In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, It’s the life in your years.
Recently, I had this feeling of what next I should do. And then I decided to create a list of 50 things that I want to do before I die. When I was trying to create this list, I had so many things in my mind and for a moment it felt like, life is like a list of things you want to do.
I got curious so I thought let me also ask others. I got different answers from everyone but the interesting thing was that no one told me that they want to study or appear for some exams rather most of the people told me that they want to travel or do some adventure sports, create a small library, build their own home and do something for underprivileged. I don’t know what to feel about this. Here are my 50 things I want to do before I die:
Want to work for the Government of India
Help and guide 100 underprivileged students to appear for Civil Services Examination
Want to write two books: one non-fiction and another fiction
Want to work for GOOGLE and TWITTER
Want to start my venture through which I can contribute to the society
Start a small café where people can come and hang out or just read some books. The café should be green, full of art and beauty
Do a degree from abroad
Give a speech to an audience of a hundred people
Visit all cities of India
Travel whole India by Train
Travel in a truck
Want to go on a road trip from Kashmir to Kanya kumari and from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh
Travel solo without any planning; just start from anywhere and go anywhere
Want to have a nice drink without any hesitation
Sleep under the stars on a road or a mountain without any fear
Build a small cottage home in Dharmashala (Himachal Pradesh) and also make it a homestay for tourists
Climb Mount Everest
Volunteer at Golden Temple, Amritsar
Adopt a dog
Adopt a girl and provide 100 % funding for her education
Travel at least 100 countries of the world
Ride a bike and go on a bike trip
Learn a foreign language
Go on an island and stay there for a month without any outward communication and internet connection
Sleep on the Beach
Spend a night in a Tree House
Participate in Floating lantern activity in Thailand
Want to go horseback riding
Want to do zip-lining, sky-diving, scuba-diving and par-gliding
Go on a hot-air balloon ride
Want to participate in cycling
Want to have a nice romantic dinner with my spouse on the Eiffel Tower
Jump-off a cliff
Visit a chocolate factory
Make chocolate from scratch
Buy a Mercedes
Travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bhutan
Talk to a lot of strangers and write their stories
Volunteer for ‘clean river campaign’
Participate in road painting/road cleaning exercise
Plant 1000 trees
Do something for my village
Ride a bullet
Go on a girls’ trip with some of my close friends
Create/Direct a documentary ( A difficult one)
Write at least 10,000 blogs before I die (This is my 93rd blog)
Read 10,000 books before I die
Stay in Varanasi/Sikkim for sometime
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go- T S Eliot
The idea of “sustainable development” came into limelight in the 1980s after some extreme events like ‘acid rains’ and the human disasters of Bhopal Gas Tragedy[i] (1984), Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster [ii](1986) etc. Brundtland Commission Report titled “Our Common future” has given the idea of “sustainable development”. As per the report, ‘Sustainable Development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the international community in September 2015 under the UN Sustainable Development Summit, comprehensively covers social, economic and environmental dimensions and build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There are 17 SDGs which have 169 targets to be achieved by 2030.
These 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are:
No Poverty-End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Zero Hunger-End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture.
Good Health and Well-Being for people– Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Quality Education– Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Gender Equality– Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Clean Water and Sanitation– Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: Build a resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Reducing Inequalities: Reduce income inequality within and among countries.
Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy.
Life below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development.
These goals are very comprehensive and universal in nature and a big improvement over the MDGs because SDGs were developed after a long multi-stakeholder consultation process. However, the SDGs are also criticized due to various challenges in achieving them as well as their lack of focus on social issues:
The goals are wishful and unattainable. For instance- the eradication of poverty by 2030 will be almost impossible in the wake of low economic growth and various other issues in the conflict-ridden world. The highest criticism came from The Economist calling SDGs as ‘worse than useless’.
There is also criticism regarding the definition of “sustainable” itself. There is no precise definition of sustainable development. Even UNDP has not taken any particular effort to precisely define the idea of sustainable development.
To achieve the goal of sustainability, not only in developing countries but also the developed world will be requiring a lot of funding. The absence of planning regarding the financing of SDGs is the biggest drawback of these goals.
There is also a lack of support for developing and poorer countries on the part of developed countries for the financing and technology transfer to achieve the goal of sustainable development. For instance-
There is also a lack of political will to deal with the issue of environmental degradation and climate change in various countries of the world. For instance- Under the leadership of Mr. Trump, USA has withdrawn from the Paris Climate agreement.
Natural occurrences and disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami etc can pose a threat to sustainability.
The government’s conflict between immediate profit and investment in sustainable technologies can also derail the implementation process of SDGs.
There is no proper monitoring and ownership mechanism to measure the implementation of SDGs in various countries of the world.
Many experts also criticized the SDGs for not putting enough emphasis on social issues whilst the goals regarding the environment and economic security are extensively secured.
Challenges for India to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
India[iii] accounts for the largest number of people living below the international poverty line with 30% (800 million) of its population living under $1.90 a day. Pulling this massive population out of poverty will be a nearly impossible task for India without international support.
A new study[iv] estimates that implementing SDGs in India by 2030 will cost around the US $14 .4 billion.
It will be a big challenge for NITI Aayog to monitor and provide innovative solutions to achieve the massive targets of SDGs.
India’s huge geographical as well as cultural diversity can also be a challenge to achieve the goals of sustainability because the needs and requirements of various regions are varied and they will need context-specific
India’s federal structure and differences among the States regarding the development indicators can also create challenges but if channelize properly in terms of “competitive federalism” can also turn into an important tool to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
In the context of India with a huge population and social challenges like massive poverty, hunger, malnutrition, acute gender discrimination, and low per capita income, these goals are nearly impossible to achieve. However, India[v] can play an important role in achieving sustainable development goals. In fact, these goals can be treated as ‘ideal goals’ which can act as a guideline for the national and international governments to measure their success in achieving inclusive and sustainable development.