The topic this year is POVERTY.
Yesterday I wrote rather flippantly about wanting an iPod and going oh, look at me, I’m a 20-something in Australia with no responsibilities and a highly disposable income. And that was just after I’d read a news story about how millions of people are at risk of dying of starvation in Zimbabwe.
When I did my Arts Honours thesis, I spent a year with my head stuck in textbooks on “international development” (as in from the Millennium Development Goals) and talking to people who were trying to “fix” poverty. At some points it all got a little disenchanting — particularly when I realised that the concept of “development” was invented/thought up after World War II, as in sixty years ago, and we’re still trying to “fix” it.
It’s a big issue. There’s no denying that. And yeah, sometimes it seems like there’s too much to do, and that no matter how many concerts Bono organises, or how much coffee Colin Firth drenches himself in (hello), nothing much is going to change anything.
I’ve been a UNICEF Global Parent for several years, donating money to that program every month even when I was a student. When I have to give people gifts, I get them chickens or seeds or goats or small business grants from Oxfam Unwrapped (my friends get a card; people who could do with a goat get a goat). I try to only buy coffee from cafés that use fair trade beans and I try to only buy fair trade tea and chocolate, too (sometimes, but, I really feel like a Snickers; I do then try to offset that somehow…).
I also joined the Make Poverty History campaign, and when they send me emails about lobbying projects that asks me to take 2 minutes to click through and sign a petition the government about the travesty of the maternal and child mortality in developing countries, I do it. Oh, and I am hosting The World’s Largest Fondue Party (or at least, a part of it) at my place in November (SAVE THE DATE!!), which is part of the Stop The Traffick campaign to end child trafficking labour in the manufacture of our chocolate.
Yes, I know those are only little things.
Like the way I also take all my recyclables home from the office because our building doesn’t do recycling, some people might think I am an idiot because just little me doing those little things probably isn’t going to make a big impact. But you know what? I don’t care what people think about the things I do.
I have a choice. I have a choice between:
- doing those little things that might-possibly–maybe have some positive impact (no matter how small) but don’t require me to go very far out of my way at all; or
- not doing anything at all because, psh, that’s what most people are doing anyway, even if that will totally-definitely not have any impact,
My choice is, CLRLY, the first one.
And if people want to think I’m a little odd for my choice, all I want them to know is that I don’t give a shit about what they think.
And until I have time to set up a Kiva fund, or the guts to quit my job and go work somewhere like Cambodia like Laine, or the inspiration to set up a program for indigenous people in the Kimberly like Dan, I will keep doing those little things. Actually, I’ll keep doing those little things even when (that’s right, not if, when) I get around to taking the bigger steps.
There’s a list on the Blog Action Day site about the Things One Person Can Do, but if you can’t be bothered to read that, they’ve got a video too.
Watch it, yo:
I hope this post encourages people to think about the little things they can do that will be part of a bigger effort to deal with the issue of world poverty.
Look, I know that with all these talks about recession and credit crunches a lot of people have issues to deal with that are even closer to home. But that’s exactly why, right now, it is just as important to talk about poverty which has been affecting entire countries, heck continents, for decades and decades. Think about it. I guess that’s all I’m asking for. If you want to take it any further, and kinda maybe talk to me about it, my email is sunilisblog via that google internet communication thing.