Environment

Every 5th of June, the UN celebrates the World Environment Day. This year, the main theme is plastic pollution, a serious issue that has been contaminating land and oceans for decades.

UN plastic cleaning initiative

I have a challenge for you. Can you change one small habit in a one-week time?

Next Tuesday, on the 5th of June, the whole planet will be celebrating the World Environment Day. The date has been part of the UN calendar since 1974 and is a platform for raising awareness about critical issues like global warming, sustainable consumption and wildlife protection. In 2018, the main theme is just as urgent and worrying as ever: the plastic pollution that affects both land and seas and has been slowly killing biodiversity.

Now, back to the challenge. We’re a week away from World Environment Day. What could you do to put your grain of sand in this big, global castle that is environmental consciousness? Here are a few tips on how to contribute with a small action that can become a healthy habit and help to change the world.

– Say ‘no’ to straws: They are useless, can’t be reused and are one of the big villains of the oceans’ pollution. If you really need one, bring your own reusable version.

– Use tote instead of plastic bags: They are trendy, reusable and very environmental-friendly. Many cities are now banning plastic bags or charging for them, so ditching them is a way of being a good citizen, too.

UN beach cleanup in Mumbai, India

– Give preference to package-free supermarkets of grocery stores: They’re a trend in many big cities. Bring your own pot or package and fill them with the products you need. Many of them also work with organic and local products, which is a plus for your health and your community.

– Put pressure on local politicians to make stricter laws: What about calling your councilor and ask what he or she is doing to prevent plastic pollution in your city? Many cities have also open programs for citizens, like the participatory budget one where you can help decide where the money is going. Make sure they’re including the environment among their priorities!

– Join plastic cleaning initiatives in your city: You can support or volunteer for an NGO which works with plastic cleaning, or start your own initiative. While walking on the beach or in nature, you can pick all the plastic you find and give them a correct destination. Take the kids and make it a fun treasure hunt!

– Don’t forget to recycle: If your city doesn’t have a recycling program, try to contact NGOs or other initiatives that help you to dispose correctly of your garbage.

– Join the #HoryouLightChallenge: Pick your favorite SDG and share it within the Horyou platform. You can help to raise awareness about reducing plastic pollution in the oceans or any other cause you feel connected to. And you can also win an all-included trip to Singapore! See the conditions here.

Are you up to the challenge? The clock is ticking, you have one week to make a change!

The Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations for 2030 has been staging since 2015 a series of goals to guide the world on the path of sustainability with the aim of eradicating poverty, improving living conditions and take immediate action in the conservation of the environment. Thus, each of the 17 SDGs support and promote a specific field that private, public and civil sectors are committed to empower and represent.

SDGs


The scope of these objectives reflects not only an advance in the development of each country or region of the world, but also demonstrates the synergies and international cooperation willing to act for the social good. But how can you contribute individually to these initiatives?

Here are a few tips:

1. Support them in social networks
Social networks like Horyou allow you to share projects and actions related to the scope of some sustainable development objective and allow other international organizations to help you achieve your goals, either through funding or promoting visibility.

2. Improve your visibility
Always use #SDG (as well as #ODD, #ODS, or other hashtag, depending on your language of choice) in any publication on social media, so that the support you give to a certain cause or project is visible. Thus, it will be easier to find people supporting the same objective and the probability of achieving future connections will be greater.

3. Join new challenges
Lose the fear and support new initiatives like the #HoryouLightChallenge whereby you can share your positive actions in favor of sustainable development as well as in your daily routine.


4. Turn your passion into help

Inspire your friends


Identify which of the sustainable development objectives is aligned more with your routines, habits and work and share innovative ways to contribute to solutions aimed at the proposed goals.

5. Be an ambassador for your goal of preference
Share with your community and inspire your circle of friends to support Sustainable Development Goals through their daily routines.

In this way, every one of us can contribute a bit to the global agenda of sustainable development and have by 2030 a healthier planet and better living conditions for us and future generations.

 

 

Written by Sueyfer de la Torre

 

The Asian city was recently named top country for meeting UN health goals and has already achieved 4 of the 17 sustainable development goals. Here’s the story.

Singapore has already achieved 4 of the 17 sustainable development goals

The year is 2015. A coalition of countries, Singapore included, have adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals and two years later 43 of them presented Voluntary National Reviews in which they committed to specific goals. Despite the regional and national commitments, many countries are still far from reaching the voluntary goals they set for 2030 but some are taking a straightforward path. Singapore is one of them.

According to the SDG Index and Dashboard Report, Singapore has already reached four out of the 17 SDGs (1, 7, 8 and 9), the highest number in all South and East Asia. The city-state is also closer than any other country to meeting health-related targets, according to a global health review published by The Lancet Medical Journal last September. Singapore is now placed at the 61st position out of 167 countries in the SDG Index.

Its Achilles’ heel is the import of emissions, including nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which is common in small countries due to their need to import and trade goods. In order to improve this scenario, Singapore should whether diversify its economy or set trade policies so the imported goods would be more sustainable.

As for the other SDGs, Singapore is clearly investing in reducing gender inequalities, promoting education and strengthening institutions. The literacy rate has now reached 99,9% and the rate of female labor participation in the workforce is over 76%. The quality of institutions and the safety of the population is one of the highest in the world.

