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Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals 

Small actions, big difference

Want to be an activist but don’t know where to start? Anyone can do it. Here are 17 small actions you can do to make a big difference.

By Jessica jurkschat and hannah rochell
18 AUGUST 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on us all. Many of us are still living in ‘strange and uncertain times’, but there are things we can all do to help. From donating time or money to washing your hands and shopping local, the smallest of actions on a local level can have a huge global effect. We talk through the small and the big with the guidance from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Apart, together - we will get through this.

Goal 1: No Poverty

Offer your time at Refugee Council by supporting clients remotely - this could be arranging trips or hospital appointments, giving English language lessons, or simply befriending someone over the phone.

2. Zero Hunger

Donate to Trussell Trust or give a virtual food box with City Harvest. It was recently reported that the UK has more food banks than branches of McDonald’s, so your donations - however small - will be much appreciated. 

3. Good Health and Well-Being

Safe blood saves lives. This year, we are facing extra challenges to provide hospitals with the blood, plasma and platelets they need. Become a blood donor and sign up to make regular blood donations. Or why not place yourself on the organ and tissue donors' registry in your country? You could literally be saving someone’s life.

4. Quality Education

Do your research. Get your COVID-19 updates from official sources like the World Health Organisation, rather than relying solely on traditional and social media, which might be inaccurate, contradictory or scaremongering.

5. Gender Equality

Promote shared duties in your home. Now that we’re all learning and working remotely, encourage everyone in your household to take on all the chores and responsibilities equally. Ignore outdated stereotypes and set a positive example to the younger members of the family.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

Wash your hands. Pandemic or not, we should all be practicing good hand hygiene. Protect yourself and others by using soap and water and washing for at least 20 seconds, especially when you’ve been on public transport or to any public place, as well as after eating, cooking, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose; Public Health England recommends this as the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus. 

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

Switch your energy supplier. An increasing number of energy companies like Ecotricity, Good Energy, and Bulb are generating their power through renewable means such as hydroelectricity, biomass, geothermal, wind, wave, tidal and solar power. If you’re working from home, take the opportunity to see which suppliers are providing the greenest energy. By supporting companies with sustainable principles you are also encouraging other suppliers to adopt green energy sources. 

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Ask ‘Who made my clothes?’. Join the supply chain revolution! Consider the human cost behind what you buy, asking 'who made my clothes?' - coined by the geniuses at @fash_rev - is a great way to humanise the process and drive awareness. If you’re not sure where to start, download the Good on You app and learn everything you need to know about ethical and sustainable fashion.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Get vaccinated. Chinese scientists sequenced the genetic material of Sars-Cov-19 (the virus that causes Covid-19), and shared it around the world back in January, allowing scientists to work on a vaccine right away. In less than 12 months from a pandemic being declared, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK - a super fast turnaround that is unprecedented. And not only that: vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford University have shown to be more effective than first predicted. 

10. Reduced Inequalities

Fight for access for all. Engage with your local government to encourage fair access for all! Write to local authorities and establishments to request that public spaces and transport is made more accessible for the disabled. You can also campaign for legislation that sets a higher standard for accessibility for privately owned businesses such as shops, bars and restaurants. We should all be able to enjoy the same amenities, regardless of whether or not we are able bodied.  

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Shop local! Support small local shops, businesses and restaurants by buying gift vouchers now to spend later when everything is back to normal. Look for your local small business directory to see how you can continue to support small independent businesses through lockdown.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Sign up for sustainable subscription services. Whilst we all try to do our part and stay home, get everything you need regularly delivered straight to your door, making it much easier to be environmentally friendly. From eco friendly bathroom and household products to sustainable food delivery, there’s a subscription for that.

13. Climate Action

Join a climate action group. What we do in the next few years will determine the future of our planet. We are already seeing how climate change can exacerbate storms and disasters, leading to threats such as food shortages and water scarcity. Why not expand your network and learn ways to tackle climate change?

14. Life Below Water

Set up your own mini beach clean. Plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean might seem like a hard problem to fix from where you live, and whilst organised beach cleans have been put on hold during the pandemic, it’s easy to do on your own (or with your support bubble!). It's often surprising just how far plastic can travel - it is believed that plastic waste has reached parts of the ocean which humans are yet to explore. Beach cleans not only help to protect the ecosystems of your local coastline, but also mean that you can enjoy the beauty of the seaside whilst helping to conserve it! 

15. Life On Land

Plant flowers for bees. Bees are essential for the well-being of all life on Earth, and these hard-working pollinators are in danger of becoming extinct - but there are things you can do to help. If you’re looking for something to plan over lockdown, spring is the perfect time to plant a window box full of flowers and offer these little guys a rest stop on their busy days. 

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Register to vote. Speak up! Don't waste living in a democracy - make sure you are registered to vote and do your research on candidates and their policies before making your decision on polling day. Use your voice to get involved in local politics by writing to your local government representatives about issues that concern you in your area. Learning more about politics and systems of government puts you in a great position to spot when things might be going wrong - calling out corrupt or unfair practices is key to ensuring that those who represent us are held accountable at the highest level. 

17. Partnerships for the Goals 

Sign a petition and share the cause! These days, you can find a petition for almost anything. Petitions allow you to give a voice to issues that matter to you and the petition-hosting site is a great place to start. From raising awareness of criminal justice issues and honouring community heroes to demanding racial equality and urging climate action, has been host to some of the most impactful petitions.

100% of profits from the sales of #TOGETHER products go to charities that advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more here.