It all starts with you

The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to ‘end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all’. A daunting task really. Seeing all these different goals and the 169 specific targets associated with each of the 17 goals it is hard not to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility an active contribution would bring. And what can one person do anyway?

Recently, I have started to work on the NTU Sustainability in Practice Certificate and chose to focus on the ‘Food’ theme. Throughout, I learned a lot about sustainability and food, more specifically how much food is wasted each year. “1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry.” That is a fact that really resonated with me. Not only is that a lot of money wasted, but that also shows how little attention we pay to sustainable consumption and production – Goal 12 on the UN agenda.


Whilst I was completing the online sessions for the certificate I didn’t think too much about it. In the following weeks however, I noticed that I was much more conscious of what I was buying during my weekly grocery shop. I found myself preparing my shopping list much for carefully so that I would only buy what I really needed. I resisted buying things I didn’t really need just because they were on offer – all because I remembered how shocked I was when I read how much food got wasted. I didn’t consciously decide to pay more attention to sustainable consumption but just by being aware of the issue, it already influenced my behaviour, my choices. I started to contribute by leading a more sustainable way of life and thus started to contribute a little towards the achievement of one of the Sustainable Development Goals. All it took was half an hour of my time to learn about how some of our unconscious choices impact the wider society.

So what can one person do? It’s all in the small things, in the habits we have and the choices we make. If we are not aware of the consequences these habits and choices have, we will continue to not be able to contribute to a more sustainable life. So where do we start? All it took for me, was to learn about what issues there are. And I did that by taking the opportunity the Sustainability in Practice Certificate offers. So take some time and raise your own awareness and see how you can help to contribute to a more sustainable world.


-Thank you to Nicole Grebe-Grotefend, who is studying Human Resource Management at NTU, for writing this blog post!

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