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The UN sustainable development goals are unsustainable; here’s why the world needs alternative approaches

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are criticized for perpetuating unsustainable development by depending on economic growth, despite their intent to integrate social, economic, and environmental sustainability
• The goals are seen as providing more optics than substantive change, often resulting in policies that do not significantly alter the course of unsustainable practices

🔭 The context: Since their adoption in 2015, the 17 SDGs have been influential in shaping global sustainability strategies but have faced challenges due to their reliance on economic growth models that benefit high-income countries at the expense of others 
• This approach has led to limited success in addressing global inequality and environmental degradation

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The continued emphasis on economic growth undermines the ecological balance necessary to sustain life on Earth 
• The SDGs' focus on eco-efficiency fails to address the larger issue of overconsumption and the depletion of natural resources

⏭️ What's next: Alternative frameworks for sustainability are being explored, including steady-state and degrowth economics, which aim to decouple development from resource exploitation 
• These models advocate for a balance between human needs and ecological capacity, emphasizing sustainability without continuous economic expansion

💬 One quote: "The SDGs conflate sustainability with economic progress, leading to policies that paradoxically undermine the goals they aim to achieve," (Sam Markert, author at

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change


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