An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

ClimateWatch and the Sustainable Development Goals

1 July 2019

The Sustainable Development Goals were designed by the United Nations in 2015 to drive positive change across the world, in all societies, communities and environments. As an environmental organisation, EarthWatch Australia is forever supporting the SDGs that relate closely to the natural world, namely:




Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

As part of our ClimateWatch program, we are encouraging Australian citizens to get out into the field, interact with nature and contribute to scientific investigation. By engaging with different people from different backgrounds in different regions across the country, we are doing our best to inform and educate as many people as possible about the natural environment and how it works. As such, we are also following in line with SDG 4. 


Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Using our mobile app and online resources, ClimateWatchers are able to record sightings of animals and plants in their local park, nearby nature reserve or at one of our 79 ClimateWatch trails around Australia. The aim of the initiative is to gather data that can be used in phenology research so that we can assess the rate at which our climate is changing, study the effects this is having on our wildlife and subsequently measure our progress towards reaching the sustainability goals.

Currently, Australia is not on track to achieve targets set out, particularly with respect to conservation of terrestrial ecosystems 1. Forest cover has fallen significantly since the year 2000, more and more indigenous species are at greater risk of extinction and fewer than 55% of sites important for biodiversity are in protected areas. And although some marine species are deemed to be in good condition overall, very little data exists for many species because not enough observations are being made.

These issues have been identified as particularly in need of attention so to provide the greatest chance of achieving SDGs on time. It is these types of issues that our ClimateWatch program is trying to address through recruiting Australian citizens and providing them with resources to monitor and log their observations. 

By recording a sighting, developing a nature trail or implementing a phenology-based program in the work-place, ClimateWatchers are contributing to progress towards SGD targets.


Written by Jordan Champ

1.     Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming Australia