Celebrating UN Sustainable Development Goals Week: 'Young Minds for Healthy Lives on a Healthy Planet'

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Georgia Tech is joining other participating University Global Coalition institutions to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) Action and Awareness Week from February 28 to March 4, 2022. 

President Cabrera encourages the Institute community to learn more about Georgia Tech's commitment to the UN SDG and related initiatives, learn about sustainability research at Tech, and to participate in upcoming campus events as we celebrate SDG Week together.

From infrastructure and energy panels and a sustainable dining showcase, to a micro-grant symposium and MLK Day of Service (rescheduled to March 5), there's something for everyone to explore.

With the Institute's strategic plan and 17 Rooms action plan, Georgia Tech illustrates how we can begin to incorporate the UN SDGs on and beyond our campus.

And in late January, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Ph.D. student Élise Beaudin and professor Annalisa Bracco shared their own presentation relating to those goals at the World Expo in Dubai.

There, Beaudin and Bracco spoke on marine heatwaves — increases in seawater temperature made worse by climate change — with a presentation addressing three of the UN SDGs: Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land, as part of "Young Minds for Healthy Lives on a Healthy Planet" at this season's rescheduled Swiss Pavilion "EXPO 2020" Dubai.

The event was featured in the Pavilion’s Public Health and the 17 SDGs Health and Wellness Week, and a recap recording of the duo's presentation is now available for streaming.

Raising awareness

Bracco shares that they were invited to the Expo after organizers read an article they wrote on marine heatwaves last year for Frontiers for Young Minds, a scientific journal for students ages 8-15, as part of an assignment in one of Bracco’s Ocean Science and Engineering (OSE) classes.

“We are uncovering the role of the changing, and warmer, ocean under global warming,” Beaudin says. “We are raising awareness about the impacts of marine heatwaves, and what can we do to protect biodiversity, which is crucial for humans.”

The Marine Heatwave International Working Group (MHIWG) says a marine heatwave is defined when seawater temperatures exceed a seasonally varying threshold for at least 5 consecutive days. MHIWG says the warming of the world’s oceans since 1880 has contributed to an increase in marine heatwaves. 

For Beaudin, the trip was also a special opportunity to practice science communications, since she not only made a presentation to an Expo audience, but also interacted with a group of teenagers who joined her on stage for a Q&A session.

“It was my first time giving such a talk in front of the non-scientific community and some political representatives,” Beaudin says. “This project was meant for teenagers to get involved in science, but also to communicate this science to the non-scientific community."

"I really enjoyed interacting with the teens," she adds. "They had smart questions and smart comments. There’s a bright future for them for sure. One of them was interested in joining the aerospace engineering program at Georgia Tech, so I think it was nice for him to meet people who attend his ‘dream’ school. What I enjoyed the most really was listening to their questions and trying to figure out an answer, which was not easy for me.”

Progress and service for all

"It was an honor to be able to represent the best of Georgia Tech — its commitment to progress and service for all — with one of our own OSE students, and participate in the Expo," Bracco says. "The vision embraced by Frontiers for Young Minds is that engaging young people and leading researchers is essential to form a new and more diverse generation of scientists and advance sustainable solutions for our planet."

This year, the six month-long Expo features lectures, presentations, and arts performances. 192 countries are participating in special programs focusing on the Expo’s three themes: sustainability, mobility, and opportunity.

“It was an amazing opportunity for me to show up as a scientist and a science communicator,” Beaudin says, “and hopefully inspire young minds, especially girls, to join STEM.”


Watch the recap: "Young Minds for Healthy Lives on a Healthy Planet"

Get involved: Georgia Tech 2022 UN SDGs Awareness and Action Week

Learn more: 2022 SDG Action and Awareness Week


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