Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require the participation of all people. Working together can help the world reach the 17 Goals by 2030. However, sometimes when problems seem so big, it’s hard to know where to start. Action can begin locally in your own house, neighbourhood, or city. Here are a few ways you can get involved and learn more about the SDGs in your own community.
Volunteering at a local community garden, food co-operative, or food bank is a great way to help battle food insecurity and achieve Goal 2: Zero Hunger in your own community. There are numerous volunteer roles that need to be filled. For instance, at the Calgary Food Bank, youth opportunities can include sorters, who go through the donations and group them into like-categories; baggers, who package fresh produce for the clients; and hamper builders, who assemble food from the different categories to create hampers for the clients. Some of these hampers can even be tailored for babies and their specific needs. If under a certain age, youth may need to have an adult with them or a signed permission letter, but they can volunteer with their family, friends, school, or church group.(1) By inviting others, you can spread the message and encourage engagement in achieving the SDGs in your area.
What you buy can make a positive impact. Purchasing local food supports farmers in your area by providing steady jobs and a strong economy. It also lessens the environmental impact due to transportation and ensures a self-sufficient food system should unforeseen disasters or conflicts prevent foreign food from being accessible. When purchasing foreign foods, you can look for fair-trade labels. These labels mean the producers received a fair wage and price for their product. This supports agriculture livelihoods and bolsters developing economies, so no one is left behind.
Sharing what you’ve learned about the SDGs is vital to the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As they say, “many hands make light work,” and spreading awareness of the sustainability challenges the world faces today can see more people involved and goals met by 2030. One way to raise awareness is to host an event at your school or within your community. You can hand out snacks while talking about Goal 2: Zero Hunger or put together a creative presentation for your class or school assembly.
You can also participate in events or programs put together by others. If a food bank, charity, or program is looking for food donations, consider purchasing extra food during your next shopping trip to give. The best foods to donate include pasta (either canned or dry); canned goods such as meat, vegetables, beans, or soup; canned meat alternatives such as peanut butter, soy products, or nuts; dairy (either fresh, canned, or powdered); whole grain cereals; and baby food or formula.(2)
You can also participate in fundraising events, such as the 30 Hour Famine challenge put on annually by World Vision.(3) Getting a group together, participants go on a thirty-hour strike where they either refuse to eat food or give up something important to them for the allotted amount of time. It allows participants to put themselves in the shoes of someone with less and to ask for sponsors that can provide financial help. This raises both awareness and funds to feed the hungry in developing countries.
Another way to get involved is to write letters to your prime minister, premier, or local MLA. In these letters, you can ask for increased funding to sectors (like the agriculture industry) that are fighting to create a sustainable world. Financial aid helps fund organizations and innovations, keeping Canada moving forward towards a brighter future.
You can visit the United Nations’ website to learn more about the SDGs. It is always beneficial to have an in-depth understanding of the world we live in and its challenges/needs. Researching career paths that work to advance the SDGs is another way you can work towards supporting these goals in the future. You might find a job that’s the perfect fit! Opportunities are wide-ranging and can include farmers, educators, scientists, and politicians. Whether you’re growing food, selling food, educating others, inventing new sustainable technologies and methods, or negotiating and implementing better policies and trade agreements, there’s something for everyone.
For more information on The Sustainable Development Goals explore our Nourishing Minds publications here.
1 Calgary Food Bank—Volunteer with Us
2 Food Banks Canada—Support Your Local Food Bank
3 World Vision—30 Hour Famine, 2021