By Blaire Koswin, Founder and Managing Director at Green Deer Sustainability Hub, and former Intern at The Delphi Group
In 2015, the UN identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are an urgent call for action to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth—all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
This past fall, I had the opportunity to take a deep dive into the SDGs through a training at the Edmonton SDG Hub, hosted by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation. The hub was created to empower Albertan youth to collaborate and act on community issues and to help implement the SDGs in Canada. The hub also helps them develop personal and employment-related skills, learn from mentors, and use what they’ve learned to benefit communities.
In the training I attended, we learned about the SDGs, and the resources available through the hub, including funding and mentors. We also developed our own projects to advance the SDGs.
My project will tackle SDG#13: Climate Action. I’ve created a Sustainability Hub in my home town of Red Deer (the Green Deer Sustainability Hub) that will educate youth about climate change and involve the broader community.
Currently, Red Deer does not have any youth sustainability groups. By providing youth with the option to learn more about sustainability, I believe it will cause a ripple effect within central Alberta.
A future goal for the project is encouraging local businesses to reach out to the Red Deer Hub to partner on sustainability-related challenges they face. Co-creating solutions with youth can further engage the community and allows young people to gain real-world experience.
Growing up in Red Deer, I knew very little about sustainability before I moved to a big city. I didn’t know that I could have a career in the environmental sector because I didn’t think there were many jobs dealing with the environment or sustainability. By getting youth engaged, I hope to open them up to opportunities that they never knew existed.
This past winter, I distributed a survey to local high schools in Red Deer to learn more about student needs and interests related to sustainability. Based on the results, Green Deer will be rolling out new resources, workshops, events and guest speakers.
If Greta Thunberg has taught me anything, it’s that each and every one of us can make a difference. I encourage everyone to learn more about the SDGs and focus on doing something that helps us get closer to achieving them. It doesn’t matter how big it is—even one small action has the potential to create a larger impact in your organization or your community.
Blaire Koswin is the Founder and Managing Director of Green Deer Sustainability Hub, and a former Intern at The Delphi Group. For more information about any of Delphi’s service areas (Green Economy, Corporate Sustainability, Climate Change, or Cleantech and Innovation), feel free to reach out to Delphi’s President, Ted Ferguson, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.