Global Goals: Local Thinking

Global Development Goals

In September 2015 the World came together to adopt the Global Development Goals (GDGs). These goals aim to end poverty, protect our planet and ensure prosperity for all.

They are not just for the developing World but goals that can apply in our own country. We are able to take personal actions to help make change happen everywhere.

There are actions we can all take to lessen our impact on the planet and make a difference.

We’ve taken each of the 17 Goals below, considered how we link to them as a creative institution and sustainability group. In turn, this has influenced this strategy and drawn links to our practical work.

1. No Poverty. Poverty affects Scotland and we can work to widen participation allowing more people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to study here. We can also consider other peoples’ lives, those people who manufacture or harvest food for us, in how we choose our purchases and food, for example in choosing Fair Trade and ethical clothing.

2. Zero Hunger. We have student group Throwawaygourmet working to use food surplus, which highlights the value of food and raises our respect for it.

3. Good Health and well-being. Our students look at issues around designing buildings and designed systems that can help tackle major issues in health and disease. We see the link between good mental health and how we see each other and the World, supporting yoga and GSA’s counselling and chaplaincy services

4. Quality Education. Our students work across the World to inspire and help develop knowledge exchange and links with developing countries’ institutions, and we’ve funded projects across countries and communities.

5. Gender Equality. We still live in a patriarchal society, but feminism shares many values with sustainability, and through our study and work we can make positive contributions to achieve equal political, cultural, economic, personal and social rights irrespective of gender. We celebrate the work of groups such as GSA’s Femsoc

6. Clean Water and Sanitation. Our designers and architects study water use and water system design, often taking those lessons out to real-life projects, influencing their future work with scarce resources such as water.

7. Affordable Clean Energy. To stay below 2oc global warming we must switch to renewable energy, and this is an action for every country. We work towards a more resource efficient campus and in our GSA strategy

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. Initiatives such as the Circular Economy and the Just Transition from an oil based economy can be used to create new, stable, good quality jobs. Realising economic growth will be harder, and can be in conflict with the sustainability agenda. We work with our students to re-think possibilities around practice and employment.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Our students often use real-life problems to design innovative ways of improving peoples’ lives. Being clever about how we develop can reduce the impact of development. Our Product Designers and Product Design Engineers are at the forefront of new efficient designs.

10. Reduced Inequalities. Addressing income and material inequality is key to the ethical work we do at the GSA, supporting the ideal of Fair Trade, and ethical purchasing

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities. GSA leads the way on teaching and researching sustainable urban areas, principally within our Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit

12. Responsible Consumption and Production. We support smarter procurement through APUC the re-use of materials with partners like Glasgow Scrap Store, run a re-use and engagement project called Radial, hold SAVE food, water and energy campaigns, and campus developments have efficiency built-in.

13. Climate Action. We are taking action to implant efficiency and effectiveness in our operations and curriculum. Ethical, environmental and social issues are becoming mainstream in our teaching and how we work.

14. Life Below the Water. Designers such as those educated at the GSA have a key role to play in re-working old production models, such as this move to sustainable 3D fish production

15. Life on Land. We take a holistic approach to design and architecture, working with nature to conserve and build with the planet system; considering innovative concepts, one example is biophilic cities.

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. We are an open, honest institution, and as a high-profile institution we encourage and expect that from our partners and partnerships. In our Create and Sustain talks and films series. we hosted peace activists and campaigners such as Satish Kumar and host films and talks through the GSA’s student-run Responsive Art and Design Society

17. Partnerships for the Goals. You can view some of our partners we’ve worked with and continue to work with. Cross-discipline working is the only way to discover new solutions. We talk, discuss, influence and listen throughout the education and environmental sector, with businesses, communities and individuals.

Next: Some Things Worked….