Time is Running Out for SDGs and Carbon Neutrality. But not Hopes!
Time is running out for United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), universally accepted by all the countries. Launched in the beginning of 2016, they are to be achieved by 2030. Today SDGs stand at mid-point of 15 years of time agreed for their implementation.
However , SDGs are going through intense ‘midlife crisis’. They need to be rescued from the lifestyle to which the humanity is addicted . 3 Cs- COVID 19, Climate Change and Conflicts have stalled the progress and we are far away from achieving the global goals. But this is understatement. Cascading and interlinked crises are putting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in grave danger, along with humanity’s very own survival. The UN 2022 report on progress of SDGs details the reversal of years of progress in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, providing basic services, and much more. Worst, even after stark realisation that unless the planet achieves the carbon neutrality by 2050-75 human civilisation would be facing the risk of sixth extinction starting from end of the 21st century.
Fortunately, we have with us a treasure of lessons learnt while implementing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), precursors to SDGs, that began its implementation in 2000 and were to be achieved by 2015. One of the lessons was that MDGs were never localised and mainstreamed in the education systems in Universities and higher educational institutes. As a consequence, the key group of drivers of change i.e. future policy makers and potential youthful source of innovation remained isolated from the global efforts.
We may lose the pace and progress but we should not lose lessons. Smart Campus Cloud Network (SCCN) is flagship project of Green TERRE Foundation, not-for-profit organisation. This global network has already triggered the movement wherein promising group of university and college students and faculty are mainstreamed in achieving SDGs. SCCN is a movement that is sweeping across the campuses to gain the lost time and rescue SDGs.
“Learning by Doing and Accelerating by Sharing” are the two seminal mantras of the SCCN. It encourages the transformation of the Campus into living laboratory for localising SDGs. It is a network that deploys digital technologies like IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Cloud-networking, Machine-to-machine learning and Blockchain for implementation, assessing and monitoring the targets of the SDGs. Lifestyle change away from addiction to fossil fuel, indiscriminate consumption and production of scarce sources of energy and water is induced in the impressionable minds of students. Coupled with best waste management, sustainable transport, air pollution and nature conservation within and outside the campus, is practiced in Smart Campus. Digital Cloud helps in sharing the successes and challenges. The network and partnering accelerates the innovations.
460+ universities and higher educational institutes are now ( as of beginning of 2023) holding hands to respond to UN Decade of Actions to gain the lost time . What more , nearly 270 universities have taken a pledge of making their campus Carbon Neutral. The pledge is called ‘ Not Zero Net Zero’. Students hate getting Zero for their work . But they are dedicated to Net Zero carbon emissions.
The mid-life crisis can be opportunity. We have less time, true, but we have youthful talents that can provide more hopes.
That’s what we need to tap so that ‘No One is Left Behind’.