Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ecological Footprints & the Seventh Millennium Development Goal

Those of us involved in social justice have to pause sometimes to ask ourselves the question: Do we practice what we preach? In the context of The ONE Campaign, it's useful to look at the eight Millennium Development Goals and examine how we can apply them to our personal lives. Achieve universal primary education? Sure. I can support my local school system. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger? I can support my local food bank. Reduce child mortality? The answer: Support the WIC program. So there you have it. All token efforts.

But there is ONE goal where our personal habits can make a huge difference: The Seventh Goal, which is to ensure environmental sustainability. Our consumption habits (or dare I say overconsumption habits) of natural resources and energy have contributed to the devastation of Mother Earth. There are many practical personal steps we can take to contribute to making our global human habitat more sustainable. Do I drive to work every day or can I take public transport or ride a bike? Have I installed energy-saving light bulbs at home? Do I buy only the produce that is grown locally? Or do I make it even more local by growing my own fruits and vegetables? Am I aware that buying water in plastic containers is very damaging to the environment?

What kind of ecological footprint are you leaving?
Take a quiz
After you've taken the quiz, perhaps you might want to take some actions. Dr. Bruce Milne, director of the Sustainability Program at the University of New Mexico, and his assistant Mariel Tribby have created a handy kit to help you move in the direction of greater sustainability.
Click here to access the kit (in .pdf format).

One of the most dedicated advocates of environmental sustainability and ecospirituality is Sister Paula Gonzalez.

Sister Paula (pictured above) is the founder of
EarthConnection, a center for learning and reflection about living lightly on Earth. The solar-heated and energy efficient office named La Casa del Sol is a revitalized chicken coop. The center has implemented a permaculture demonstration project and 16 raised garden beds that, with the help of volunteers provides fresh, organic vegetables for low-income residents in the area.

Sister Paula was wearing her ONE band when I caught up with her at the Center for Action and Contemplation's Great Chain of Being conference in August 2007. She proudly wears the white wrist band everywhere she goes, not only as a symbol of the Seventh Millenium Development Goal, but also to draw the connection that all eight goals are related. The truth is that if we take seriously the concept of sustainability, then we will consume less, which means that resources can be spread out more evenly, eventually making it easier to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty, fight AIDS and other diseases, and attain basic primary education for everyone.

Click here for a slightly different version of this piece

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veronica said...
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