Why sustainability?

What type of future do we all want and what can we do to safeguard it? 

Wherever we live in the world our future and wellbeing is inextricably linked to the planet. Our economic decisions and social activities impact our physical environment, which in turn influences our options for the future development of our human society across the globe. 

Growing evidence and real-world changes convincingly show that humanity is driving global environmental change. 
Nature Journal, 2013

These facts have, in recent decades, raised the profile and significance of sustainability in discussions and decision making at every level, from local and regional, to national and international. All of us have a role to play in ensuring a positive and sustainable future for ourselves and future generations. This focus and real-world significance makes sustainability a good topic for the conversational activities our students will participate in during our project. 

Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 
Our Common Future, 1987

Sustainability at Keele University

Our decision to highlight sustainability in the project is also in keeping with the ethos at Keele. The University is very committed to sustainability and strives to raise staff and student awareness of its importance wherever it can. Written into the University's strategic plan, Keele’s commitment is evident in many ways on campus, for example the University has established a Sustainability Hub which enables it to engage the local community and students are encouraged to participate in various sustainability related initiatives, such as Green Keele and module options.

We aim “To promote environmental sustainability in all that we do”
Keele University Strategic Plan

Why the UN Development Goals

We have chosen to use the United Nation’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) as a framework for dialogue because of their international importance and the fact that the 17 comprehensive goals it includes mean we can expose our student participants to the full breadth of real-world issues (social, political and environmental) and provide plenty of choice for them to engage in meaningful dialogue.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the wellbeing of individuals and societies.
United Nations, 2015

More about the Sustainable Development Goals

Following the biggest public consultation the UN has ever undertaken, with input from citizens, academia, the private sector, local and regional governments around the world, the 'Transforming our world:2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' was officially announced on September 25th 2015 and its call to action, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 countries. All 193 governments are expected to take ownership of the goals and establish a national frameworks for their achievement by 2030. The United Nations maintains a record of progress of all 193 participating countries.