by Heidi Blythe (Class of 2022)
This year, in the junior high classroom at the Developing Virtue Girls School, there has been a recent addition to the class cork-board. It is an enormous and colorful poster with big, bright letters stating “The 17 Sustainable Goals,”1 otherwise known as Global Goals. They form a set of interconnected universal goals created by the United Nations in the act to end poverty, protect the well-being of the planet and ensure that all people, regardless of race and rank, enjoy peace and prosperity.
The plan is to accomplish it all by the end of year 2030. For our class project, rather than focusing on the world, the class has decided to apply the goals within our school community instead, through cultural exchanges, helping out at the school farm, and creating a garden for the student body.
The students commented on this exercise, saying that it helped them better see the beauty, individuality, and steadfast nature of different religions and different professions. Experiences cannot be replicated by reading alone, or by being in a classroom a thousand miles away from a farmer’s cornfield, or rather by being millions of miles away from different cultures. “You read all about farming and gardening in books and of the hard work involved on each patch of soil, then you think you understand the life and toil of a farmer. But the real thing is far more different,” said Karen Liang after her third visit to the garden. “The feeling of pulling out weeds and feeling the earth on our hands and knees, of the hot sun scorching on our backs,” said Thuy Nguyen, “is a wonderful feeling.” As for the cultural exchange, “I finally get the point that each religion is special and unique in its own way, especially its food. It was the highlight of the event,” said Heidi Blythe.
Every single one of these activities are incorporated into the junior high class theme for the year, which promotes self-awareness, demonstrates independence, and also fosters understanding of the perspectives and cultures of others.
The 17 goals are simply ways to understand and help each race, each religion, and most importantly, to cherish and transform our beloved Mother Earth and her children, namely us.
The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:
GOAL 1: No Poverty; GOAL 2: Zero Hunger; GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being; GOAL 4: Quality Education; GOAL 5: Gender Equality; GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy; GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality; GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; GOAL 13: Climate Action; GOAL 14: Life Below Water; GOAL 15: Life on Land; GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions; GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal.