by Laurence Myers
Sustainability & Service Learning Coordinator
International School of Kuala Lumpur
It was with great anticipation that the Global Goals for Sustainable Development were announced in late September. Within a week or two a number of world-wide initiatives have gone back and forth across the cyber waves to ensure that the world knows all about them. 17 goals with over 150 sub-goals are a tall order for humanity, but the approach is quite apropos. The use of all manner of social media, big big names in science, entertainment, sports and the like, and some pretty big corporate names supporting it the goals through a variety of mediums are sure to impress the average international student who walks around with an iPhone and does his/her work on a computer.
Will those same goals make it to those they are intended to? The approach this time is very different than it was 15 years ago when the Millennium Development Goals were announced. Technology has changed the way we communicate and motivate and this, in turn, allows the word to get out, loud and strong. The average person on any street in any any city in any part of the world has a much better image of what globalization means, how climate change affects us all, how global problems are related to local issues. Social media has also connected people and issues in such ways that just were not present a mere decade ago. Understandably the awareness is at a record high, and change-making is regarded as a necessary skill. All in all collaboration of all sorts has been impressive; a true testament to goal 17, global partnerships.
If the MDGs were an indication these goals too might only be partly successful, but right now, at the outset, it's hard not to be optimistic about things, even if only for a while. Where our students are concerned these goals, if approached the right way by educators in schools around the world, could create the blueprint for programs in education for sustainability, service learning and global citizenship.
With technology leapfrogging the "old" system of things - as is the case with cell phones being used in lieu of land lines in many parts of the developing world - it seems at least conceivable that, likewise, energy systems, communication systems, transport systems, food systems (and on and on) can be drastically disrupted in order to do away with the inefficiencies of the past and reinvent the way development is done.
This blog is currently being updated by Laurence Myers, K-12 Service Learning Coordinator at the American School of Dubai. We are hoping the blog becomes a compilation of posts from a variety of people in the region and around the world. Want to add something? Send it along!