The UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI) recently posted an interview with Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs on the challenges of sustainable development.
Sachs named four key challenges he feels must be addressed in the coming years to protect the planet: climate change, a sustainable food supply, sustainable cities, and population growth. Sachs went on to describe how critical young people are to addressing these issues, saying
We have to reach young people all over the world and tell them that this is their generations’ challenge. It will be the reality of their lives; this crowded planet, growing climate stress, resource stress; and yet also wonderful technological possibilities to improve the quality of life through information technology, materials science, and so forth. . . . As Dickens once wrote it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. We have wonderful technologies and wonderful potential, global networks that reach around the world, tremendous efficiency of productive systems, and yet we’re wrecking the planet at the same time. This becomes a generational challenge. I hope the new Sustainable Development Goals will be clear, crisp, and concise, so that when you ask a fifth grader anywhere in the world what are the SDGs she’ll be able to tell you, and when you ask her why they are important she’ll be able to tell you that her future and her family’s future depend on them, and why. And so I think that public awareness and education is essential.