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About the Author

Johan Knols
Blogger, safari specialist, professional wildlife guide (Woerden, Netherlands)

Johan Knols is the owner of the planyoursafari blog. He studied tourism in the Netherlands and has been working in the African tourism industry for nearly 15 years. Starting as lodge manager in the Serengeti in Tanzania, he eventually owned his own mobile safari company in Botswana. Johan received his professional wildlife- guides licence in 1998 and was awarded the title of Honorary Wildlife Officer with the Botswana Wildlife and National Parks authority in 2005. During his time in Africa he has managed upmarket safari lodges and has done overland trips in the luxury and semi-luxury sector. At the moment he is a full-time blogger giving tips and advices on everything related to African safaris.


Eight Millennium Un-Development Goals

Published 31st May 2010 - 42 comments - 7772 views -

Out of the eight Millennium Development Goals, six are directly aimed at the developing world.

And rightly so. Everybody deserves a full belly, education, a healthy child, maternal care and a life without HIV/Aids, TB or malaria.

But aren’t we in the process of making a big mistake? Why are six of the MDG’s only looking at the poor(est) of the world? At those that only consume a fraction of the world’s resources. At those that hardly pollute. At those that live much more in balance with nature.

Let’s also look at ourselves.

Maybe if there were eight goals specifically for us in the developed world, we could just make this planet a bit nicer. And to do justice to those in need, I suggest that we let the developing world come up with those eight goals. Imagine that.

I can’t speak for those in the developing world, but the thought about the eight goals for the developed world has kept me busy and I have come up with:



-Half by 2015 the greed employed by banks, bankers and the stock markets. The worst crisis we face since the first world war is solely to blame on the criminal greed of those understanding the system and exploiting the innocence of the masses.

-Eradicate by 2015 overweight. The way the west is consuming food has not only increased in quantity, but also decreased in quality. Add to this the lack of movement and sports and it becomes clear that we are not getting prettier. More food could go to the developing world or stay there.




- Remove by 2015 all trade barriers for developing countries.

- Half by 2015 the farmer subsidies in the developed world.




-Half by 2015 the amount of arms transfers to developing countries. This will directly decrease war and increase development.





- Half by 2015 the amount of people having to look for psychological help. The rat-race for money is not going to make you and those around you any happier. The costs are extremely high. Create quality time.

- Half by 2015 the people on sleeping medication.

- Half drug abuse by 2015.




- Eradicate by 2015 unhealthy food, unhealthy packaging materials and work related stress.





- Double by 2015 efforts to save our own biodiversity. Not only seek environmental sustainability, but environmental enrichment.





- Establish by 2015 a Summit of the G40, in which 20 of the richest and 20 of the poorest economies have a seat, each with equal voting rights.





- Half by 2015 the amount of divorces. Children have the right to grow up in stable environments.




Setting these goals for ourselves will lead to a significant saving of costs, money that will make the 0,7% target a lot easier to achieve.

If you had the chance to add a goal or target, what would that be?


  • Stefan May on 31st May 2010:

    Nice! I’m not sure though how you want to achieve goal 8… by giving out government-vouchers for marriage counselling?

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:

    @ Stefan,

    Point 8 is the easy one: don’t get married or don’t get kids. All other ones are a lot more difficult to implement I think.

  • Hemant Jain on 31st May 2010:


  • Helena Goldon on 31st May 2010:

    WOW, this is great, Johan. Really great. It could as well be an article in one of the world’s biggest magazines. Tell me, did you come up with the idea yourself or have you already seen it somewhere?

    If it’s an original idea I suggest you write it for Time or Newsweek smile

  • Bart Knols on 31st May 2010:

    Marvellous idea! Suggest you follow Helena’s idea to submit to Time or Newsweek!!

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:

    @Glen & @Helena,
    Thanks guys.
    It is 100% my own idea. So if you have contacts for me Helena, please don’t be shy to inform them. Haha.

  • Robert Stefanicki on 31st May 2010:

    ADDICTION: Half tobacco, alcohol and TV consumption.

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:


    With what idea in mind would you like TV consumption to be reduced? Tobacco and alcohol I can understand as they cost society money for medical treatment. (Did I say while smoking a cigarette.)

  • Radka Lankašová on 31st May 2010:

    Johan, this is great!

    One more - use commong sense. Most of the goals you mentioned would fall into this one category.

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:


    The original 8 Millennium Development Goals 2015 would also fall under the heading ‘common sense’. So are you sure that common sense is a goal in itself?

