Want to help fix the big problems?
When students ask me for a direction for a major or career, I often show them the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (https://sdgs.un.org/goals), established in 2015 as a call to and plan for every nation to work together on the world’s most pressing problems. At least one of the goals (examples include Health and Human Well-Being, Clean Water and Sanitation, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Climate Action, and Decent Work and Economic Growth) usually grabs their attention. The goals attract future engineers, scientists, educators, and business, health science, and non-profit professionals by presenting options for them to be involved in global improvement and sustainable, humane growth.
One of my favorite podcasts is Your Undivided Attention, hosted by Tristan Harris, who began his career at Google and eventually exposed tech’s consumer-driven goals in The Social Dilemma, a Netflix documentary I recommend to anyone who uses social media. In a recent podcast episode called “A Problem Well-Stated is Half-Solved,” Harris’s guest was Daniel Schmachtenberger, who believes that the only way to fix global problems is by global coordination, bringing intelligence of all forms together with government oversight. Every example he gave of failed attempts to stop conflicts, save species, and preserve human rights had one factor in common: a lack of global partnership and diplomacy.
Let’s encourage our Gen-Z students to major in international relations, political science, and other fields that teach skills that bring people together to take action. All the brilliant solutions offered by science don’t go far without cooperation between cultures and an understanding of a way forward that transcends conflict and allows people to work and thrive.
Link to Your Undivided Attention Podcast here: https://www.humanetech.com/podcast