In 2015 the United Nations published 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted by all United Nations Member States. The idea behind this was to provide a blueprint in which to work towards peace and prosperity, whilst still tackling climate change.
Whilst these are very much “top line”, they also work as a framework for anyone, and it can be useful to see where you align with the 17 goals.
As Eden Gardens gears up for its Sustainability Weekend, we are examining how Eden Gardens fits into this matrix.
Goal # 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
The World Health Organisation defined health as total physical, mental and social wellbeing.
Green spaces have a positive effect on mental health; being exposed to vegetation lowers your risk of respiratory disease and cancer – and even indoor plants work. Bush walks, “tree bathing” and strolls around the garden are great for your mental health and wellbeing.Some plants are also natural healers; our medicine chest is full of plant-based pharmaceuticals. There is also lots of research, most notably from NASA, about the air-cleaning properties of indoor plants.
Goal # 4 – Quality Education
This aims to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
Eden Gardens has a community mission to improve the quality of life in the wider community through horticulture and education, and is actively involved encouraging members of the public, staff and suppliers to join in these endeavours. Its involvement with its chosen charities, Cancer Council of NSWand Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off the The Streetsis not only about fundraising, it’s also firmly rooted in education. Eden Gardens promotes sun awareness and cancer prevention in conjunction with the Cancer Council of NSW, and through traineeships, excursions and events it works with Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets to support disconnected youth as they turn their lives around with alternative education and learning life skills. The Eden Foundation is a philanthropic trust set up as a charitable branch of Eden Gardens with the mission of connecting disengaged youth with the natural environment, and compliments Eden Gardens Environmental and Social endeavours. Eden Gardens also provides work placement opportunities in hospitality and horticulture to young people through Youth Connections, who have the mission of ‘Turning Education into Jobs’ and offers work experience in our garden centre to year 12 students from St Edmunds College.The Eden Foundation also works with Settlement Services International (SSI) and its Ignite program to support passionate entrepreneurs from refugee backgrounds establish and scale up businesses.
Goal # 5 – Gender Equality
This goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
At Eden Gardens, we practice equal employment opportunities, and don’t believe in gender stereotyping. Our staff ratio at Macquarie Park is evenly spread between both sexes, and management roles are also equally representative.
Goal # 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
Water is one of our most valuable resources, and in Australia droughts as a result of climate change have made water conservation and increasingly important issue. At Eden Gardens we have always been a leader in water recycling and storage, with a combination of in ground water tanks, swales collecting runoff, recycled water for plants and gardens, and diverted rainwater that feeds through a stream into our signature reservoir.
Goal # 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
This promotes “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.
The financial focus of Eden Gardens ensures brand growth and prosperity. The Eden Gardens charitable trust and Eden Gardens together have donated over $1.5 million dollars to its chosen charities since 2008.
Goal # 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
In 2008 the global population living in cities outnumbered its rural counterpart. Given the importance of this milestone, the goal to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” resonates with Eden Gardens, who for many years have nurtured its display garden and like to think of it as not just a place of great beauty, but also a place locals can play; an extension of the communities’ own backyard. We also compost garden waste, have a bank of Hungry Bins to recycle our café organics and include various recycling initiatives including a drop off station for the safe disposal if ink cartridges, light bulbs, mobile phones and household batteries. We also donate end of season plants to local community gardening projects through Community Greening.
Goal # 15 – Life on Land
This goal is to “protect. Restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.
By: Meredith Kirton