Anne Marte Skaland and Guro Almås, editors of The Sustainability Book
The will to fight for a better world is one of our most precious human qualities. It is this will that drives a peace activist in Cambodia, a human rights activist in Cameroon and an environmentalist in Canada. It is this will that drives people who sacrifice everything for the rights of others, and it is the same will that helps us everyday activists to try as best we can. Although we may sometimes get discouraged and give up, this will motivates us to try again.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent both something old and something new. The struggle for peace, for the environment and for justice is by no means new. But never before have the countries of the world agreed on such comprehensive and ambitious targets as the SDGs. Although the struggle is old, these goals create a new impetus. They represent an opportunity that we must seize. We owe it to everyone still living in poverty and suffering from injustice. We owe it to the children who will inherit the earth.
To achieve the SDGs, many people will need to work towards them. It is the sum of all of our actions that determines the path forward. In our everyday lives, we can choose climate-friendly solutions, we can buy clothes that are ethically manufactured, and we can pick up plastic along the beach. In order to change the basic structures that create conflict, injustice and environmental degradation, we must be united in our cause. We need to organise ourselves and work through communities, organisations and international networks.
Churches and Christian organisations also have a role to play in this great project for our common good. In this book, we invite you to reflect on what the Bible and Christian faith have to say about the various SDGs. These are not new issues for the Church, but the SDGs can give us new angles, new allies and new approaches. Together, churches and Christian organisations make up a network with branches in communities around the world. Will we be able to use the resources we have at our disposal to generate meaningful changes? We hope that The Sustainability Book will help you translate great visions into concrete action and see the big picture behind seemingly small, everyday actions. The combination of facts, Biblical reflections, questions and prayers will allow you to use this book as a resource in sermons, Bible study groups, confirmation teachings and devotions.
We stand together with our sisters and brothers all over the world who also have the will to create change. Although we do not know about each and every one, it is as if we are working together in an invisible machine. No one knows exactly what it will take to achieve the SDGs. Some of the goals focus on financial grants, others are about tough political battles, while still others are about changing attitudes and traditions. How many hours will we have to spend on this work? How many letters to the editor must we write? How many public meetings will we need to organise? We don’t have those answers, but we know that the more people who work for something, the stronger the team and the greater our chances of success.