UN Sunday Services at Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals
Action Date(s): October 21, 2018
We had a service devoted to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and some of the various projects those goals are working toward. Our youth envoy also spoke, during our time for children, and described some of the ways the world is getting better.
Here is part of her talk:
"The United Nations, or the UN, is a huge organization with many parts and many departments. Most of the countries in the world belong to the United Nations, which has goals like encouraging peace and fairness; ending hunger; making sure people can vote in fair elections; making sure children can be educated and don’t have to go out to work; defending the rights of the LGBTQ community; and helping make the world more fair for women and people who are minorities.
"I’m our congregation’s youth representative to an organization called the UU-UNO. That’s the group that connects our denomination--all the UU churches in North America--to the United Nations. It’s important for our church to connect with the United Nations so we can learn about their projects and their priorities, and so we can help our opinion as a congregation be heard at the UN.
"I want to tell you about progress in some of the areas the UN works on, all over the world. When the news is on TV or on the radio, a lot of times what you hear is bad or scary news--stuff about wars or people getting shot or a crime. But there is so much that’s really, really good happening in the world right now. Not just things being good right now, but things that have actually gotten much better from how they used to be. The examples I’m going to read are the exactly the types of programs the UN works on.
"First, extreme poverty has fallen. Thirty years ago, one person out of every three in the world had to live on less that two dollars a day. Now it’s only about one person in ten. That’s a really huge difference, and something to celebrate.
"Second, far fewer people are hungry or are not getting enough to eat. Around the time I was born, in 2003, global starvation was a far bigger issue than it is today, and this is only in the span of 15 years. That’s a really encouraging development.
"Third, the number of children who have to work to help earn money for their families is way down. Around the world, there are still a lot of children who have to work at long, hard, or unsafe jobs to earn money because their families need it. But again, from around the time I was born, the number of children working has dropped by forty percent. Hopefully within the next 15 years we can get it zero, which is something the UN is working on.
"Fourth, more people in the world live in a democracy now. A democracy is a really awesome thing where everyone is equal, and each person gets a say in how society should be run. Thirty years ago, most of the people in the world still lived in countries where they couldn’t vote in fair elections. Now many more people around the world live in places where they can choose the kind of leader and government they want to have.
"Fifth, more children are able to attend school. Globally, it’s still a problem that not enough people are able to get a good education. This is especially a problem for girls. But a lot of progress has been made in recent years, all over the world, with more children going to school and staying in school longer. Even if school is sometimes boring or tiring, it’s still super great that in Canada we all have the right to attend.
"And finally, green power is getting much, much cheaper, easier to use, and more popular. This is important to help end climate change--we have to stop using coal and oil to make electricity, because these are non renewable power sources, and they really hurt the environment. But there are alternatives, like wind power and solar power, and they’re changing really, really quickly. Solar power, especially, is becoming nearly as cheap to produce as other ways of getting power. That means we can make progress toward slowing and reversing climate change and having a healthy planet.
"I want to encourage you to pay attention to stories you hear about the UN. It’s really good to know a little bit about what the UN is doing and how much goodness and hope their projects bring to people all over the world. Even when things are scary, it’s important to remember that some stuff is getting better, and that we can work to be a part of that change. Thank you."
Learn more about Events like this on UN Sunday Services.