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In Other Loft News.... Our UN Focus

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

To give a little background information....... In 2016, the United Nations ratified a declaration stating seventeen audacious goals that our global partners needed to reach by 2030 in order to radically change the course of our current climate crisis and address the world's biggest problems. Since then, we (as humans and governing bodies in general) have struggled to meet benchmarks, but as more and more people learn about the goals and how to participate, we are making strides. I often refer to the UN's Sustainability Development Goals as "17 Goals to Save the World." In order, they go:

  1. No Poverty

  2. Zero Hunger

  3. Good Health and Well-being

  4. Quality Education

  5. Gender Equality

  6. Clean Water and Sanitation

  7. Affordable and Clean Energy

  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth

  9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

  10. Reduced Inequalities

  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

  12. Responsible Consumption and Production

  13. Climate Action

  14. Life Below Water

  15. Life on Land

  16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

  17. Partnerships for the Goals

This August, middle school embarked on a fresh three year cycle, diving deeply into the United Nations' Sustainability Development Goals for 2030. Each year in the cycle will meaningfully address five goals through unit studies. Additionally, students will also complete year-long projects independently, allowing them to follow rabbit trails of interest within any of the seventeen goals. Goals 16 and 17 are to be discussed throughout each unit study over all three years.

The SDG cycle weaves through all subjects within middle school, and English and history are specifically taught with these themes as our focus. At a time when schools and educators are often fearful of addressing the tough issues of our times, we are facing them directly, bringing light to injustices and to the people working tirelessly for solutions.

Why? And why in middle school? ...... By middle school, students have used technology consistently and often already carry their own devices, whether they have tablets, phones, or even smart watches. Our young people are aware of global issues because they are exposed to social media and an easily accessible web presence of stories daily. However, they may not have accurate or complete information, often seeing and hearing only soundbites or bits of conversations. And while I don't have the statistics on teenage anxiety and depression, there is definitely a prevalence of overwhelm and stress, starting at younger and younger ages. However, at DGS, we nurture the whole child, providing outside experiences, mindfulness training, nature exploration, time for reflection, and expert educators that respect our students as humans. We recognize that by middle school, these students have opinions, passion for change, and a desire to solve problems. By engaging in this three-year cycle and by acknowledging our current world issues, we are giving voice to our young people. We are offering a safe place to ask hard questions, to explore problems, and to learn about the changemakers working on solutions. We give them the ability to create action steps for themselves and in doing so, we aim to replace their sense of overwhelm with a sense of hope for a better future.

2023 -2024 Cycle

  1. Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6)

  2. Life Under Water (SDG 14)

  3. No Poverty (SDG 1)

  4. Quality Education (SDG 4)

  5. Climate Action (SDG 13)

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