Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 22, 2019

Earth Concerns News

The Earth Charter, Principle 3 by Janet Derby, CSJ Associate

Social and Economic Justice


As you are aware, members of the Home/land Committee are featuring monthly articles about the Earth Charter Initiative; the initiative is meant to inspire a sense of shared responsibility for establishing social and economic justice for all. Our focus this month is specifically on social and economic justice, that justice which enables every human being to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood. This justice must be accomplished through cooperative and responsible actions that are not only mutually beneficial but that also emphasize interdependency among all the members of the community of life. Such activities must protect and conserve resources that are essential to life=s sustenance and evolution.

Social justice encompasses economic justice. Social justice should guide us in creating institutions. Social institutions should be designed as pathways for personal and social development. Economic justice encompasses the moral principles that guide the development of economic institutions. Economic institutions determine how and to what extent people are engaged in work to earn a living, are able to exchange goods and services, and are able to contribute in various ways to society. Justice should not be confused with charity. While charity may be the soul of justice, justice supplies the material foundation for charity. Charity is the spirit, and justice is the substance. The goal of justice should be to elevate each person to a level whereby charity is not personally needed, but whereby the person himself/herself has the capability of being charitable. Spirit and substance have the power to nurture soul and body.

No one could argue that it is the right of every human being to have potable water, clean air, sufficient food, uncontaminated soil, shelter, bodily health, spiritual well-being, safe sanitation, freedom from discrimination, an education and aspirations. In addition, we could add to the list freedom to participate actively in all aspects of economic, political, social and cultural life within one=s living environment. There should be universal access to education, health care and economic opportunity. Women have a right to be equal partners as decision makers, leaders and beneficiaries. Gender equality and equity are still not affirmed in the most democratic of societies. The planet suffers. There is a terrible inequitable distribution of wealth among and within nations of the world. There are countless persons who cannot help themselves. So, others who are able must step forward to advocate effectively for them.

How can we all help to promote the Earth Charter Vision? Below you will find some ways to promote the Earth Charter Initiatives. Even if you can take only one action, you will be doing something. You might even be creative and come up with another idea. If you do, be sure to share it!



! Become familiar with the Earth Charter [EC] and let others know what the charter is. Form study groups or develop essay competitions within the Catholic Schools.

! Make EC values part of your own daily life.

! Use the EC as a tool for transformation; make personal commitments to help create the conditions that could lead others to the directions the principles express.

! Develop cultural programs around the EC principles. Develop tools/criteria for reviewing/evaluating proposed legislation, regulations.

! Write letters to your legislators.

! Create physical/virtual spaces that catalog and disseminate concrete examples of people who are putting the EC into practice.

! Produce a documentary or Powerpoint presentation, featuring people who are putting the EC into practice.

! Help consumers to use the EC to make buying decisions.

! Help retail buyers to use the EC to make decisions about product selections and supplies.

! Create practical actions that everyone can do at home or at work.

! Develop coaching programs for people who want to change their habits.

! Sponsor an EC exhibition or workshop.



(June 2008)