Our turbulent political climate, daunting outcomes of climate change and world disasters continues to mobilize businesses, individuals to collaborate on saving lives and tackle environmental issues.
Yet, billions remain in poverty, increasing numbers of people displaced by unprecedented natural disasters causing them to lose their homes, and complex patterns of people migration seeking a better life for their families.
While progress has been made in support of the Sustainability Development (SDG’s) goals, gaps ensue mitigating climate change, gender equality, and devising concrete solutions for people displaced by wars and natural disasters.
‘All in all it’s just another brick in the wall’
Building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico is not the sole answer to our problems and merely filters what you don’t want to see, emphasizing the spotlight on the realities of life, similarities with other international borders, peoples pain and suffering.
The nearly 2000 miles of U.S./Mexican border traversing desert, river, mountain and sea, is a place of heritage, ethnic diversity, diverse terrain, a legacy of land ownership and agriculture, hope and survival of mankind in pursuit of a better way of life.
The political views represented among the 7.5 million residents in U.S. border counties span supporters of Trump’s wall, those who see their future - and the future of America - as being inextricably linked to that of their neighbors to the South, North, East and West.
To be sure, Indigenous populations were there long before us and before their land was divided.
It is a global problem that is not unique to the U.S. and no one-size ‘brick’ or ‘wall’ to fit all.
A recap of the top realities we face:
Women in Poverty: More than one in eight women in the U.S., 16.9 million lived in poverty last year. Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers - 1 in 3 (36.5 percent) lived in poverty. 14.5 million poor children, more than half, live in families headed by women.
Forced People Displacement: Wars, violence and persecution uprooted record numbers of men, women and children worldwide, making a new global deal on refugees more critical than ever. The UN Refugee Agency’s annual Global Trends study found 68.5 million people had been driven from their homes across the world at the end of 2017.
Climate Change: A recent IPCC report has underscored we only have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe and urgent need to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial levels. Following devastating hurricanes in the US, record droughts in Cape Town and forest fires in the Arctic, the IPCC makes clear that climate change is already happening, upgraded its risk warning from previous reports, and warned that every fraction of additional warming would worsen the impact.
Threatened Wildlife Species: African elephants remain under severe threat from poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. In the 1970s, Africa was home to more than 1.3 million elephants. Today, 415,000 remain.
Lack of Education in Africa: In sub-Saharan Africa, 9 million girls between the ages of about 6 and 11 will never go to school at all, compared to 6 million boys, according to UIS data. Their disadvantage starts early: 23% of girls are out of primary school compared to 19% of boys.
Reputation Dynamics Predictions for 2019:
What will be key to success for building resilience communities for the long-term will be ‘inclusiveness’ towards devising holistic approaches and solutions for restoring ecosystems that include multiple stakeholders including indigenous populations, women and refugees. Specifically for:
Empowerment of Women and Girls: Empowering women to participate fully in economic life is essential to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities, including raising the bar on sector expertise and programs that enable economic security, mitigate domestic violence, close gender gaps in the workplace and communities at large.
Preservation of Forests: Forests are a stabilizing force for mitigating climate change. They regulate ecosystems, protect biodiversity, play an integral part in the carbon cycle, support livelihoods, and supply goods and services that can drive sustainable growth. Approximately 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, is absorbed by forests every year. Estimates show that nearly two billion hectares of degraded land across the world – an area the size of South America – offer opportunities for restoration.
Refugees in Protracted Exile Need Education: Refugee camps and villages show characteristics of short-term settlements, children are born, families are finding ways to survive, and communities hosting refugees are struggling with how to live, work and go to school together. Education plays a particularly vital role for those who are displaced and rebuilding their communities.
Urban and Rural Development: With the increasing number of natural disasters, corporations, emergence of mission-critical foundations and nonprofits are re-thinking approaches to disaster relief and recovery efforts. While many organizations will continue to provide immediate relief to victims of natural disasters through cash grants and product donations, companies are taking a more pro-active approach to restoring and building resilient communities for the long-term.
Tapping the Next Generation: Today, employees, particularly millennials, are passionate about social causes that benefit the greater good and expects to work for a company that supports causes they care about. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 and they are looking for socially responsible employers. Companies must improve how they advocate, market and align with their philanthropic commitments via experiential digital and mobile network communications.
Conclusion: For the SDGs to be successful, the co-creation of programs at the local and global level with businesses, academia, civil society/nonprofits will continue to be essential for restoring and building resilient communities for underserved populations. However, what is fundamental to success is to convene more alliances, break down silos, enforce dialogue and action on a more inclusive front.
By: Samantha Taylor - Founder of Reputation Dynamics
Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobiizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches and develop inclusive partnerships.
I look forward to connecting with peers who are making the world a better place, advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Please contact me at: