Can comics solve our world's biggest problems?
Barely anyone – except for the wonky development types who worked on them – knew much about the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).
Ratified in 2000, the eight MDGs had been developed behind closed doors. They were good goals – eradicate poverty, end maternal deaths, end malaria – and they were ambitious goals. And by 2015, this year, when the period for achieving the goals comes to an end, much has been achieved.
Far fewer people are living in extreme poverty. Maternal deaths are down. More boys and girls are getting a primary school education.
But it's obvious the natural world – biomes and ecosystems – is also in big trouble. So the UN, when it started working on a new set of goals to be in place from 2016, not only solicited opinions from 193 member states, it also ran public campaigns and got survey feedback on what the future aspirations should look like.
So what were eight goals blossomed into 17 goals, with 169 targets to go along with the goals. And instead of the Millenium Development Goals, the new set are called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
That's a hard sell to the public, though the public grasping the goals and their importance is vital to their achievement.
That's why Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit that promotes the use of comics and graphic novels for education, is running a Kickstarter to fund creation of a series of comic books – one for each of the 17 goals.
To be distributed freely, the comics would be created by a global group of artists. Reading With Pictures wants to make comics that can transcend language barriers, cultural differences, and limited literacy in order to get everyone aware of the SDGs.
Because the goals are so broad, some have said they are utopian and unattainable. While that may be true, it's clearly a step forward for sustainability – with goals like "affordable and sustainable energy" and "responsible consumption" included. For more on the SDGs, start here.