  • Larisa Rankovic on 31st May 2010:

    Greed is in one way or another in the root of at least half of these evils

  • Radka Lankašová on 31st May 2010:

    Johan, in fact I am. If common sense is an ultimate goal (hard to define though) then many hard-to-believe things would not be happening, and vice versa - things that are natural would not have to bet into quantified goals.

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:


    And certainly in the fact that we are not meeting most of the MDG’s 2015. Since greed is everywhere around us, does this mean that we are fighting a lost ‘war’?

  • Aija Vanaga on 31st May 2010:

    Nice! Arms .. Ouu ..

  • Larisa Rankovic on 31st May 2010:

    If common sense is strong enough to say that things cannot go much longer like this, then the war is not lost. Methinks

  • Robert Stefanicki on 31st May 2010:

    @Johan: I mean spending most of free time in front of TV hurts human development in broad sense. For example Americans do it for 4 hours 35 minutes evey day on average, probably not much less in Europe. According to various studies, watching TV increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and shorten life span. And worse: makes people silly.

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:

    @ Robert,
    Get you and you are right.

    Did I just give you a good idea?

  • Aija Vanaga on 31st May 2010:

    That is an idea .. But it is like impossible idea .. To reduce arms ...

  • Johan Knols on 31st May 2010:


    Nothing is impossible Aija!

  • Pieter Kat on 31st May 2010:


    A brilliant post. Thought-provoking, on the button, bone-basic truth.

    May I add energy? Now with the massive environmental destruction that is facing the Gulf of Mexico, Obama (who said more oil must be drilled) is now saying we have ignored and ignored for decades what could have been alternative sources for energy.

    We have the capability to develop the technology, but the scientists are not being encouraged with funding.

    So can we say that by 2015 we must at least have dedicated progress in sourcing new ways to provide electricity?

  • Clare Herbert on 31st May 2010:

    This is a really interesting way to view the MDGS. The goal about ending trade subsidies struck a particular chord with me. Did you know that every European Cow is sibsidized to about $2.50 per day, while the majority in the developing world are living on less than $1 a day. Clearly, our national and international priorities are off.

  • Johan Knols on 01st June 2010:


    Yes of course is the search for renewal energy sources of the utmost importance. But it would mean a bigger investment which would make reaching the o,7 aid more difficult. As you know we can only use a Euro once. What I was trying to say with my post is that we can also reach the 0,7% aid by SAVING money on expenditures we make ‘at home’.
    But I agree with you that renewable energy would be a big saver in the (very) long run.


    Yes Claire, I heard about our cows having a heavier price-tag on them that a lot of poor people in the world.
    There is another very famous example of protectionism in Holland:
    Many years back we put money in the cattle industry in The Sahel. This became such a success that the north Africans reached a stage were they could start exporting surplus cheap meat. That was however a bit too much success and we blocked the meat from entering The Netherlands. So much for helping the poor.

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 01st June 2010:

    Very interesting Bart. Can I also add to this list something on PWDs (persons with disabilities?) Check out a comment on my latest entry about MDGs. His point is totally valid. (

    I also like the part about parental care. How about no more deaths of kids especially by their own parents? (This ofcourse is an issue that runs deep that includes stress and poverty).

    I can go on and on. The list makes me want to add and add. Thanks!


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 01st June 2010:

    Apologies Johan! I don’t know why I had Bart in mind grin Maybe I expected a post from this from him.

  • Giedre Steikunaite on 01st June 2010:

    Johan, hilarious!

    May I add:

    Target 1. Half the greed of banksters (isn’t this an amazing term? Very accurate). Make them pay full price for their mistakes. Stop banks’ bailout with taxpayers money and massively tax their bonuses. Enforce attendance of a seminar “How to get rid of my greed and vanity by 2015”.

    On obesity: I have noticed that many people who go to McDonald’s and the like in the area where I live are actually poor. Fast food becomes their way of life because it’s cheap. But of course they could buy cheap vegetables instead..

    Target 6. Double, by 2015, the number of species which can be removed from the endangered list.

    Target 9. Reduce consumerism. Ensure a 50% drop in buying things you don’t need by 2015. You can count to make sure you’re on the right path.
    Also, increase the amount of recycled material. A book is still a book if it hadn’t cut another tree.

  • Johan Knols on 01st June 2010:


    You can add as much as you like and I am looking forward to your suggestions.


    Thanks for adding some ‘targets’.
    I like “how to get rid of my greed and vanity by 2015” a lot. On target 6 I think you are a bit fast, we haven’t even been able to stop the loss of species
    Target 9 is spot on. But it means we have to fight against the clever marketing guys that trick us into buying.

  • Giedre Steikunaite on 01st June 2010:

    OK Johan, target 6 should start at stopping the loss of species, and then gradually to removing more and more of them from the list.

