Carlos Rodriguez, one of this year's Blogger Fellows, shares his 5 key takeaways from the 2017 Social Good Summit
1. You have a voice. Use it!
"Game of Thrones" actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau describes the importance of climate action.
Jaime Lannister knows the world's climate is changing, and he's using his platform as the Commander of the Kingsguard to raise awareness about the importance of climate action. Throughout the Social Good Summit, celebrities, actors, and artists stood on the stage to share their vision for the world in 2030. They reiterated the importance of supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in our local communities, and they brought much needed ample attention to global issues. Use your platform to shed light on social issues that you care about so that your followers can learn about them and take action.
2. You hold the world in the palm of your hand.
Social Good Summit participant scrolls through Snapchat.
An increase in mobile connectivity helps foster a greater sense of mutual understanding among different cultures. In today’s world, you and I are more connected than ever before. I can post a photo on my Instagram story about the Social Good Summit, and my friends from Germany, Australia, and France can follow along to learn about how they can take action in their communities to support the Sustainable Development Goals. Meanwhile, my classmates in Dallas can learn about the different ways they can take small actions on campus that can have a big impact in the future. With the advent of the digital and social media age, young people are in the driver’s seat. We get to decide what kind of world we want to create through our digital activism; with our likes, retweets, and shares, we build a common cultural dialogue that helps us understand one another across geographic boundaries.
3. Youth are the leaders of today, not the leaders of tomorrow.
United Nations Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake discussed youth engagement at the Social Good Summit. Photo: Evan Sun.
Your actions today will dictate the world of tomorrow. When UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed led the creation of the 2030 Agenda, she put a strong emphasis on consulting youth in the discussions. That decision was deliberate; we are the generation that is in charge of driving the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our governments made the commitments, but it’s up to us to hold them accountable for those promises. We hold the keys to a safer, more prosperous world, and the steps that we take today will directly impact the world that we’ll live in once 2030 rolls around. We only have thirteen more years to achieve this ambitious agenda, and we need the energy of young people across the U.S. to turn the SDGs from goals into achievements. Tomorrow begins today, and today begins with you.
4. Who run the world? GIRLS!
US-UN Youth Observer Munira Khalif meets with UNA-USA Blogger Fellows to raise awareness about the importance of education for young girls.
Young women are the backbones of our society. When girls succeed, so do our communities, because they take the fruits of that success and share it with others. Female entrepreneurs help local communities thrive by creating jobs, and increasing prosperity. Whether it’s supporting young women in conflict zones, increasing the availability of STEM education for girls, or amplifying the voices of women in the corporate world, all of us win when young girls win.
5. Social change is better with friends.
Students from The University of Texas at Dallas participate in the Social Good Summit.
Change takes place at a community level, so it’s important that you bring others along with you on your journey. Surround yourself with folks who will encourage you to continue the journey, no matter how difficult it gets. It’s hard to change societal behaviors by yourself, but when you link up with a group of people that inspire you to reach higher, the journey is more effective. Don’t wait for someone else to act; do it yourself, and bring others with you!