Nearly 200 countries have signed on to a plan to tackle the world's biggest problems. Let's do it.
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Activists, celebrities, and nearly 200 world leaders have gathered for a not-so-simple goal: to save the world.

Seriously.


These demonstrators gathered in New York on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Action/2015.

The UN has set out a really ambitious list of 17 goals to achieve sustainable development by the year 2030.

The goals cover a wide variety of topics, all working to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was joined by others outside UN headquarters for the announcement.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is joined by his wife Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, U.K. director-screenwriter Richard Curtis, UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, and others to watch as the 17 goals are projected onto the side of the UN headquarters in New York. Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images for Global Goals.

The unveiling of the goals coincided with the 70th annual meeting of the UN General Assembly.

President Obama addresses the UN on Sept. 28, 2015. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Around the world, people rallied support for the goals.

In places like Sao Paulo, Brazil:

This person from Sao Paulo shows support for goal number 5: gender equality. Photo by Mauricio Santana/Getty Images for Action/2015.

And Johannesburg, South Africa:

People in Johannesburg gathered to rally support for the global goals. Photo by Gallo Images/Getty Images.

And Sydney, Australia:

Australian actress Deborah Mailman poses on Sept. 24, 2015, in Sydney. Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images for Global Goals.

In New York, Mashable's Social Good Summit devoted time to how technology can work together with Global Goals.

Model Alek Wek was in attendance:

Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals.

Teen clockmaker Ahmed Mohamed and National Geographic Society CEO Gary Knell addressed the summit together:

Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals.

And former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan also made an appearance together:

Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for Global Goals.

On Sept. 25, 2015, 193 countries signed off on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). So ... what happens next?

Three years after the idea for the SDGs were first proposed during the Rio+20 conference, UN member countries signed off on the outline, which picks up where the oft-criticized Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) left off.

One of the biggest criticisms of the MDGs was that there wasn't much in the way of consistent data measurement. The UN hopes to address that with the release of their Data Revolution Report.

Immediately, engineers began work figuring out new ways to address the problems before them:


The next step in implementing the newly-agreed-upon SDGs is an awareness campaign.

Wonder how you can help? Start by spreading the word.

On the Global Goals website, they offer some great tips on how we can all help out.

"The more people who know about the Global Goals for sustainable development, the more successful they'll be. If we all fight for them, our leaders will make them happen. ... We need your help to share the Goals. In conversation, on e-mail, in debate, on products, at home, at work, at school whatever it takes to Tell Everyone."

And on their site, they have a number of ready-for-social-media images to share from your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Google+ accounts.


A star-studded "We the People" video offers another way to get involved.

The "We the People" campaign launched with the support of people like Ashton Kutcher, Charlize Theron, Chris Martin, Colin Firth, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Kate Winslet, Malala Yousafzai, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, One Direction, P!nk, Robert Pattinson, Robert Redford, Stephen Hawking, Stevie Wonder, and so many more.

You can add your voice to the mix over at the Global Goals site.

Watch the video below:

Scroll down to read the goals in full:

  1. We will live in a world where nobody anywhere lives in extreme poverty.
  2. We will live in a world where no one goes hungry, no one wakes in the morning asking if there will be food today.
  3. We will live in a world where no child has to die from diseases we know how to cure and where proper health care is a lifelong right for us all.
  4. We will live in a world where everyone goes to school, and education gives us the knowledge and skills for a fulfilling life.
  5. We will live in a world where all women and all girls have equal opportunities to thrive and be powerful and safe. We can't succeed if half the world is held back.
  6. We will live in a world where all people can get clean water and proper toilets at home, at school, at work.
  7. We will live in a world where there's sustainable energy for everyone — heat, life, and power for the planet without destroying the planet.
  8. We will live in a world where economies prosper and new wealth leads to decent jobs for everyone.
  9. We will live in a world where our industries, our infrastructure, and our best innovations are not just used to make money — but to make all our lives better.
  10. We will live in a world where prejudices and extremes of inequality are defeated — inside our countries and between different countries.
  11. We will live in a world where people live in cities and communities that are safe, progressive, and support everyone who lives in them.
  12. We will live in a world where we replace what we consume — a planet where we put back what we take out of the earth.
  13. We will live in a world that is decisively rolling back the threat of climate change.
  14. We will live in a world where we restore and protect the life in our oceans and seas
  15. We will live in a world where we restore and protect life on land — the forests, the animals, the earth itself.
  16. We will live in a world with peace between and inside countries, where all governments are open and they answer to us for what they do at home and abroad, and where justice rules, with everyone equal before the law.
  17. And we must live in a world where countries and we, their people, work together in partnerships of all kinds to make these global goals a reality for everyone, everywhere.
Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."