So where do you fit in all this? Support responsible businesses! By purchasing from businesses that commit to the SDGs or are B Corp-certified, you are a part of that demand. In a way, it’s like lobbying other businesses to become more responsible.

What SDGs can I commit to as an individual?

And now, the part you’ve all been waiting for! You can commit to developing habits that advance any of the 17 SDGs. But just to get the ball rolling, here are five that you can easily commit to as an individual, and how!

SDG 4: Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

  • You can volunteer for local education programs and initiatives for children (educational camps, language classes, or after school programs)
  • Help fund and/or donate books and classroom materials (pens, pencils, paper) to local schools for children less-financially able
  • At work, hire local students and provide internship/apprenticeship opportunities for students at local schools

SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequalities within and among countries

  • You can be more inclusive and learn to be more accepting of other cultures, religions, etc.
  • Strive to educate yourself and those around you on the prejudice and inequalities that exist within our society
  • Always give everyone around you, whether at work, school, or anywhere else, equal opportunities irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, etc.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Don’t overbuy — plan meals and use lists to prevent this
  • Try to eat less meat, poultry, and fish; producing these for consumption emits much more carbon than producing plant-based foods
  • Buy from local growers, rather than large corporations which buy in bulk and likely produce a large amount of waste
  • Donate your clothes, books, furniture, etc. rather than throwing them away

SDG 14: Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development

  • When you go to the beach, ensure that you clean up after yourself and don’t leave anything behind
  • Be careful not to tamper with marine wildlife
  • Make a pledge to host or attend beach clean-ups monthly, bi-montly, etc.

SDG 15: Life on Land

Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and habitat biodiversity loss

  • Support sustainable farming and growing practices in your regular purchasing habits: buy local, organic, and mostly plant-based
  • Have your own garden if possible, and learn sustainable gardening techniques from local experts
  • Take on reforestation volunteer efforts with your peers at home, at work, or in any of your other communities

Bodhi Surf + Yoga's community of Bahia Ballena

You can do it — no action is too small!

You’ve reached the finale of our three-part series on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals! Since you’ve made it this far, you’re probably very determined and more than ready to commit to adopting some of the SDGs yourself. Good job!

Just remember, no action you take is too small, and your efforts are extremely important. There are so many ways that you can take responsibility for your own impact — from supporting B Corps and other responsible businesses, to adopting the SDGs on your own.

Together, we can do this — and we must.

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About the author

George Frost