Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (aka the SDGs or the Global Goals) are an international commitment to 17 ambitious goals to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. The Global Goals are a call for action for all countries to end poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, while promoting prosperity, peace and justice. All countries are called upon to achieve each goal by 2030.
Browse SIMA Classroom titles that relate to each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These films provide additional perspectives on either the complex problems at the root of the SDG, or a potential solution and path forward.
SUGGESTED LESSON PLAN: THE SDGs ADVOCATE: 2030 CHALLENGE
Students learn about the SDGs, get inspired and advocate for a global challenge they care about by creating a screening campaign and discussion and adding their voice to the United Nations MY World 2030 Survey. This project will promote collaborative learning to simulate the challenges of leadership, activism and community organizing.
Select Your Films
This documentary is about Bamunu, an 8-year old girl who hasn’t seen her family since she was sent away from home two years ago to work as a Kayayo to support her family. We follow her incessant longing to get away from the harsh markets, her journey back home and what awaits there.
Director: Mari Bakke Riise
Organic gardener and vegan chef, DJ CAVEM, is an award-winning international recording artist and activist who uses Hip-Hop culture to inspire young people to connect to the earth by teaching them how to grow food, and cultivate healthy eating habits. Through his lyrics and gardens, DJ CAVEM is planting the seeds of the food movement extending from his hometown of Denver, Colorado to across the globe.
Director: JLove Calderon
The Affordable Care Act explicitly denies undocumented immigrants access to healthcare. While laws in California have now made healthcare available for undocumented young people, undocumented adults continue to be excluded. COVER/AGE follows an elderly caregiver and a policy advocate in the campaign to expand healthcare to include all people, regardless of immigration status or age.
Director: Set Hernandez Rongkilyo
Students are the future, but what’s the future for students? To arm them with the relevant, timeless skills for our rapidly changing world, we need to revolutionize what it means to learn. Education innovators like Dr. Sugata Mitra (professor at MIT), Sal Khan (founder of Khan Academy) and Dr. Catherine Lucey (Vice Dean of Education at UCSF), are redefining how we engage young minds for a creatively and technologically-advanced future.
Director: Eli A. Kaufman
Women and girls are often put down, silently, subtly. Bound by invisible chains in their homes, on the streets, in schools and public spaces. Always maintaining a low profile, always crushing their dreams. Is it possible for them to fight back? And what happens when they find the courage to do so? Parvati, Mallika and Heena haven’t met each other but they share more in common than you would think. For they are amongst those women who are taking extraordinary steps to reclaim the spaces that are rightfully theirs, fighting the often invisible barriers that keep women from freedom.
Director: Madhuri Mohindar
Narrated by Robert Redford, Mother of All Rivers illustrates how one person can affect extraordinary change. In a country with growing socioeconomic inequality and human rights violations, Berta Cáceres rallied her indigenous Lenca people, waging a grassroots campaign to successfully pressure the world’s largest dam builder to withdraw from building the Agua Zarca Dam. In a country with some of the highest murder rates in the world, Cáceres’ victory to protect her sacred Rio Gualcarque, brought hope to activists fighting irresponsible development in Honduras and throughout Latin America. But Berta paid the ultimate price for defending the earth – as she was gunned down by four assassins while asleep in her bed.
Director: Will Parrinello
Over 200,000 migrant laborers, mostly from Africa, work in Italy’s fields. After being exploited for years, the global pandemic made these farmworkers “essential” overnight — but without labor rights or even access to basic sanitation, they are living and working in conditions that have been described as modern slavery. Union leader Aboubakar Soumahoro has been documenting these inhumane conditions and is helping the workers organize to demand real and lasting change.
Director: Diana Ferrero, Carola Mamberto
The Mauritania Railway is a 704-kilometer line linking the iron-mining center of Zouerat with the port of Nouadhibou. Atop a hopper car, we journey through vast Saharan landscapes with the people who rely on the train for their survival.
The film portrays the lives of two gay men and one transgender woman who left their home countries because of discrimination and persecution. The film is an emotional personal journey that shows how stigmatisation, persecution and violence have turned the protagonists into human rights activists.
Director: Nicky Newman
Synopsis: Welcome to Cherán, a small Indigenous community in the state of Michoacán that took up self-rule to kick out local drug cartels. In 2011, Yunuen Torres was a little girl, but she remembers life before her community took their town back. Now a community radio host, Torres has made it her mission to record oral histories that capture Cherán’s tumultuous past and inspire the next generation to uphold all that her community fought for.
Director: Elpida Nikou, Rodrigo Hernandez
What About Our Future? chronicles the Sustainabiliteens, a group of young environmental activists who organized the largest strike in Vancouver’s history.
The film takes a unique look into the movement while the youth organize protests, pressure politicians and educate younger teens about environmental justice.
Director: Cláudio Cruz & Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos
With an original soundtrack made by Ana Tijoux and narrated by Sylvia Earle, “Voices from the Sea” tells the story about the battle of a remote society to save the sea, and this action becomes an example of courage for the planet.
Director: Álvaro Farías
Big Damage reveals the human face of logging in Papua New Guinea. It is a tale of exploitation and broken promises, where local people are treated as second-rate citizens in their own country by Malaysian logging companies and corrupt politicians.
Director: David Fedele
Esperanza and Teodula are calling for justice in rural Peru, they are part of 300,000 people sterilised without consent more than 18 years ago. The Quipu Project is their phone line that allows the affected across the country to share their shocking testimonies.
Directors: Maria Ignacia Court & Rosemarie Lerner
Sometimes, innovative solutions to social challenges are born in the most unlikely places. In Kisumu, Kenya, a surprising approach to HIV prevention relies on building bonds between two unlikely groups: police officers and sex workers. In Kisumu, extortion and abuse were commonplace, and sex workers’ rights were violated. This resulted in sex workers not receiving essential health services and police officers contributing to the spread of HIV. Through a novel approach, a local NGO called Keeping Alive Societies’ Hope (KASH) has fought to reverse that trend by building relationships between these former adversaries.
Director: Julie Winokur