By Cristin Dorgelo
Our global community is three years into an ambitious agenda. On September 25, 2015, the 193 countries of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Development Agenda titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The agenda includes 17 goals with 169 specific actions, or targets.
These goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are bold and, some might even say, audacious. No poverty? Zero hunger? Gender equality? Clean water and sanitation? For all the world’s people… in just fifteen years? It’s a daring vision, to be sure. For a simple overview of the SDGs and a graphic of all 17 goals, click here.
While some museums have made great strides in educating their visitors about the SDGs, others are just starting in their work toward understanding and addressing them. Some of the feature writers in this issue, such as Gwacheon National Science Museum and Science North, were led to the SDGs through the natural course of their work. Others, such as Museon, and the Trust for Sustainable Living intentionally developed exhibits or programming around the SDGs.
Wherever you are in your journey, you can take inspiration from the stories in this issue and build familiarity with these goals, which together can serve as our shared “North Star” to guide us to a better world by 2030. With a concerted effort, there’s no reason to believe that we can’t achieve them. What can our community contribute?
First, we can raise awareness of the UN SDGs. In this issue, we are focusing on the SDGs to inspire you to take action or increase your efforts. In order to fulfill the UN’s charge to educate and implement the goals, I challenge you to read (or reread) the goals and all of their targets and share them with your teams and partners.
Second, we can identify the efforts you are already making toward fulfilling the goals. By reading about the ASTC-member institutions already making a concerted effort to implement the SDGs in their cities, you may find that you’ve already undertaken some of the work necessary to achieve some of the SDG targets. Do you host an afterschool program for marginalized groups? Did you do any kind of programming to observe Earth Day? Do you run an equity and inclusion program? Do you have any solar panels to generate clean energy? Then you’re already helping to implement the SDGs.
Third, we can reach out to our communities to collaborate. Once you’ve discovered the things you already do to implement the goals, highlight them to visitors, your community, and your partners to capitalize on your efforts. You can reproduce the UN’s easily printable and eye-catching chart showing all of the goals.
As we at ASTC continue to engage and listen to our members throughout the world, on the path toward a new strategy for ASTC’s future, we continue to hear many common concerns, hopes, and aspirations across our member institutions—as well as actionable ideas for how we can better support your good work. Through these conversations, we continue to be encouraged by this community’s heartfelt commitment to making the UN SDGs a reality.
Cristin Dorgelo is ASTC’s President and CEO.