United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Book Club: Reading for the Future

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17 Goals for People, for Planet

As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Member states developed the Sustainable Development Goals as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.

The Sustainable Development Goals, ‘provide a global blueprint for dignity, peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future’

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I could write you an entire book on the importance of these Sustainable Development Goals and why should we be talking about them, educating our young people about them and reminding ourselves of them as often as possible, but the good people at the UN say it so much better than I would on this page here. An extract from Goal 4: Quality Education is below

What is the goal here? Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Why does education matter? Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty. Education is also essential to achieving many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality. In fact, one extra year of education is associated with a reduction of the Gini coefficient by 1.4 percentage points. Education empowers people everywhere to live more healthy and sustainable lives. Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.

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Photo Credit: World Vision

I heard about the Sustainable Development Goals a fair while ago now (they were adopted in 2015 by the UN) and the Sustainable Development Goals Book Club component (#SDGBookClub on socials). I have also heard Pauline from Riverbend Books talk about the book club at the Future Libraries conference, and when I spoke at the SLAV conference in late 2019, Christine Mackenzie, president of The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), spoke passionately about the book club and the work of IFLA in strengthening the global voice of libraries.

Chapter 11 of my book, ‘Raising Readers’ is titled ‘Reading for the Future’ and it covers issues of social and environmental sustainability. In this chapter I talk about how power of words and stories in educating our young people (all of us really) about environmental and social sustainability and it’s something I feel incredibly passionate about.

Stories are sticky…they stick with us far longer than isolated facts and figures…we connect with stories. Age-appropriate books about the environmental and social challenges facing the planet need not be doom and gloom, in fact such books can be an incredibly uplifting way to empower young people to become problem solvers and action takers in looking after our planet. There are so many wonderful books on environmental and social sustainability aimed at children from birth and embedding these books into all stages of childhood is the responsibility of us all. We all benefit when we slowly and steadily walk down the path to more sustainable and socially just practices and books play a part in this movement.

This video below is a message from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed about the SDG Book Club project.

Take Action

It’s all very well for me to spread the word about the sustainable development goals but I want to do more than this and as a library team we have been pondering how to take action.

In our school library this year we are doing ‘micro displays’ of books and posters based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We’ll also be finding books suitable for Kindergarten  – Year Six students which tie in with each of the goals and embedding them into all lesson planning. Lists of books available to the entire school community will be published on our library website, social media and in the school newsletter as we seek to reach a wider audience and educate our school community.

As part of this years Year Six Girl Zone Book Club, I hope to promote books on each of the Sustainable Development Goals and have some robust discussions about the importance of reading books which challenge, inspire and motivate action and change.

You can read more about the Sustainable Development Goals Book Club here and each of the 17 goals will eventually have a reading list of books from around the world related to each of the 17 goals in all six official UN languages—ArabicChineseFrenchRussian and Spanish.

I’ll keep you up to date on what we are doing as a school community if you keep me up to date also. Deal? It’s just too important an issue to read and click away…

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2 Comments

  1. Janette Meulen on Feb 8, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Thank you so much for your leadership and inspiration Megan. I am really keen to use our weekly library lessons to help develop a ‘sustainable futures’ culture in our school this year (and into the future). I’m a bit overwhelmed and unsure of exactly HOW to approach this enormous scope … but I realise it’s important just to begin stepping out in the right direction … small steps!

    I find your blogs and book reviews incredibly useful – in fact, I rely heavily on them as I’m planning my library program for P-6 each term. Actually, I don’t know how I’d manage without you!!!

    Thank you for the time, energy and effort to invest … and thank you for so generously sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience with us all. I respect and appreciate you ENORMOUSLY!

    Janette

    • Megan Daley on Feb 8, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Oh Janette THANK YOU for your lovely comment – I am not much of a leader I don’t think (but I’ll take it!) but I do love sharing information and I feel so very strongly about all this stuff. We teachers have so much influence on little lives don’t you think? I so want to do the right thing by my students! Megan x

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