    Actually, your comment brought up another question for me. Should the targets be ambitious or more realistic? Isn’t ambition the main driving force for progress? Or is it just easier to dismiss as “it’s not possible anyway, so why bother”? What do you think?

    Target 9. We also have to fight against ourselves. We buy when we have money. How about trying to limit our spare cash? It’s easy to see then that we can go on with our lives without visiting shops too often. Once you turn away from all that glittery invitation to buy, and it’s not in your face all the time anymore, you feel so much more free.

  • Johan Knols on 01st June 2010:


    In my opinion a target should get formulated with ambition in mind, yet it has to be realistic. The goals as I formulated them above are of course not realistic and these UNDEVELOPMENT goals should be seen with a wink. At the same time I have the ambition that it makes people think about these alternatives.
    To come back to the real millennium goals, I think they should be realistic. If they would seem to be too ambitious from the beginning, it gives governments up front already an excuse for not trying to implement them.

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 01st June 2010:

    Although Johan,

    This is an afterthought—I must point out that in countries where divorce is allowed, it may be so easy to not want it but in a country like the Philippines where divorce is not allowed, children are also growing up in unstable homes where parents are forced to stay together because they are not allowed by law to separate.

    Just sharing my thoughts on divorce and stable family lives…but you raised a very good point nonetheless.

  • Andrea Arzaba on 01st June 2010:

    I agree TO ERRADICATE unhealthy packaging materials!!! Just seeing all the trash we leave when we go to a fast-food restaurant makes me feel really bad about us as humans! Pfff I have always thought there should be a discount(even a tiny one) if U did not ask for…I don’t know…a package for your fries or if you bring your own bottle for your soda…small things like that

  • Andy Yee on 01st June 2010:

    This is brilliant!

  • Johan Knols on 02nd June 2010:

    Don’t forget that these alternative goals are for the developed world.
    Point 8 leaves in the middle whether it is better to be able to divorce or not being able. It merely states that we could save a lot of money if we had less divorces (and the social costs that come with them).

    It is not only about the amount of trash we produce, but also about which toxins might be in that trash:


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 02nd June 2010:

    Noted Johan. You are right we can save a lot of things and money ofcourse. Thanks!

  • Maria Kuecken on 02nd June 2010:

    Most excellent, Johan!  Thanks—Puts many things in perspective.

  • Johan Knols on 03rd June 2010:

    Thanks. I would like to know how things are being put in perspective for you?

  • Maria Kuecken on 03rd June 2010:

    Sure! First, in a broad sense that the developed world or an individual must not forget to be inward looking and equally (if not more) critical of ourselves than of others.  Also, that we should constantly be pushing for improvement in our faults.  But in recognizing that we “should” do this and in reality do not or cannot for numerous reasons, we must be conscious of the ways in which we perceive others and try to help them change.

    Also I just remembered about this: which operates on the premise of “the rest saving the west.”

  • Johan Knols on 03rd June 2010:

    Thanks for your explanation and the very interesting link.
    I had a good look at that website. What I noticed is that the competition is only open for people of ‘the developing countries’. Have you seen that they don’t specify which countries those are? I have written a mail to the girl that came up with the website’s idea and I hope to hear more from here soon.

  • Ivaylo Vasilev on 07th June 2010:

    Keep it up!

  • Daniel Nylin Nilsson on 09th June 2010:

    Maybe “drive less car”? That would bring a lot of good things… Biking not only improves traffic, health and environment - it also feeds a labour and knowledge intesive industry of small bike shops. I would definitely vote for the politician who offered tax-refunds for people ho gought new bicycles wink

  • Johan Knols on 10th June 2010:

    Trying to….

    Driving less cars would fall under #6: Environmental rebuilding.
    But with your tax-refunds when buying a bicycle I can agree. Reward the environmentally friendly means of transport instead of giving tax-refunds on ‘green’ cars. We have to start thinking in a completely different way. But I am also a realist and I understand that this is a process of blood, sweat and tears. Most likely why not many politicians want to go that route. Yet….

  • Daniel Nylin Nilsson on 10th June 2010:

    True, it would go under nr. 6.

    The thing is that tax-refund for bicylce-buyers, to most people doesn’t sound serious. But during the last years, governments have launched a lot of programs to make people buy new cars - so why not supporting other means of trasnportation as well?

  • Johan Knols on 21st June 2010:

    To implement a new way of awarding alternative modes of transport, it doesn’t have to be seen as serious. If it gets done, people will find out soon enough that it works.
    Here another one.
    Employers should only pay travel allowance to people that travel with public transport and not to those traveling by private car. (But I am worried that this would result in a revolution…don’t touch our holiest of holiest!).

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