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[vision] Why you cannot start SDGs and how to take action!

Last Friday, we had another SDGs class with Clark High School. Then every Wednesday we have an online salon where we talk together about activities related to the SDGs. We talk about it, but some youngsters don't go one step further -- action! You know why they can't?

Because they are not focused on what they can do.

I love the simplicity of the RAND Corporation's XLRM framework, the famous strategic think tank for war and other issues. I also used it in Ethiopia for a study I did with Columbia University and Oxfam on microfinance and climate change. We were able to publish the results in a book sponsored by the Davos Global Risk Forum. This framework is designed to help us see 100 years into the future. The computer simulations after XLRM may be more key, but the simulation part of the framework has been criticised for not taking statistics into account appropriately by some scholars. I think the XLRM part of the framework is beneficial in real life because it separates what you can and cannot do.

  • X is for External factors, things that are out of your control.

  • L is for Policy Lever, the measures you can control.

  • R is Relation, the relationship between X and L.

  • M is Matrix, the result of X and L and their relationship R.

Of these, L is the one you can certainly control, and by focusing on it, you will be able to take action. This is also the case with the climate change vulnerability framework. Weather-related disaster from climate change is X, something you can't control, but how you respond to it is L, something you can control.

When you are thinking to take action, you give many reasons for not doing it, because you are exposed to many external factors. If you focus on what you can do, you will see what you need to do first.

In the Five-Step Vision Framework of the SDGs, the first step is to think about the future as it should be. We say it is sustainable coffee consumption and production with what we call the Eco-Pulper, a thin-skinned machine that does not use water. There are many external factors, X, such as the company that will sell you this Eco-Pulper equipment and the people who will maintain it. And that's where you get scared, and you can't take the first step.

So we focus on the L part that we can do. For example, in the same way, water is not used, there is a natural process where the coffee cherries are not washed with water. This process does not require mechanical processes, and most of the work is done with the L "Policy Lever", as long as you are willing to put in the effort.

This is an example of how to start with what you can do to move from normal coffee production to sustainable production, but I think the same can be said for other activities.

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