It takes less time to do things right than to explain why you did it wrong. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
As citizens of planet Earth, those of us who have been fortunate enough to have access to education and good living standards have to take responsibility and progressive actions in order to improve living conditions for less fortunate individuals.
There are certainly many ways of contributing to sustainable global development, starting with using the knowledge that we have in responsible ways through integrating ethics and sustainability into our societies, into our business practices, and into political activities. In fact, into all activities, be it political or non-political.
According to forecasts by the UN, two-thirds of all world population will live in water scarcity in 2025. If and when this occurs, it is not difficult to understand that this will affect every single citizen of the world either directly or indirectly. Actions need to be taken NOW.
Currently about 57 million children worldwide have no access to primary schooling. The reasons behind this vary, starting from the fact that there is a shortage of about one million teachers in the regions affected (the situation is worst in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also many other geographical regions worldwide suffer from shortages in the very basic human needs, and human rights). Those who have the privilege of education ought to realize how important it is for all children worldwide to have access to primary AND secondary education, and support the development of regions where education is a luxury that currently only wealthy families can afford for their children.
Primary and secondary education is a cost that poor families cannot afford. Instead, poor parents are obliged to send their children to work rather than giving their children the opportunity to work themselves out of poverty through the benefits that education could offer them.
Around 168 million children worldwide work every day instead of going to school. Girls are obliged to drop out of school more often than boys, due to cultural traditions supporting the old beliefs that a girl is a burden for a family rather than a gift like a male child. Nevertheless, both boys and girls are being exploited and utilized as workforce, many of them working long hours in hazardous working environments or forced into becoming child soldiers (in certain areas).
The majority of child labor occurs in Asia and the Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons for this vary – often due to the fact that poor parents prefer sending their children to work because they need the money to support their families, or, parents prefer sending their children to work because the job is too poorly paid – thus, it “makes more sense” to send the child to the poorly paid, often hazardous job (slavery?). Agriculture is by far the largest sector employing children. Child labor is a violation against human rights, and against the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.
Why, in a world with so many laws, conventions, declarations, standards, policies, and transparent business processes, do we still have to face child labor and lack of education?
Poor people, including children of poor families, without any external support or support from their state´s governments, are weak to defend themselves taking into consideration the fact that they lack the skills and knowledge to defend themselves and their human rights. Our world has 750 million illiterates alone. Having no reading or writing skills makes it so much more difficult for an individual to improve his/her living standards, unless given the opportunity to learn these basic human skills for thriving and having access to a human life.
Developing sustainable societies and economies brings along many benefits for mankind and helps us leave a legacy for our children and for generations to come, rather than destroying our planet through unethical business practices, ignorance and intolerance.
What are the benefits of creating, and developing ethical and sustainable business/societal practices? A few suggestions to start with:
SAVE OUR PLANET AND ITS INHABITANTS. Sad but true: Our world is running out of water. Instead of panicking, take action NOW and do what you can to improve/prevent the situation. It is not hard to figure out what an impact water shortage will have upon all mankind. If one region runs out of water, it most definitely will have a huge impact on all other regions worldwide as well, leading to significant problems around the world.
IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS PROCESSES AND MAKE THEM TRANSPARENT (UNLESS THEY ALREADY ARE). Your business activities and consumption have direct and indirect impacts on just about everything, including child labor. It is never too late to make a difference.
SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS & GOVERNMENTS TO TRANSFORM AND TO GIVE ALL CHILDREN ACCESS TO BOTH PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION. Education improves people´s lives and helps them to work themselves out of poverty & to develop their societies. It is a long-term investment serving us all.
EMPOWER WOMEN WORLDWIDE. Women are suffering in many countries (in fact, in most countries worldwide), and the suffering of women increases the suffering of children as well. The best way to help children is to help their mother´s first.
PLEASE SPREAD THIS MESSAGE AND TAKE ACTION. It will benefit us all.
The Importance of Developing an Effective Ethics Program (The ACFE):
Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching – even when doing the wrong thing is legal (Aldo Leopold)
A leadership strategy without ethical clarity produces moral and economic bankruptcy (Bill Donahue)
Our Planet does not need more successful people. Our planet craves for more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kind. (The Dalai Lama)
Ethics is the aesthetics of the soul. (Pierre Reverdy)
Thank you for reading, reflecting, commenting, for taking action to improve living conditions for all human beings.