Sustainable Choices, Improving the Lives of Children Everywhere

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October 28th, 2016

Sustainable Choices Can and ARE Making Improvements to the Lives of Children Everywhere.

How eScholar is working to make a difference.

Defining sustainability as it relates to the well-being of our planet is not simple.  And understanding (and believing) that our behaviors and the choices that we make do have an impact on our world, is even more challenging.  What can we do, what should we do and will it really make a difference, are thoughts that cross our minds.  Thankfully, we have sustainability experts around the globe leading the way—doing the research, creating the policies and making strides toward positive change for people and the planet—which can both inform and guide us.  What we do with that information once received is our choice, and there is no shortage of areas that need our help.

educationLast year, as part of the Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—a plan of action being led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—seventeen universal Sustainable Development Goals were established.  Each SDG has specific targets to be achieved over the next 14 years and were set to tackle a variety of challenges that we currently face to include combating climate change, eradicating poverty, promoting health and well-being, and ensuring that everyone has equal access to quality education.  Furthermore, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals along with their 169 associated targets are integrated and indivisible, similar to the issues themselves.

Let’s take the example of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.  In order for that goal to be reached, we must also make strides in other related areas such as reducing poverty (Goal 1: No Poverty), working towards equality (Goal 5: Gender Equality and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities) and promoting peace (Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), to name a few.

How can we expect a child to excel academically if she isn’t provided access to quality education because she is a girl?  What about the student who has access to school but can’t concentrate on what is being taught because his family is unable to provide food and clean drinking water, essential for proper brain functioning?  And how about the child who is too consumed with fear from the violence that surrounds them, to let learning take priority?  Or, those physically unable to attend school due to an illness like malnutrition or respiratory ailments caused by environmental issues such as poor air quality?

We must make changes to transform our world.  And, according to UNDP, “Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.”

Although we have made significant progress over the past 20 years in increasing access to quality education, there are still millions of children today that remain out of school.  So the question is – What are we going to do about it?  Yup, I said it. It is going to take a collective effort of individuals like you and me, business leaders, governments, and countries, all working together to make the changes needed.

Luckily, people are looking at the bigger picture and then back at themselves to see what they can be doing to make a difference.  Organizations especially are on the rise for finding avenues in which they can become more socially and environmentally responsible as they have the opportunity for an even greater impact.  Coca-Cola, Dow, Walmart, Nike, Patagonia, Starbucks, and Apple are all contributors and the list goes on and on.  Companies everywhere, large and small, are now playing a greater role in supporting the needs of the present and future generations and I am proud to say that eScholar is one of them.

Since its inception 20 years ago, eScholar team members have been dedicated to the improvement of education for all students.  They started doing this through their products and over the years have found a variety of different ways to extend that commitment.  Some opportunities in which eScholar has had the privilege of lending a helping hand include working with local schools to get back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy by providing support and donation of crucial supplies and volunteering alongside of elementary students and staff to support a community garden project.  Did you know that research findings show that school-based community gardens yield many positive effects on students in the areas of academic achievement, physical health, and social and emotional health? For instance, children who are familiar with growing their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and, are more inclined to continue healthy eating habits through adulthood. Recent studies also show that school gardening programs boost students’ scores on science achievement tests.

In our continued efforts to work toward a healthier and safer environment for children to live and grow and reach their full potential, eScholar staff have most recently launched an office recycling program to include paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum.  Our collected efforts during the first two weeks saved over 31 pounds of material(s) from entering the landfill!  We will continue to look for new opportunities in which we can lend our time and talents, knowing, that we are making the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. We hope that you will too!

To learn more about the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals and to find out ways that you can take action, please visit http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/.

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