With barely a decade left until the 2030 date the United Nations had slated for the world to reach our sustainable development goals, success, unfortunately, looks unlikely. The goals, including no poverty, gender equality, and climate action, among others, were meant to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”
Unfortunately, with the global pandemic plunging more people than ever before into poverty, and climate action stalled in many developed nations, our chances of a sustainable future seems to be slipping from our grasp. However, there is one thing that might turn it all around, and that is: educating children, and specifically, educating children on sustainability goals. Educating children could well be the key difference between a sustainable future and a climate catastrophe. Here’s why:
Today’s children are tomorrow’s voters
Right now, there are about 1 billion children in the world who can’t vote but will soon be able to. Why does this matter?
It matters because today’s children, and the younger generation in general, are far more likely to vote for progressive governments that prioritize equality and climate action. Educating children today on the world’s sustainable development goals will make them even more likely to support governments that focus on this type of action.
Young people will need to live with the consequences of inaction
Humans are living longer and longer, and while that might sound like good news, it may not be for today’s children. Many children born this century could live to 2100. The year that scientists have chillingly predicted may represent the sixth mass extinction (and the end of life on earth as we know it).
This makes educating children on sustainable development goals even more important as their lives, quite literally, depend on it.
Children’s values are set between ages 3 months and 6 years
Many initiatives to achieve sustainable development are targeted at adults. Nonetheless, it is very important that we educate children on these issues as well, as their values and attitudes towards life are being set right now.
Between the ages of three months and six years, children develop the core values they will hold throughout the rest of their lives. These values include empathy for others, respect for the environment, valuing diversity, and a sense of responsibility.
The fact that children develop these values at a young age is one of the most important reasons that we need to teach children about sustainable development. That’s why initiatives such as Ethicool Books are vital in the creation of a more just, peaceful, inclusive, secure and sustainable world. Ethicool creates beautiful children’s books about the world’s big issues and encourages kids to take action.
The World Literacy Foundation is another organization that is working towards a more sustainable world. Through their EdTEch initiatives DINGO and Sun Books, they are reaching students in remote communities not only to help them to develop their literacy skills but also to educate them on social issues such as climate action, gender equality, children’s rights, and sustainable peace.
We won’t achieve our sustainable development goals without doing this
An equal and sustainable world can sometimes seem like an impossible goal. But the reality is that we have in our hands the power to achieve it. The next generation will be critical in doing so, and educating them on sustainable development goals now will make all the difference.
Empower children to change the world by supporting the World Literacy Foundation. Ethicool’s children’s books covering the world’s sustainable development goals are also exclusively available for purchase here.
Written by: Teigan Margetts, Co-Founder, Ethicool Books