Whether you want to believe it or not, sustainability and the state of our environment are issues of social justice. But because they have become the cause of the moment, many people choose to believe that it is trivial, or an issue that is only important from places of privilege and luxury.
Where environmental issues are having the biggest negative impact is in poorer parts of the world, where environmental catastrophes cause food shortages and reduce the quality of life even further for those living there. Deforestation and desertification make access to resources even more difficult for these people who are already greatly in need of basic necessities to survive.
What is also forgotten is that poverty and disparity is one of the leading causes of violence and war around the war. Take the small country of El Salvador, which has been struggling for two decades following the end of their brutal civil war. Rather than being able to emerge as a nation where poverty is on the decline, changes in the climate are making it increasingly difficult for the poor to rely on common crops like corn to survive. As a result, a new breed of rebels are born to combat the disparity, making it now the most dangerous country in the world to live in that is not involved in an active war.
The Rich, the Environment and Social Injustice
Those who do have the advantage of money, where fallen bean crops in El Salvador have no impact on their everyday lives, need to start taking some of the responsibility for the global effect climate change is having. Sustainability needs to become a part of everyone’s everyday vocabulary, not just the middle class social justice seekers.
More important than faceless donations are steps towards protecting the environment. Rather than buying an exotic car that will spend more time in a garage than on the road, consider an luxurious trip to Montreal, rent the exotic car you are dreaming of when you want to take a trip. It is not just emissions that make cars so toxic for our environment, it is the very process involved in manufacturing them. This effect is lessened rapidly if an exotic car is rented for a week whenever you have the whim for one, rather than purchased.
Reducing the size of your home to one that makes more sense for the size of your family is another objective to prioritize. Imagine the millions of natural resources being wasted on heating and cooling dozens of rooms that are never used.
It is time that the upper few begin thinking about how their lifestyles are affecting the bottom majority. El Salvador is one small step to a global uprising of the poor, tired of having to pay with their lives for the mistakes of the rich.
What Is Social Justice?
Even though the majority of people when asked would be for social justice, when they are faced with a simple question and when they should define the very notion, you will often see that their opinions and definitions are much different and that they often vary.
Why Is It Difficult To Define Social Justice?
It can in fact be rather difficult to define social justice, namely due to the fact that often this term means different things for different people. Therefore, some people will orient themselves to the aspects of reaching financial equalities or wealth or health.
So, What Is Social Justice, Then?
The best way to define social justice would be to imagine a place where all people would be equal, especially in terms of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society. This means that all people should have the same opportunities in this world and in this society. This is of course a concept which is not easily accomplished and in fact, it is rarely ever even partially accomplished.
What Values Are Cherished?
People who believe in social justice often cherish certain values that give the freedom to the humans. Namely, they believe in freedom of thought, liberty to express one’s religious, philosophical and moral beliefs and live according to those beliefs. Furthermore, they believe that people should have the freedom in a political way, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, all these values are associated with social justice. Also, social justice fights for the liberty and integrity of people, especially with it comes to freedom to work and earn money in order to sustain a life.
Social justice takes an especially firm stand when it comes to health care. Since health care is not affordable for everyone, people who cherish human rights believe that as a society better healthcare should be available to everyone, and even to families with low income. Furthermore, there are much more drastic examples around the world of people being malnourished or suffering from infectious diseases. Social justice therefore must be distributed to all places in the world equally and all people should have the same chances to lead a healthy and happy life, regarding of their gender, social status, or level of education.
Why It Is Important To Learn About Human Rights?
It is very important to learn and educate oneself on human rights, mainly because people who are privileged have the opportunities to help those who are unprivileged. This opportunity must not be wasted. The more people learn more about the unfairness of the world, the more they want to change something and help those who are in need and suffering. There are so many people around the globe who are not blessed with a warm meal every day, a happy family, a steady income or even health for that matter. Their level of education and their social status, does not make them less worthy human beings that should suffer. Therefore, we must do everything in our power to change the world and bring social justice and social equality to everyone.