Friday, March 26, 2010


After another lengthy bike ride this afternoon, I still don't know what to do with this funk.I don't want to be angry, especially since my anger will be misdirected. That's half the problem--I don't know who to be angry with. Here's the deal:

We now have 3D televisions. Cool. Also, nearly one billion people in this world still don't have access to clean water. Today. In 2010.

One Billion People.

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About ItIt's not your fault any more than it's my fault, but (to quote someone smarter than me) it's all of our problems. Why?
Because, "A cesspool of misery next to a world of growing prosperity is both terrible for those in the cesspool and dangerous for those who live next to it" (Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion).
Because, "In this age of blurring borders and interdependence, human suffering anywhere poses risks to stability everywhere" (Climate Change & Global Poverty).
 If these reasons seem selfish, it's because they are. Helping others is helping ourselves because a developed world would mean less health problems worldwide, more available trade markets, better educated citizens, happier citizens...the list goes on. Global development is only as complete as our least developed regions.

Besides our own benefits, though, we should help others because it was just under 250 years ago that we, America, were a developing country. Now, we've traveled to the moon and can surf the web while talking on the phone. M&M's come in every color imaginable. Shouldn't we be able to make sure people have access to clean water? We've been blessed, so shouldn't we be a blessing to others?

It's not hard to convince people to help others--we all want a better world for everyone. The hard part is knowing what to do. America has money, yes, but that's not enough. Aid to foreign countries, while able to do awesome things, can also be corrupted and mismanaged. Time, resources and technical assistance for development programs are greatly needed, but America seems to have less of these things. Many of our own issues need attention as well. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and give up trying.

I don't have answers or great ideas for this one daunting task (clean water is just one thing many people need, and it's only part of the greater problem of development). I don't know all the history, I don't know the politics, I don't know the mathematic and scientific details. Right now, all I can do is educate myself and inform others. Sure, parts I learn in class, but if I really care, I can keep searching for more information, looking for a way to help. I can shamelessly use my blog as a platform to make sure everyone I know has access to the information as well. And I can pray to a God bigger than all of this, a God who created the clean water everyone should have access to.

So please, check out the links. Even if you do nothing else, at least you'll know what's going on in our world and I'll know I've done something worthwhile on a Friday night.

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