From time to time, we recommend a Book of the Month for those readers looking for a solid book suggestion. This “month,” I’m recommending Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson.
Whether you are concerned about social justice and global crises or not, this is an important book. It covers a variety of issues, from sweatshops to fair trade coffee to national debt to our disposable lifestyles. Many Christians are already up in arms about issues like these; others are skeptical of some alarmist voices that seem to be skewing the reality of these things.
What Everyday Justice does so well is present each issue with informed research and a fair tone. Clawson is not alarmist, and goes out of her way to explain that no one can take meaningful action on every issue instantly. Her emphasis is on understanding the crises, and then taking small, attainable steps in the right direction.
For example, Clawson explains that the majority of the world’s chocolate is produced by child slaves in West Africa. She explains how this works, and argues that while none of us is pro-slavery, our chocolate consumption habits support this horrifying reality. Just about every major chocolate seller uses cocoa obtained by child slaves, so unless we are actively patronizing only those venders that use ethically produced chocolate, we are perpetuating the enslavement of children.
Clawson explains that this will take sacrificial action on our part. Ethical chocolate cannot be produced or sold at the low price that slavery makes possible, so we will have to pay more for our chocolate. Or we will have to sacrifice by staying away from chocolate. Everyday Justice explains this complex situation and gives simple action points that we can follow to do something about it. We can’t change everything at once, but if we’re not doing something, we remain complicit in these unjust world systems.
Few readers will find every issue as significant as Clawson does, nor will everyone want to follow all of her action points. But Everyday Justice offers an excellent overview of some very important issues that face us today, and gives us simple and practical steps for doing our part.
It’s not a comfortable read by any means, but it will leave you better informed to take meaningful action.
If you’d like to buy the book, here’s a quick link: