By Amanda Kibe

In 2015 the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were to be met by 2030.The Sustainable Development Goals, shown below, are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all as they address the global challenges we face today. 

 

SDGs

The SDGs are global goals and are to be implemented by governments and organizations around the world, but they are still important for you and me. It might be difficult to see how we can apply them individually but don’t worry; below are some ways you can be sustainable at home, the office and in your everyday lives:

 

  • Transport: Commuting to work can be a long and arduous task that contributes to air pollution and congestion in cities. Carpooling or using public transport helps reduce the number of cars on the road and hence reduces levels of pollution. Another option may be to work at home when possible. Some jobs do not require your constant presence in the office and with the use of apps like Skype, WhatAapp and Google Hangouts, one does not need to constantly travel for face-to-face meetings. (Goal 11,13)

  • Reuse materials: Since the banning of plastic bags in 2017, Kenyans rose to the challenge and the use of bags made from other materials has become the norm. In the same way, reusing materials like envelopes, folders, and packaging materials can lead to more sustainable living. (Goal 9 )

  • Take a shower: According to the water footprint calculator, the average bath uses 35 to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses only 25 gallons. Even if you do not have a low-flow showerhead, you can still spend less time in the shower in order to use less water. (Goal 11)

  • Turn off taps: During a shower, a large amount of water can be saved if you turn off the taps as you lather and scrub your body, then turn them back on to rinse. The same can be done when brushing your teeth as you only turn on the tap to rinse your mouth.  (Goal 13)

  • Say No to single-use plastics: Also known as disposable plastics, these are plastics used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include plastic bags, straws, cutlery, soda and water bottles and most food packaging. Using eco-friendly products like stainless steel water bottles and refusing plastic cutlery and straws, from restaurants and fast food joints, is the sustainable way to go.(Goal 14)

  • Recycle: Recycling your waste is an important step in living more sustainably. Compost from your organic waste can successfully be used as a nutrient source for your garden. You can recycle and compost your own waste individually or hire companies like TakaTaka Solutions to do it for your neighbourhood/estate. (Goal 12)

  • Plant a tree: The Kenya Forest Service organizes tree planting campaigns and all Kenyans are encouraged to join. (Goal 15)

  • Watch what you eat: Meat, eggs, and dairy products require large amounts of land, water, and other resources to produce. In 2013, the main contributors to GHG emissions in Kenya’s agricultural sector were enteric fermentation, at about 21%, and manure left on pasture, at about 14% (Climate Links, 2017). These are both the result of livestock farming. By eating more fish and vegetables we can reduce the production of GHG’s as the demand for these products reduces. (Goal 3,12)

Climate Links. (2017, April). Greenhouse Gas Emissions Factsheet: Kenya | Global Climate Change. Retrieved from https://www.climatelinks.org/resources/greenhouse-gas-emissions-factsheet-kenya