Today is Blog Action Day, a day when tons of bloggers from around the world write about one single topic. The topic this year is poverty. Poverty is an easily preventable and curable epidemic that can be solved with just a bit of selflessness and compassion. This is my take on poverty, including a brief overview, some ways to help, and how veganism is the best and easiest way to make a dent. Make sure to check out the list of other participating blogs to see what they have to say.
According to Wikipedia, Poverty (also called penury) is deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens.
- Over a billion people are living in extreme poverty right now.. that is one in six people.
- Each year over 8 million people die because they are simply too poor to stay alive.
- More than 800 million people go hungry every day.
- The gross domestic product of the poorest 48 nations is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people.
- Thirty-thousand children die every day due to hunger and treatable illnesses.
- 6 million children die every year before their fifth birthday, as a result of malnutrition.
These people living in poverty are too poor to have a choice. However you and I have the luxury of accessible internet. The ability to choose what type of food we add to or omit from our diets. We have shoes, clothes, and many other everyday conveniences which we regularly take for granted. When we have anything we want right at our fingertips, what can we do with the choices we make everyday?
How You Can Help
- Donate to The Global Fund at Change.org courtesy of the amazing people who created blog action day.
- Start micro-lending with Kiva.
- Donate or volunteer with Unicef, Red Cross, or one.org
- Volunteer at your local shelter or soup kitchen.
- Volunteer for the Peace Corps and organizations like them, that help poverty hands on.
- Take a mission trip (Mission Year) to a third-world country to build homes, and plant food.
- Give all of the things (clothes, shoes, books, couches) you dont want or need to your local Salvation Army or Good Will.
- Spread the word. Start a blog, send an email, tell a friend. Make what you know about poverty known to the rest of the world.
- Start a clothing or food bank
- Sponsor a needy child through known organizations such as Compassion International and World Vision.
- Convince your employer to donate to a poverty-related cause. Have your own business? Donate a good chunk of your earnings. You can’t lose, Its tax deductable!
- Hold a charity benefit such as a dinner party, bbq, or other social event.
- Buy fair trade. By suporting fair trade companies, you are making sure that producers in a developing country are recieving a fair share for their product. This is a rare deal for them, when it should be a common practice
- How can you help end poverty everyday, all day long? GO VEGAN!
How Can A Vegan Diet Help End Poverty?
There is more than enough food being produced to feed everyone in the world and then some. The problem is, most of that food is being given to farmed animals to produce meat for consumption. The meat and dairy industry is also putting a huge strain on our water supply.
Did you know:
- It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of edible animal flesh. Making meat consumption a very inefficient use of grain.
- About 20 percent of the world’s population, or 1.4 billion people, could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone.
- Even fish on fish farms must be fed 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce one pound of farmed fish flesh.
- Because, the industrial world is exporting grain to developing countries and importing the meat that is produced with it, farmers who are trying to feed themselves are being driven off their land.
- If everyone on Earth received 25 percent of his or her calories from animal products, only 3.2 billion people could be nourished.
- It takes about 300 gallons of water per day to produce food for a vegan, and more than 4,000 gallons of water per day to produce food for a meat-eater.
- You save more water by not eating a pound of beef than you do by not showering for an entire year.
- Food for a vegan can be produced on only 1/6 of an acre of land, while it takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater.
“The American fast-food diet and the meat-eating habits of the wealthy around the world support a world food system that diverts food resources from the hungry.”
-Dr. Waldo Bello, executive director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy
The amount of perfectly good grains, soybeans, and water that is constantly being fed to animals for our meat habits, is grossly ineffecient! Even if you are not ready to take the vegan plunge, try limiting your meat and dairy consumption. Even eating meat only once or twice a week would make a huge difference in your health, the environment, animal welfare, and even the world hunger epidemic. Imagine doing that much with just your food choices!!!
All in all, I think it is our job as humans to take care of one another. Give thanks everyday for what you have that keeps you alive, happy and healthy. Forget the excess, and just give.