In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementation will be led by individual countries and also rely on countries’ own sustainable development policies, plans and programmes. So far, the focus has been on actions taken by governments, and increasingly on those taken by major businesses. But what can individuals do? This was the question posed when developing the Good Life Goals. The Good Life Goals were created to bridge the gap between the Sustainable Development Goals and the sustainable lifestyles movement.
They are a set of personal actions (five for each SDG) that people around the world can take to help support the SDGs. The actions centre on behaviour and lifestyle efforts for individuals that are aligned with the SDG’s 169 targets and indicators. Their aim is to help policy-makers, businesses, civil society groups, educators and creative professionals inspire enthusiasm, connection and action among the public for the SDGs.
The Good Life Goals facts
The Good Life Goals came out of a collaboration between Futerra, a sustainability and creative agency in London, and the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education (SLE) programme under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) – which is co-led by the governments of Sweden and Japan, represented by SEI and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). UNESCO, UN Environment and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development partnered up for this initiative. Members of the SLE programme’s Multi-stakeholder Advisory Council also gave valuable input.
Many argue that we need systemic change or a transformation of our economic, technological and social systems. David Soll, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, argues in a recent Ensia article, “We must focus our efforts not only on changing our individual behaviour but on far-reaching communal changes”.
However, to make the necessary transformational system change within our communities and nations, politicians need to take bold action. This can only be done with the support of their voters. And if voters don’t shift their individual behaviours this will be a nearly impossible task.
Learning about the SDGs and what individuals can do is what is happening in Linköping. The idea took shape earlier this spring and a Sida grant made it possible.
- The transformed walking street allows cafés to bring out their tables and chairs and invites residents to gather.
- Each of the Good Life Goal installations has sitting space for many, and trees for shade.
- Signs with the Good Life Goals can be scanned using the app developed for this event, available at Visualagenda2030.se.
- In the app, visitors can see the Good Life Goals, take a quiz connected to each SDG and share sustainability tips.
- At the annual Linköping City Festival in August pop-up stations featuring different SDGs will sprinkle the streets.
The project partners include the municipality of Linköping’s Environmental and Community Office, Linköping University and Visual Sweden. The partners teamed up to ensure that the event was inclusive, modern, and attractive to the residents of Linköping. The city’s landscape architect worked on the design for the city street while Visual Sweden ensured that the installation incorporated digital elements to appeal to Linköping’s youth. Visual Sweden is a cluster of organizations and companies based in Östergötland, Sweden, oriented at promoting innovation and regional growth in the fields of visualization and image analysis.
As visitors move from goal to goal along the street, they can scan the signs using the app, which allows them to view the Good Life Goals and participate in a quiz with prizes each week. While the digital aspects attract youth, Linköping’s municipality wanted to make the project broadly inclusive. Inspired by the work of Karin Skill at Linköping University, which focuses on inclusion mechanisms, the city library helps people to download the app and also hands out paper versions of the quiz.
Sandra Viktor explained that the goal is not only to educate residents about Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, but also to do so in a way that connects to their daily lives. She expects at least 500 000 people will visit the Summer Walking street this year. Sandra pointed out that the scanning technology and the ideas generated in Linköping can be taken to any city, in Sweden and around the world. How many will stroll along Good Life streets next year?