2022 – 2030 gives us eight critical years to solve the big environmental issues facing our planet. From climate change to water shortages to loss of biodiversity to waste management – we have the power to reverse some of the damage. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts forward specific measures for a world that is fairer, more prosperous and more respectful of the environment.
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION
Global warming caused by an almost 50% increase in CO2 emissions since 1990 has vastly accelerated climate change. Nature has responded angrily with meteorological events like droughts, fires and floods that are increasing in frequency and intensity. That ferocity threatens the survival of millions of people, plants and animals. We can stop its acceleration by containing global warming to under 2 ºC. Doing this requires significant changes in industry, agriculture and the way we go about our daily lives.
POLLUTION AND ITS EFFECT ON HEALTH
90% of us breathe in polluted air which leads to respiratory illnesses. Contaminated water results in serious health problems. There is much we can do to reduce pollution by reducing our use of harmful chemicals and treating more wastewater.
PROTECTING THE OCEANS
We’ve long used the oceans as our dumping ground. We’ve pounded it with damage to its ecosystems caused by global warming, the dumping of pollutants, wastewater and oil spills. It’s imperative that we increase our efforts to protect our oceans by reducing overfishing, pollution and acidification caused by the increase in the earth’s temperature.
ENERGY TRANSITION AND RENEWABLES
3 billion people on earth depend on fossil fuels for cooking. That creates global greenhouse gas emissions that have harmed our environment. We have to move billions of people over to cleaner, renewable energy sources to reduce climate change and build communities that are more sustainable
SUSTAINABLE FOOD MODEL
Our survival and that of our planet requires changing our food production model and our food habits. It’s imperative that we all move towards seasonal and locally grown plant-based diet – both for the environment – and for our health. Vast cattle farms harm the environment and intensive food production depletes the soil and damages our ecosystems. Amsterdam has achieved great success with small, highly-efficient plant-growing farms.
The preservation of our natural heritage including the vital ecosystems contained in forests is crucial. We create massively destructive unintended consequences when we destroy natural habitats and introduce invasive species.
SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND MOBILITY
By 2030, we’ll need to accommodate 8.5 billion people. Urban developments of the future will need to be compact, safe, inclusive, ecological and energy efficient with more green spaces, more environmentally compatible buildings and more sustainable methods of transport – putting the needs of pedestrians above those of traffic.
HYDRIC STRESS AND WATER SCARCITY
40% of the world’s population lacks adequate water resources, and agriculture accounts for more than 70% of the water used in the planet’s most arid regions. There is much room for improvement when it comes to the responsible use of hydrological resources. Changes must be made.
EXTREME METEOROLOGICAL PHENOMENA
The key to avoiding devastating weather events like droughts, hurricanes and heatwaves is temperature stabilization.
OVERPOPULATION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
We have to harness the power of scientific advancements and efficient technologies to reduce the amount of waste we generate. By creating an efficient circular economy that effectively reuses and recycles, we’ll create a much healthier, sustainable planet