The UN General Assembly and Sustainable Development Goals

This may seem a bit off-topic, but really it’s not. In addition to the 72nd UN General Assembly this week, leaders in government, the private sector, and NGOs amongst other organizations have come together to the United Nations building in New York City to accelerate their work toward the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. All of these goals relate to our industry, both directly (#12: Responsible Consumption & Production) and indirectly (#7: Affordable & Clean Energy).

Don’t feel ashamed if you have no idea what I’m talking about. This is your chance to find out!

Eco-fashion superhero Marci Zaroff is one of the forward-thinking leaders attending UN events this week. She is also my co-author of adDRESSing Change. Marci attended the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG ) Media event at the UN and told me that, while Monday’s sessions didn’t cover fashion specifically, everything was relevant.

“There are so many amazing projects going on. This event was meant to unite high-level change-makers because we have a serious situation. So many organizations are taking urgent action toward these goals and it’s important for us to keep our fingers on the pulse of change.”

For more information on the U.N and General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals click here

One of the panels which stood out to Marci united groups around the 300 X 2050 initiative, which aims to reduce the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere from 400 to 300 parts per million by 2050. This panel featured non-profit organization, and their Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary ( MAPS ) treaty, aiming to establish “all ocean waters north of the Arctic Circle as a marine protected area free from natural resource exploitation, commercialization and military activity.”

I think there are a lot of people, myself included, that don’t understand how much humanity relies on Arctic ice and its’ surrounding waters. When the polar ice cap melts, more of the ocean is exposed to direct sunlight, warming the water and further causing the ice to melt. Thus, the cycle begins again, impacting climate change, increasing severe weather events, and threatening our communities, crops and fresh water supply.

Another recent event Marci commented on was a Real Leaders panel, planned in conjunction with the UN General Assembly and Climate Week. Real Leaders is a media outlet specifically targeting influential leaders. Marci noted, “It’s not just consumers, businesses and Non-Government Organizations anymore. The media is also stepping up, leveraging their platforms to raise awareness.” She sat on a panel at the Real Leaders event to discuss the SDGs and was shocked at how little the already-well-informed attendees knew about the impacts of the fashion industry.

You know what’s not chic or sexy? Human extinction. So, fashion community, let’s wake up, tune in and, in the lyrical words of Michael Jackson, “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” It’s going to take all of us to turn this ship around. We can start in our homes and at work. Additionally, is a volunteer-run organization if you are looking for service opportunities. You can start by taking the baby step to sign the MAPS petition here.

How do you stay abreast of world issues? Do you feel overwhelmed by it or excited by all the initiatives going on? How do you think climate change messaging could be improved to help the general public feel empowered to act?


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