Why We Need More Role Models To Spark Sustainable Behaviors

My “pay it forward” story of change about climate change

Plant the Seed

I was busy going about my usual routines. I picked up a dissertation draft that I needed to review and comment on as a committee member for a student. The document was 132 pages and I settled in with a cup of coffee and focused my attention.

The thesis investigates a new method for using remote sensing (satellite imagery) to create daily snow cover maps at 30m pixel resolution for a 17 year period (2000 to 2017). As I read the introduction section, 1.1 Background and Motivation, I hit a key statement in the second paragraph that changed my day and made me truly smile:

In that moment, I knew something I had said resonated. The proof was on the page in front of me. I had helped build a connection between this student, his work, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

This action — of finding ourselves, and our work, anchored within the UN Goals — is critically important to me. It is one step that every person in every field of work can take towards sustainable development. I was so very pleased to see this connection made at the beginning of the thesis.

But my very next thought was WHY was I so surprised to see that statement?