Is Health and Well-Being the Heartbeat of the SDG’s?

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HealthHave you ever considered the importance of your own health and well-being when it comes to achieving sustainable development?

If you’re wondering where the question comes from, take a look at Global Goal 3 on the UN website.  Once you’re on the page, you will notice that there is an area that reads “Click to See Targets”.  That will take you to a list of 13 specified targets that have been identified as required to meet the overall goal.

In total, the SDGs layout 169 targets to cover the 17 Goals.  We’re not talking identical numbers here, but it’s not really a stretch to compare the collective SDGs to the human body which is made up of organs and systems that keep us alive and well.

Awareness of Interconnection

The above comparison emphasizes two important things: complexity and connection.  In my last blog I merely scratched the surface of Goal 2: Zero Hunger.  And within the series of posts that I will be doing over the next few months, I don’t plan on digging much deeper.  The objective here is to bring awareness to each goal, and to provoke individuals to start thinking about where they fit, and how they can help.

Rest assured this is only the beginning.  There is a world’s worth of work that needs to be done to achieve these goals.  Sitting in on a webinar this morning made another thing clear: the demand for data and answers currently outweighs the supply.  This is a time to come together as a global community, embrace collaboration and get the job done.  Although the targets are set for 2020 & 2030, it is never too soon to implement solutions.

Prioritizing Health

So where can you start?  Well, the topic this week is Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.  Instead of listing off different ideas of how you can help, I’m going to ask you to do something.

Look within.  Ask yourself: Am I healthy? What about my well-being?  Where does it stand? How is my mental health?

For me, this is something I had to profoundly consider when I started on my path of sustainability and social justice.  If I was not healthy, how could I carry out this work and encourage other people to recapture their health?  If I did not experience a high level, or even a moderate level of well-being, how was I to bring this forth for others?

Well-Being is a Personal Journey

This led to a lot of changes in my life.  I needed to get healthy so I did (and continue to do) two big things. Eat right & exercise.  It didn’t happen overnight – in fact it took years – but I am now at a point where I am one of the healthiest patients my doctor has.  I am proud of myself, because just 15 years ago I lived on diet coke, plain bagels and prozac.

Everyone is different.  We are all at different points on our journey through life.  Today, I’m bringing this to your attention because on one side of Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being there is a need for increased access to life saving resources that have been unavailable to so many for far too long.  On the other side though, there is a need for the sheer will to live the life you’ve been blessed with.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

― Dr. Seuss

I’d love to hear what you think about this topic & learn about initiatives in your community.  Please feel free to comment below or on Twitter.


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Leah Feor

Leah Feor is the owner of Simply Sustainable, a small business that has evolved from a fair trade mobile shop to a strategic consulting firm serving entrepreneurs with a social or environmental vision. Balancing her clients’ Triple Bottom Line – people, planet, profit – is Leah’s utmost goal, and is supported by her background in accounting and environmental management.

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