This is my first WFH-homeschooling ‘Earth Day’. Today, I reflect on the opportunity born from COVID-19 adversity, to have brought all the SDGs much closer to home. A genuine shift in priority, focus, mindset and daily habit. In the period of lock-down, as a family, we have both been ‘forced’ and ‘encouraged’ to adopt new household routines and decision-making: shopping habits, both in frequency and product choices; food and energy consumption, and due to missed collections by our local council, new home waste management regimes. All far more effectively embraced by all members of the family than had they been mandated by local council or central government!
We have also reawakened our curiosity for nature, tipping the balance towards more creativity, and learning through play and discovery. There is now much deeper respect for the fragility of the planet, and the high level of independence and interconnectedness of humans across the world. The separation from loved ones and the pressures of managing schooling and work from home life, triggering deeper reflections on what actually matters or is meaningful.
As keen as I am as an ambassador for integrating the SDGs and ethics into curricula at all levels of education, and for the promotion of sustainable business practices, I am now further convinced the SDGs are best seeded in the attitudes, values and practices within the home.
To commit to be an SDG-centric family does not need a generous disposable income to make the oft more expensive, eco-friendly, environmental choices. It must be a core value. In fact, some of the best ideas I have collected or curated have come from developing or poorer nations.
In one sense, the horror of COVID-19 has created a burning platform for change. It has created circumstance and opportunity for many to respond far more deliberately and passionately, possibly more directly than to even the impassioned pleas of the likes of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg. To help cement a view, that, to care for, to take responsibility for the natural world, starts at home.
COVID-19 wouldn’t have been my context of choice to make a more wholehearted commitment to tackle issues such as poverty, inequality, climate change and resource depletion. Yet this time in lock-down has created the ‘space’ to have conjoined discussions across all the SDGs themes, even with very young minds. To co-design and embed new practices in the home, so that these become natural rather than deliberate actions in our future.
I do hope that businesses and governments will take cues and lessons on how people have adapted during this period, and build on them to help keep sustainability and the environment in focus, and not simply lure people back into commercial hedonism when we are all free to move around once more on our beautiful planet.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -Francis of Assisi
I celebrate all the great SDG ambassadors around the world who share their ideas and innovations, who inspire and facilitate change for the greater good and planetary health – https://worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/ https://www.globalgoals.org/
Thanks to my sister Fran and nephew, Jack (pictured), too, on all the nature inspired shares of fun activities to do in lock-down!
I also thank my children’s school too, for a timely focus on ‘mini-beasts’; a fantastic theme to help my young ones not only understand and respect a whole host of arthropods and invertebrate, but also their contribution to different ecosystems. We have a ‘bug hotel’ in production as we speak.