"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
-Seymour Miller & Jill Jackson 1955
The Social Justice issues we are pursuing are:
St Anselm's Human Concerns/ Social Justice Committee has been active in supporting various efforts related to affordable housing, especially at Fort Monmouth. The property and other assets are in the planning process for redevelopment since the Fort is scheduled to be closed. The Committee organized a 90-Second letter campaign on affordable housing early in 2007. Almost 800 letters were sent to federal, state, county and local elected officials, as well as the management of the Fort Monmouth Economic and Redevelopment Planning Authority. In addition, special support-letters were sent to FMERPA for organizations who submitted a Notice of Interest to develop affordable housing. Representatives of our Committee attend all meetings of FMERPA and the Monmouth Advocacy Team to express the need for affordable housing.
St. Anselm's is represented by members of this subcommittee on the Monmouth County Cool Cities Partnership which includes organizations such as the Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters as well as local churches and other activities. The purpose of the Partnership is to encourage localities to create ecologically sustainable communities for ourselves and for future generations.
St. Anselm's Human Concerns/Social Justice committee's started a "BYOB" (bring your own bag) campaign in 2009. We sold "Grocery Totes" aimed at cutting down on the use of plastic bags at the market place.
Facts in evidence
Americans throw away almost 100 billion plastic bags every year and only 1 percent to 3 percent are ever recycled.
What’s so bad about plastic bags?
- Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They clog waterways, spoil the landscape, and end up in landfills where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.
- Plastic bags also pose a serious danger to birds and marine mammals that often mistake them for food. Thousands die each year after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags.
- Finally, producing plastic bags requires millions of gallons of petroleum that could be used for transportation or heating.
Consider a personal ban on plastic bags
Some businesses have stopped offering their customers plastic bags, and many communities are either considering a ban on plastic bags or have already implemented one.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of things you can do to help:
- Switch to reusable shopping bags. Reusable shopping bags made from renewable materials conserve resources by replacing paper and plastic bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials. When not in use, some reusable bags can be rolled or folded small enough to fit easily into a pocket.
- Recycle your plastic bags. If you do end up using plastic bags now and then, be sure to recycle them. Many grocery stores now collect plastic bags for recycling. If yours doesn't, check with your community recycling program to learn how to recycle plastic bags in your area.
WATER FOR THE WORLD:
- Because water is a human right and not a commodity to be bought and sold for profit we ask you to join our Water for the World Campaign. St. Anselm’s Social Concerns/Peace and Social Justice Committee is selling safe refillable plastic water bottles in two sizes, $7.00 for the small size, $9.00 for the large size. They are for sale at Coffee and Donut Weekends.
- HC/SJ is having a Water Can Collection through August. The money will be sent to OXFAM to help build community wells in Africa. For more information about the work of Oxfam please go to: http://www.oxfam.org/
- Use of non refillable plastic bottles requires massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Millions of these bottles wind up in landfills. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water required more than 17 million barrels of oil last year – enough fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year - and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. To put it another way, the entire energy costs of the lifecycle of a bottle of water is equivalent, on average, to filling up a quarter of each bottle with oil (Source: Pacific Institute).
- Large corporations sensing mega profits have capitalized on the trend to buy bottled water by buying up water rights in third world and our own country through privatization which has drained water supplies that communities in these less-developed countries rely on. The United Nations estimates that more than one billion people worldwide currently lack access to safe drinking water and that by the year 2025, two thirds of the world’s population will not have access to drinking water. Bottlers extract water in huge amounts from local springs and aquifers, potentially drying up wells and springs or depleting wetlands and draining rivers, with serious impact on the ecosystems. The starker truth hidden beneath the bottled water is the reality that the United States is facing a potential water-shortage crisis.
The Worldwatch Institute has called water scarcity "the most underappreciated global environmental challenge of our time." All water resources, including the oceans, must be protected as a public trust so that commercial use of water does not diminish public or ecological benefits. Perhaps the biggest factor, though, is a fear that as bottled water becomes more popular, private corporations are gaining more control over a natural resource that is central to life. We need to stop the privatization of this resource which is the lifeblood of the Earth. Water is a human right. It cannot be bought by water bottling companies at the expense of the poor in countries where water is already scarce.
Some Do's and Don'ts of Water Conservation
- Do take short showers and save 5 to 7 gallons a minute
- Do fill tub halfway and save 10 to 15 gallons.
- Don't run the water while shaving, washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Faucets use 2 to 3 gallons a minute
- Don't use the toilet as a waste basket, and don't flush it unnecessarily.
- Do repair leaky faucets and turn taps off tightly. A slow drip wastes 15 to 20 gallons each day.
Kitchen and Laundry:
- Do run the dishwasher and washing machine only when full. Save even more by using the short cycle.
- Do install faucet aerators.
- Don't let water run while washing dishes. Kitchen faucets use 2 to 3 gallons a minute. Fill a basin only takes 10 gallons to wash and rinse.
- Don't run water to make it cold. Have it chilled in the refrigerator, ready to drink.
- Do use a self-closing nozzle on your hose.
- Don't water your sidewalk or driveway - instead sweep them clean
- Don't overwater your lawn or plants. Water before 9:00 AM or after 7:00 PM.