Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What do I think about poverty?

I find, in reality, that I don't think nearly enough about poverty or about who is affected by it or how one feels about being cold, hungry, thirsty, or homeless. I am not proud to say those words but the reality of being comfortable, well-fed and in a loving home coats me with a veneer of denial, dimming my vision towards those who do not have the same advantages that have come my way in life......accident of birthplace, parents, economic times, the benefit of education, strong body and mind, etc.

Then again, perhaps because of the those accidents of my being in this world, I do think about poverty a lot....when I throw away a mushy apple or brown banana, when I peel something and put the scraps down the garbage disposal, when I run the water too long while brushing my teeth, or flush every single time I near a toilet, when I find recyleable items have made it into the trash bin rather than in to the recyle bin, when I relegate an item to the rag bag after a few seasons of wearing. Yes, I think about poverty during those times and then in addition to prayers of thanksgiving, I offer prayers of intercession for those persons I may not know who find themselves in circumstances of which they had no hand in making. I think about the ONE campaign, about Episcopal Relief and Development and about St. Vincent DePaul's Catholic Charities and the myriad organizations that are mobilized to bring poverty to an end. I think about those volunteers who are making a difference in our world and I contribute to them and their organizations.

Someone reading my words might think I'm just an environmentalist rather than one who is supposed to be espousing words about poverty on this National Blogging Day re Poverty. But isn't the waste of our planet the issue that will drive all mankind to poverty and ultimately to madness and destruction? There are too many of us hoarding and misusing finite resources, along with NOT planning to change our habits or claim personal culpability for others' survival or lack thereof.

Am I one of those "too many of us" hoarding, etc." - are you? Do we want to change our habits for the safety of our world and neighbors' lives? Will we? When - sometime/ maybe/never?


  1. Excellent post. You're absolutely right, it's all interlinked.

  2. Poverty today is due to total mismanagement of our resources. This mismanagement is driven by greed. Well intentioned interventions, so far have not delivered the goods. We must find ways of giving the poor of the world, a way to earn their livelihood and dignity. Charity will only postpone the inevitable. Where the poor have been shown the way to change their lot, the improvements have been staggering. Take simple intervention like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.

  3. Tess - thank you - I'm not sure it was so "excellent" Feelings of sadness and helplessness are emotions that surface when speaking of poverty. In a land so blessed and rich (even in financial crisis) as the ones that you and I live in, it is a SIN that anyone in the entire world goes hungry or thirsty!

    RM - glad to see you and to read your comments about the world's interconnectedness - we can't wish it wasn't that away and ignore the plight of "others".....

  4. I am studying sustainable business development at the moment...and do you know that the biggest impact to the environment in the life cycle of clothing is actually home laundering!
    Also, those cotton t-shirts you love are more toxic than what you think! Going polyester is actually more sustainable.

    Ella and walked to all of our errands today and she told me that this reduces my footprint. I am so glad that she is so environmentally aware.

    I watched a great video today that interviewed young people. They said that they jobs that they will have probably don't even exist today - wild!

    In my heart I am a mindful sustainable citizen of this's just my actions haven't exactly caught up.

  5. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. The cotton t-shirts - email me about that, I'd like to know more.

    I think we launder clothes way too often!!

    And that part about kids and their future jobs, with E, H, A, M - no telling what the future holds for them. Even in their short lifetimes the world has changed tremendously, technologically as well as globally impacting our total civilization, political, emotional. I pray that my generation and yours will have the sense to save the world's environment before it's too late for so many species.

    I agree about the heart and the action. It is tough to curb our desire for more unneccessary things. I have been trying to look at our home environment differently in that what more could we possibly want or need AND as I speak, we're having a bay window put in your dad's office so he'll have more light and view - probably wouldn't be happening in 3rd world, huh?!