UP FOR JUSTICE
Welcome to the September 2016 edition of #UpForJustice – a monthly news and prayer letter from the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) based in New York City, USA.
We continue using the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for prayer and reflection. There are 17 goals, which all 193 United Nations (UN) member states endorsed at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs will shape the development agendas in all countries until 2030. Read more about the SDGs by visiting www.salvationarmy.org/isjc/SDGs.
This month’s #UpForJustice is written by Sharlene Lucero, a 17-year-old Salvationist who is The Salvation Army’s girl delegate to the United Nations. Sharlene comments on the 12th SDG – ‘Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’.
SDG 12: Sustainable Living
Food, energy and water are necessary for our survival. In our daily routine, we use products for cooking, showering, electrical purposes, travel and for our health, perhaps carelessly without realising the consequences to God’s beautiful world that was entrusted to us.
I was born in New York City where everything from food to energy is supplied at a moment’s notice. In the developed world, a significant portion of the population does not appreciate that excess amounts of energy, food and water are wasteful, affecting people in the third world who are in desperate need. Even when it comes to food, we do not realise how much we have until we struggle – trying to keep our bills down and making food last longer.
At one point in my life, my family had a hard time when my father lost his job after 15 years. We had to make sure that energy, food, and water would last for a good amount of time. We struggled, but we continued to have faith that my father would soon get another job, since we depended on him for everything. We had hope that life would return to normal, but his is not always possible for those who live in the third world, where every resource is precious!
The 12th SDG is a goal set by the leaders of 193 countries to make a greener world by having resource efficiency, decent jobs for all, and maintaining a lifestyle that results in keeping our waters, lands and lives greener and safe. As Christians, this is an SDG that we should fully support. Irresponsible consumption on our part results is unjust working conditions for those who are working to supply the demand and nature itself. We are responsible for taking care of God’s creation and each other.
Three statistics that highlight this global problem:
1.Each year, an estimated one-third of all food produced – equivalent to 1.3 billion tonnes, worth around $1 trillion – ends up rotting in the bins of consumers and retailers, or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.1
2.Man is polluting water faster than nature can recycle and purify it in rivers and lakes.2
3.Households consume 29 per cent of global energy and consequently contribute to 21 per cent of resultant CO2 emissions.3
SDG 12 is a well-rounded goal that addresses many components, such as :
• Keeping our environment clean.
• Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and restraining from wasting food which is thrown away.
• Lowering the amount of energy used in the house by unplugging or turning off electric devices or lights.
• Recycling items, which is beneficial to the environment.
• Limiting showers, since the average person uses five gallons of water per minute.
As we reflect on the challenge of SDG 12, let us pray for:
- The countries of the developing world that deal with famine, drought and lack of electricity.
- The work of the ISJC in advocating for the care of our environment.
- Salvation Army officers on international service.
- Missionaries who try to understand the hardships being faced in other countries.
- Lifestyle changes to keep our environment healthy and clean.
Please remember the following ISJC prayer concerns:
- The two new ISJC team members joining soon. Joseph Halliday, from the UK, arrives on 24 September, and will be part of the team for the next year. Dr Laurelle Smith, a Salvationist from New Zealand, has been appointed ISJC Research Analyst and will join when she receives a visa. Please pray for this process to go smoothly.
- September is a significant month as world leaders gather in New York for the annual UN General Assembly. This year the focus is on the migration crisis. Please pray that the focus will be on the needs of displaced people and that solutions can be found.