Social Justice & Sustainability - Liberty & Justice for All?
Warning: reading this post might get your blood pressure up. Either because you agree with some of the issues I raise or because you want to bop me one.
From my view, without social justice we can never really have a sustainable , just and healthy planet. Social justice is equality amongst everyone in society. Social justice applies to all aspects of a person's life and is closely related to human rights. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly. Social justice is being fair to everyone despite their gender, sexuality, religion, age, political affiliation, disability, social class, or any other discriminatory factor. And if you have been listening to any news station in our country these days, it becomes apparent that we have a long way to go in the social justice arena globally. (Remember – we just have ONE planet, right?
Let’s start with children - Social justice means all citizens are entitled to the same rights and services. Based on what one can conclude from most major media outlets, we continue to fail the children who are abused, neglected, and just plain unwanted. Foster children, who depend on society’s largesse for their very existence, go largely unseen. Because these are children, they don’t fund any political campaigns, lobby any elected representatives for an opportunity to be heard, or organize any marches to advocate for better services. Therefore, they have no voice if we don’t speak for them. How are we doing on that one? Can we do better?
Want to get everybody all worked up? Talk about healthcare. Or even worse, health care reform. Why are 46.6 million people without health insurance in the great country of ours ? Why is employee-sponsored health insurance disappearing? Why are the numbers of uninsured African Americans, Hispanics, and immigrants so disproportionate to that of Caucasians? Why is the number of uninsured children—8.3 million—again on the rise, when it had been dropping steadily since 1998? And why aren’t more people as outraged because sick children can still make healthy children sick? And who wins that one? A healthy community is a sustainable community.
Speaking of unsustainable practices, people are being held as slaves to make clothing, children are being kidnapped to become sex slaves and thousands of women are being outright raped, murdered or viciously abused at the hands of others. What can we do? Find our voices. Find a cause we believe in and a right we want to wrong and help to make things change. Sign a petition, register to vote, call your elected official and let your voice be heard. Take a few minutes to envision what a healthy, just and sustainable planet might look like and what is needed to change and strive to be that change. It might look different for everyone but living to consciously right a wrong or speak for someone whose voice isn’t being heard will clearly get this sustainable, just and healthy planet moving in a right direction and quickly. And then we can talk about recycling!