The evolution is ongoing. The city is making an effort to host more events related to the SDGs, such as the Unleash Innovation Lab, next May, and the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, SIGEF 2018, Horyou’s main SDGs event, next September. In addition to bringing diversity and innovation, the events help the city to become known as an SDG-friendly place and a hub for ideas and actions to attain the goals.

Singapore is proudly known as The Garden City by its citizens. The nickname makes every bit of sense – the city is investing in environmental-friendly projects and is committed to sustainability.

Gardens by the Bay

What comes to one’s mind when one hears of Singapore? Many would say a high-tech, advanced city-state with a dense population and a praiseworthy economic performance. But there’s much more to one of the most innovative communities of the Eastern world as indeed Singapore has been investing heavily in sustainability, green projects and innovative policies – a long-term commitment that should serve as an example for other countries to follow.

There are three fields where the city stands out when it comes to green innovation: urban planning, water management and clean energy. It’s all connected – green buildings, mandatory since 2008, help people to save water, cool temperatures down naturally and improve the quality of the air. They also provide healthier, open spaces for adults and children.

In urban planning, for example, Singapore has set a rule for new developments in the Marina Bay area whereby developers must comply with a 100% greenery replacement policy. It’s also in the same area that the city has created one of the largest freshwater reservoirs in the world and set aside a 250 acres of green area named Gardens by the Bay. Many public buildings have now their own green terraces. Connected with one another, they make jogging tracks up in the sky!

The city aims to attain by 2030 a 80% score in the environmental performance rating called Green Mark, reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. In Marina Bay, visitors can find Supertrees which collect solar energy by day and by night perform a beautiful light show. Singapore has also an electric car project called Eva Taxi, a collaborative project developed by the local university that will transform public transportation while saving energy.

Regarding water management, Singapore has invested in the reuse of reclaimed water, rainwater collection system and dessalination. Committed to building a water-conscious society, the city has won many prizes for its efforts on public and private management of water and is considered as a benchmakr in the use of innovation in the sustainable use of water.

The host city of SIGEF 2018 is on the frontline of innovation for good!

Biodiversity is the ecosystem that has shaped the environment which allowed for human life to exist millions of years ago. Preserving this ecosystem is thus key issue to our survival, failing that, then this would pose a serious threat to human existence, as heralded by the extinction of a number of other living species.

Photo: UNDP

In Greek mythology, Flora and Fauna were goddesses who represented many aspects of ancient life. While Flora, goddess of spring, would be used as a symbol of youth and fertility, Fauna was mainly described as a strong female figure who could foresee the future. According to the elders, Fauna’s songs resonated the fate of humankind.

Which fate would Fauna be singing today? Come every spring, may we still see any future for youth and fertility? Living in a world where technology allows for men to conquer space in search for other viable ecosystems, deforestation and loss of biodiversity are still huge sources of concern on earth. SDG 15 is a call for the protection of life on land: not just animals but everything around us – trees, fungi, mountains, land and native populations.

According to UNDP, progress in preserving and sustainably using Earth’s terrestrial species and ecosystems is uneven. The good news is that more forests are being protected and many countries are putting policies and certifications in place to safeguard their ecosystems. But the effort made by governments and NGOs is not enough. Many key biodiversity areas are still under threat as they are not protected. Even when they are, the lack of inspection, added to corruption, make preservation more difficult. Land productivity has been declining since 1998, especially in South America and Africa, which aggravates desertification, security issues and land conflicts. The UN estimates that more than 1 billion people are currently endangered due to these problems.

The international community is committed to support and conserve biodiversity, either by signing agreements or by donating bilateral funds to biodiversity projects. Apart from that, NGOs are tirelessly working to raise awareness of the urgent ‘life on land’ cause.

Horyou is proud to host organizations such as ANDA, the first and largest animal news agency in Latin America. Based in Brazil, with more than 1.5 visitors a month, ANDA is an active voice on animal rights and shares news about scientific tests on animals and poaching, as well as the appalling conditions in farms, among other critical topics. They are trying hard to enforce SDG 15. Are you willing to do the same?

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps protect life on land in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

The Sustainable Development Goal 14 is often overlooked. What many people forget, indeed, is the fact that we live in an ecosystem. The glass of water we drink, the rains and moist that help farmers produce our food, the climate that surrounds us, and even the air that we breathe, it’s all ultimately connected and regulated by the oceans.

Photo: UNDP

The SDG 14 aims to preserve life under water in order to guarantee life above water – seas and oceans are being constantly threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution; and we face their consequences on a daily basis. The acidification of oceans, apart from causing the extinction of creatures like corals and shelled molluscs, also affects all the food chain, including fishes and seafood that in many countries are the main sources of protein.

According to UNDP, 16% of the 63 large marine ecosystems are at high risk. This is due to eutrophication, a name given by an excessive amount of nutrients in water and dense plant growth, which causes the death of marine species. The most vulnerable areas are the Gulf of Mexico, Western Europe, Southern and Eastern Asia.

The solution lies in government policies and commitments, as marine protected areas must be created and well-managed, with strategies to combat overfishing and incentive small-scale and sustainable fisheries. But we can do more! Many projects are engaged with the protection of the oceans and sea life and we, as consumers, have the power to influence companies and people to respect and protect life under water.

On the Horyou platform, organizations like Maradentro, based in Brazil, take a scientific approach to raise awareness about the risks that marine life is facing. Our community is always highlighting the issue in our blog and through discussions on our platform. You can also be part of this conversation!

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps protect life below water in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

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