As the work I’ve done and the space where I’ve done it has evolved greatly in these almost 10 years, I’m proud to have morphed into a Fab Lab. It was a practical and strategic move on my part: I was tired of always defining the programs, culture and purpose of this STEM education place I founded mostly by myself.* Becoming a fab lab has meant joining a collaborative global community, and that has given direction to WorkChops that I didn’t have to summon from my own limited resources.
As a social justice warrior and unrepentant idealist, I was thrilled to find out that the Fab Foundation, our network’s engine of support, is a UN System partner and is actively urging all fab labs to align their programs and practices with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As I woke up early today to (finally) physically move our lab to a new space, I decided that our five main goals (and the 12 others when applicable) will guide everything we do going forward.
I’m going to write as much as I can about WorkChops living the SDGs. I hope sharing this experience will be helpful or interesting to other people in fab labs. I’m open to discussion, debate, support and even criticism. Join me on this journey?
What are the SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030. (Source: UN.org)
Why are Fab Labs perfect spaces for alignment?
We are already all over the globe! Also: we have the tools we need to focus on sustainable development (spaces, people, educational opportunities, supplies and machines to make almost anything). A theme of solving problems is woven into everything we do; in communities where a fab lab is active and established, people are already accustomed to seeking help and information from the people who work in the fab lab.
What are some resources for Fab Lab Managers and others to get started?
- The SDG Website
- Workshop Manual from Fab Foundation on SDG Alignment
- This Podcast
- SDGs in Action App for mobile devices
And Don’t Forget…
…to tell the Fab Foundation about your Lab’s SDG Profile by filling out this form.
*When I say “alone,” I mean without an active business partner. I don’t want to minimize the contribution of the donors, employees, partners, vendors and families who’ve given much over all these years. Those interactions have always shaped what we/I “do.”