Last week, the United Nations decided that the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development were worthy of focusing 172.5 Trillion USD at. That’s a big number, and a big challenge. To put it into perspective, let’s look at how some of these affect our area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 8.7% of citizens in Exeter are below the poverty line. We also live in the the county with the lowest rate of impoverished children, at 6.7%. However any amount of poverty, especially among children, is unacceptable.
Ten percent of children in our school district qualify for the Free/Reduced Price School Lunch program. This program is a lifeline for students unable to get food, but it only applies to school lunch. In 2012, the last time the data was updated, 41,000 children statewide were food insecuure at some point in the year, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
In 2013, 9.6% of students were identified as obese. This poses them at a serious risk for other health issues. Our health ranking has also dropped, putting New Hampshire in 16th place nationwide, according to KIDS COUNT. Indiana is the number one state.
This is another area in which New Hampshire does relatively well. We are ranked third in the nation by KIDS COUNT. However, there are still 9,000 citizens aged 25 to 34 living in New Hampshire without a high school diploma or equivalent.
New Hampshire is among the top 10 states for renewable energy. However, we rank 45th for average annual rate per kilowatt hour, at 4.8 cents/kWh. This could be reduced with even more renewable energy.
New Hampshire has an unemployment rate that is less than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We are also close to Boston, and 80 thousand people commute to work in Massachusetts every day.
One part of sustainable communities is access to public transportation. However, some of the towns in our area have cut funding for bus service over budgeting issues.
We can complete these goals, but only if we work together.
These goals are goals for everyone, so everyone must know about them. As Dr. Seuss said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing es going to get better. It’s not.”