World Day of Social Justice
Education for sustainable development means learning to establish social justice in the world. World Day of Social Justice (February 20) is an opportunity to highlight the role of Education for Sustainable Development in building a world based on principles of justice, equity, participation and transparency.
Social justice is based on equal rights for all peoples and the ideal that benefits from economic and social progress are for all people without discrimination. Education for sustainable development is one way to achieve these objectives; it is the catalyst for a new responsible citizenship. It offers the possibility of reducing poverty, increasing access to employment that provides a living wage, preventing conflict between social groups, and building tolerance, acceptance and peace.
One group seeking to promote social justice is Beeatoona, a non-governmental organization based in Beirut, working for peace building and better understanding between the many religious and political affiliations in local communities in the Aley region (Lebanon), major witness of civil clashes since the Lebanese war. As a result of the conflict and fires, forests have been declining considerably in the past 40 years. The "Green Lebanon with Peace" program aims to promote a culture of non-violence, collaboration and understanding that would contribute to social justice.
Beeatoona organized a day of the environment that brought together 200 students from different religious backgrounds to plant 300 trees in the village of Jisr Al Kadi in the Aley region. Students are thus placed in the heart of the rehabilitation and reconstruction of peace between communities in their region. This is a clear example of the contribution ESD makes to social justice: education for sustainable development builds bridges between people of different backgrounds and religions.