Ugh. Aren’t you tired of hearing the phrase “act your age”? What do adults even mean by that?
If you’ve ever tried speaking your mind too confidently about politics or climate change or child marriage, you’ve probably gotten an earful about acting your age or talking back. It’s basically the worst feeling, being told you shouldn’t care because you’re “just a kid”.
But the truth is the adults have gotten it wrong. They’re wrong to think kids shouldn’t care. They’re wrong to assume they can change the world on their own. And they’re wrong to think we’re going to just sit still and nod our heads all sopan santun like while the world needs our help. After all, it’s our future that’s on the lines!
Acting your age in this day and age means making a better world and, let’s face it, with the way things are now, we don’t really have a choice. It’s ride or die. And it’s terrifying! There are so many things that need to be fixed. Nak start kat mana?
Luckily, you’re not on your own. The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, are a list of 17 goals to fix the world by 2030, backed by all the governments in the world.
I know right? Amazing! Who woulda thought adults could actually agree on something? These goals, which were agreed on at the United Nations in 2015, are meant to be a golden guide – a list of all the things we need to achieve to make this world a better place for kids and adults and the future generations.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. As of 2019, reports have shown that despite making some progress towards the goals, a lot of work is still left to be done. We’ve even gone backwards in some ways over the past four years – extreme poverty is higher than ever and the environment continues on a fast-track to destruction.
The reason for these shortcomings is clear: not enough people are doing enough. We have never been able to rely on just the governments and leaders of the world to fix these problems and we can’t start now. Now more than ever, saving the world has to be something everyone does together.
Is all this extremely daunting? Fer’real. Is all this impossible? Absolutely not!
There are so many things we can do to make these goals come true, even if you’re “just a kid”. And they don’t have to be big things! It’s better to start small than not at all. And why not start today?
Check out our list of 17 day-to-day actions you can take to make a difference.
- Save electricity by turning off and unplugging devices when not in use, including your computer.
- Turn off the lights at home if you don’t need them.
- Report online bullies. Flag harassment in chat rooms or on social media.
- Report real-life bullies! Tell a person with authority when you witness discrimination and injustice.
- Share online! If you see an interesting social media post about women’s rights or climate change, share it for your friends to see it too.
- Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals via @GlobalGoalsUN.
- Take short 5-10 minute showers instead of soaking in bathtubs which waste a lot of water.
- If you use a washing machine, make sure the load is full before starting the cycle.
- Air dry your hair and clothes naturally. Take advantage of the heat instead of using a machine!
- Use a refillable water bottle or tumbler.
- Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants!
- Share food! If you have a fruit or snack that you don’t want, give it to someone who needs it.
- Use fewer napkins and tissues, especially at home and restaurants.
- Tak nak plastic, please! Start carrying your own reusable totes instead.
- Buy goods that aren’t wrapped in unnecessary plastic or shop at your local pasar instead.
- Recycle paper, plastic, glass & aluminum to keep landfills from growing.
- Bike, walk or take public transport instead of taking a car. It’s extra time commuting, but it produces less carbon emissions. (P.S. You can calculate your carbon footprint and purchase climate credits from Climate Neutral Now.)
Boom! 17! Easy, right? These are some of the simplest ways you can start getting involved and doing your bit for the world. Get your friends and family to join in too – it’s time we all acted our age and saved the world!
This article is in conjunction with Global Goals Week, happening this 22nd till 28th September 2019. It’s celebrated worldwide to drive action and progress towards achieving the SDGs, but it’s good to remember that doing your bit should happen all-year long! If you want to find out more about Global Goals Week and how you can get involved, click here.