The Presentation Sisters and BizNOW magazine have partnered to create monthly social justice articles. The February article reflects on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ending extreme poverty.
This article was submitted by Sister Joyce Meyer, an international liaison for Global Sisters Report. She works with sisters around the world to address critical issues facing the people they serve.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ~ Desmond Tutu
Early this summer I visited Molded Fiber Glass in Aberdeen where I met people from the mountains of Burma who had fled persecution by a military government. I had visited Burma some years ago and was very surprised to find them in South Dakota. For the first time in their lives these families have opportunities for education, just wages and a new life. Molded Fiber Glass may not even be aware that it is participating in the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ending extreme poverty.
It is a little over a year now since world leaders committed themselves to implementing the SDGs. In the next 15 years the goals are designed to achieve three important things: End extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. Tough challenges, but if each of us chooses one goal to focus on, we can create a new world together. Our youth can become the generation that changed the world if we encourage them to use their energy and influence for achieving the goals. As global citizens we are responsible to care for the entire universe.
Globalization is sometimes thought of negatively, but we have all been and are part of its genesis through travel and trade. From the beginning of humankind, people moved from place to place seeking food, water, peace, prosperity, trade and adventure. Even God sent Abraham and Moses to seek a promised land. And Jesus, in the Christian bible, invites followers to “go to the ends of the world” to share the good news of God’s love for all.
In his recent letter, Care of Our Common Home, Pope Francis reminds us that the entire universe is our common home. Being a universal family is not easy. We hear daily about divisions created through racism, sexism, lust for greed and power. Achieving a common home requires re-establishing right and just relationships of respect and equity in families, communities, businesses, extended families in other parts of the world and with all creation.
So, how can it be done? It begins with me deciding to become aware of how I think about others different from myself and recognizing ignorance and fears that create negative thoughts and images. It then requires crossing these negative borders and moving towards understanding, empathy and justice towards others.
Presentation Sisters worldwide are all committed to implementing the Sustainable Goals personally and with our mission partners. Justice Commissions/Committees keep us informed about particular issues and offer suggestions about how to join with all “family members” in creating right relationships and in caring for our common home.
Challenge Question: How can I, as a global citizen, implement the Sustainable Development Goals in my daily life?
To engage further, please visit: www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment