Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Small Change for Global Poverty
This evening my daughter Belle sat down to a meal of spaghetti, acorn squash, and tofu all dressed in a warm, sticky, orange/ sesame glaze. I planned my dinner as I was driving home. I was focused on creating something fast, kid-friendly, protein-rich, tasty, filling, and fun. Never once did I ever wonder if there would be anything to eat in my house. For me, food is a given. I have the luxury of being choosy about the things I eat and the things I refuse to eat.
While I cherish the fact that Belle has never gone hungry a single day in her life, I always keep in mind the 850 million people who go hungry every day and that 25,000 people die everyday of poverty and poverty related causes. Facts like these purport the impossibility of having any affect on the problem. But, even small change can affect the problem. It is not naïve to think small change throughout the globe can make large change.
How have I started to make my SMALL change happen?
Donate money: money can make the world go around. Even if you feel you have very little, you might have some money you could set aside for those poorer than you. I have started thinking about some of my food desires (say new Japanese egg molds) and then tallying the costs in my ledger. Turning down these small desires over a year, I have created a nice-sized donation from my discretionary income to give to charity. (Though do your homework—charities should spend most, if not all, of your donation on fighting poverty not on themselves.)
Donate from your pantries: If you have a well-stocked pantry, you are in the minority of the global population. And, with this economic downturn, I would guess that there are people in your local community who are hungry. Take stuff out of your pantry and donate to the food bank.
Buy less and waste less: I am in a very small minority that can think about new Japanese egg molds instead of focusing on clean water and food. Be less of a consumer. For example, I don't buy rutabagas that I know I won't use. Sure this small change won't directly stop world hunger, but think of this. If I bought that rutabaga, then the economy would think that there was the desire for that rutabaga, so farmers would expend energy (and carbon) to produce those rutabagas (bad for the environment). Global warming changes world environments, exacerbates droughts, increasing poverty.
Vote: Your elected officials work for you (supposedly). Make them earn their dollars; tell them how you feel. If they don't share your opinions about poverty (globally and locally), don't vote for them again.
Talk to your children: Belle is but a toddler, but I have begun to talk to her about why she shouldn't waste her food. I want to raise a compassionate child who appreciates what she has.
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