Public policy is a leading topic when it comes to sustainable development around the globe today. In 2015, the United Nations (UN), unveiled its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as SDGs, to the world. In order for the global Sustainable Development Goals to work successfully, they must be accepted and engaged with by members of communities across the world. Cities, states, universities, philanthropies, corporations, and NGOs have embraced the SDGs to advance social, economic, and environmental progress in communities across the United States, providing a platform for American local and global engagement on sustainable development.
Michael Grayum, appointed to Washington State’s Commission for National and Community Service, also known as Serve Washington, is a public administrative expert and long-time advocate for a variety of public service initiatives. He has experience as a consultant, in senior leadership, and has served on numerous executive boards and advisory committees. Mr. Grayum also has extensive experience when it comes to public policy and how it shapes the lives of those around us.
Incorporating Service in Our Everyday Lives
“Our priority through Serve Washington is to provide leadership and vision to make service a part of the lives of all Washingtonians and create a collective, positive community impact,” said Mr. Grayum.
Michael Grayum understands the significance of how public policy shapes sustainable development goals and motivations throughout communities and within initiatives as a global collective. SDGs can range from improving public safety to working to improve the surrounding environmental impact of local companies and nearby factories. They are a comprehensive framework for action locally and globally and will become more important to an individual as the goal becomes more relevant to their own way of life as well as the future they envision for themselves and their families.
When the public is made aware of SDGs that resonate with them or that are relevant to their own lifestyles, they have a better opportunity of influencing engagement around the topic at hand. When others feel as if they are able to conceptualize SDGs, they have an easier time accepting and sharing the information with others, including family members, friends, and even co-workers or peers.
By motivating members of the community to pay attention to public SDGs and local initiatives, it is easier to garner public and private support from both companies and organizations, along with individual sponsors. The combination of both private and public shareholders is the way of the future and the world.
Using Mental Maps to Identify Public Understanding of SDGs
One of the most challenging aspects of implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in new communities is measuring the public’s reception to any initiatives that are proposed. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to predict or gauge how a public audience will respond to drastic measures or actions proposed in the name of economic viability and global sustainability.
With the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the use of mental maps helps to identify and pinpoint problem areas as well as behavioral patterns of particular communities. Mental maps also facilitate the ability to identify social, environmental, and economic issues that are most likely to resonate with a target audience or specific demographics, depending on the public audience involved. Mental maps can also be used to measure tension levels between achieving economic versus environmental sustainability and so on. By incorporating mental maps into any public policy strategy, ongoing communication and open dialogue with the public remain viable options.
The 17 goals of the United Nations include:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-Being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequalities
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
- Partnership for the Goals
Branching Out With Multiple Organizations and Non-Profits
In order to maximize one’s reach while promoting SDGs to local members of the community, Michael Grayum keeps busy with numerous programs, including AmeriCorps, as well as being Chair of the organization wear blue: run to remember. Diversifying access is key to optimizing any campaign that involves the shaping of public policy in order to shape and achieve development goals.
“The incredible talent pool of volunteers in our AmeriCorps programs is instrumental in providing a range of essential community services, including public education, emergency response, public health, and environmental restoration,” said Grayum. Michael understands the advantages of working together as a community and as a collective, rather than appeasing one individual or incentive. Collectively, more can be done by working together than by working alone.
Through another organization Michael represents as Chair, wear blue: run to remember, he expresses the power of volunteer and charity work. “Volunteers support and sustain six national programs developed to empower military service members—the fallen, the fighting, and their families”, says Grayum, with regard to the wear blue: run to remember organization’s staff of volunteers supporting more than 1,000 families of the fallen since September 11, 2001.
Knowing how to effectively integrate Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs into local communities is key to shaping existing and future public policies. Michael Grayum, former mayor of DuPont, Washington, understands this all too well with his new position as a principal consultant and policy expert.