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ENGLISH: The SDG Cake and Corona | One Planet Café|ワンプラネットカフェ



ENGLISH: The SDG Cake and Corona


What can we learn from the SDG Cake in corona times?

Sustainability is the balance of “environment – society(health) – economy”. During our lectures, we sometimes show this “SDG Cake”. It’s another way of seeing what the EcoCycle has already taught us: the supporting foundation for everything is a healthy environment!

And then you add the layers of  “society” and “economy” up on that.

Illustration: world-renowned environmental scientist, Johan Rockstrom, Sweden.

The condition of all life is the EcoCycle. Ignore it, and whatever sustainability work you do you’ll run into trouble. Sooner or later. Obey by it, and you’ll get great results! More likely than not.

Now let’s take a look at the SDG Cake: a stable environment means —> we can have a healthier society —> and therefore possibilities to realize a healthy economy.

And now, let’s invite some disturbance from the last decade or so. First, the Lehman shock in 2008 that caused a global financial crisis.

So where did this happen? In the economic sphere.

One could argue that one reason we “came back” from such a crises, was that the next sphere below – the health sphere – was still intact.

Then, now in 2020, the corona virus is having a huge impact on people’s daily lives and economy. Who would have imagined that one single virus would have such a huge impact on our lives?

So where did this happen? In the health (society) sphere!

A reason we will come back from this virus, is that the next sphere below – the environmental sphere – is still supporting us.

But, here is the next big concern. What happens if this – the last supportive sphere – collapses?

If we don’t slow down or even stop climate change? If biodiversity loss with the extinctions of species continues, forests and fish stocks are lost, infrastructure is dysfunctional, and infectious diseases spread even more worldwide?

With the collapse of our last supportive sphere – the environment – there will be nothing to support the society and the economy. A domino effect…and it will be nearly impossible for any “come back”.On the other hand, the environment is said to have improved due to the effects of the corona virus.

There are reports from around the world that environmentally destructive economic and social activities have slowed down, resulting in cleaner air and water. Even wildlife show signes of bouncing back!

People, organizations and even politicians are starting to talk about a “New Social Contract”. In a post-pandemic world, we begin the shift towards working WITH nature instead of against it.

It’s time to invite the rest of the species into our daily life, business decissions and politics.

And here is the “center line” in the SDG Cake: goal No 17. Partnership! Efforts in all spheres need to be promoted in a local and global partnership.

Let’s support the work for the end of corona, and hope this pandemic will end as soon as possible. And after the end of corona, let’s reconsider a stronger economic and social situation based on the EcoCycle. Only then can we move towards authentic Sustainability.


– by Satoko Ekberg/Peo Ekberg