It is a momentous week – world leaders are getting together for the UN Summit week, Pope is visiting NYC, and Autumn is finally arriving. For me personally, this is momentous because I remember being excited about the UN Millenium Goals and now I get to witness the reveal of the Global Goals!
What is different between then and now? Well, I am older, the UN week is still the world attention holder, but the goals have become much bolder! The new goals are fantastic because they push the limits of the nations’ leaders to achieve these goals. More importantly, they include topics that were left to the wayside the last time – responsible consumption & production, life below water & on land. I am enthralled as I think about being part of a generation that can witness the achievements of these goals. Of course, the obvious caveat is that many of these goals are closely dependent on the mothers of all goals: peace & justice – leadership from strong institutions.
As you notice in this pictograph, peace & justice are listed as goal #16, while the plan is completed by the goal of creating global partnerships. This is such a vital distinction because the success of achieving these goals is soundly dependent upon our ability as humanity to unite for peace and justice. One cannot be achieved without the other –
“Peace without justice is tyranny” – William Allen White
When we listen to the news on the radio or peruse through a magazine or the lonely newspaper – everyone notices the headlines. Based on today’s AP News headlines, I created word cloud (helped by worditout.com). Of course the usual common words are predominant – day of the week, politics, Congress, news; however we should take notice of the following words: Syria, US, military, combat, Russian, injured, war, missions, flee. We seldom come across words like peace, happiness, camaraderie, partnership.
It is clear that the state of our world is not adequately depicted here. I recognize the commonly accepted explanation that unhappy news sells while happiness does not ignite a fire. However, we should ask ourselves whether each of us is truly doing our part in cultivating a community that is inclusive and tolerant of differences but not injustice. We need stability to achieve all the goals outlined above – and stability is achieved only in areas where justice prevails. Each continent of our world is affected by instability. The Global Conflict Tracker is a tool produced by the Council on Foreign Relations, and take a look at their prediction of conflicts for 2015:
To the folks who believe that nations should focus on their individual priorities – think about this: is there any denying now that conflicts on one continent are affecting the interests of all? We are no longer the citizens of individual countries – we are global citizens. When the dividing lines of mother nature’s geography do not amount to any effectiveness, why do we still allow political and religious lines to divide us? If we are to achieve the goals of zero poverty, zero hunger, we need to educate our next generation. If we are to achieve educational goals, we need safe places for our children to study, eat, live, and prosper. These children will look to us to provide by example – the example of peace, justice, industry, and acceptance.
Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge. It is thinking that makes what we read ours. – John Locke
Does each of us have to go out to a warn torn corner of the world? No. We need to find the opportunities in our own towns and cities to promote each of these goals. Work as a mentor or teacher, help build a community garden, urge your companies to invest in the local resources to decrease unemployment, donate materials to build food pantries & home, and most importantly, bring awareness!
The world is round – a globe – thus our efforts of achieving these goals should be global!