In 2015, the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals to radically improve the lives of all humans and the health of the planet by 2030—and Canadians have a lot of work to do if we want to achieve them on time. Alliance 2030 represents CFC’s effort to unite various groups that are working on the goals, both domestically and abroad, and then help them share knowledge and lessons about their progress.
No Little Plans was conceived as a way to extend that message to a more general audience. During the podcast’s initial, four-episode run, we will first introduce listeners to the concept and value of the SDG plan, and then take deep dives into specific goals, including No Poverty, Gender Equality and Clean Water and Sanitation. Along the way, the series will include interviews with some of the biggest names in this space—such as Dr. Joseph Wong of the Munk School’s Reach Project, whose talk at a 2017 CFC conference inspired the idea.
“I was sitting near the back of the room when Wong stood up and made an incredible argument in favour of the SDGS’ core concept, which is that no person anywhere in the world can be left behind for any reason,” says SCL product manager Matthew McKinnon. “I remember watching a lot of heads nodding along to that message, and regretting that I did not have a recorder running to capture his words—but then thinking a ha, if we could make him say this again in a podcast, then everyone could hear it.”
That thought became part of SCL’s pitch to win the business of supporting Alliance 2030. McKinnon had already worked with audio producer Katie Jensen on The Secret Life of Canada, a history podcast that began as part of Passport 2017—and was a fan favourite with staff at CFC. SCL contracted Vocal Fry Studios, which Jensen operates with Vicky Mochama (a journalist whose work focuses on social inequality), to host and produce No Little Plans according to our editorial direction and standards.
The podcast’s name references a renowned quote by the American architect and designer Daniel Burnham (1846–1912): “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” We have Ken Hunt, publisher of Toronto Life, to thank for suggesting it.
No Little Plans is available from the iTunes Store, Google Play Music, Soundcloud and other providers. (Please subscribe!) Episode 1 releases on Tuesday, September 25, which is the UN’s Global Day of Action for sustainable development.