Thirty years, one billion lives

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Poverty, an existence unique only to our species on this planet, is one of mankind’s greatest challenges effecting nearly 1 billon people, according to the World Bank. One billion people, nearly one-sixth of humanity, lives in a state of utter desperation regardless of our species’ remarkable progress over the past century. Can we as a global society turn the tables? Can we eradicate poverty given 30 years? The answer is a skeptical yes. The reality is that for such a monumental task to be accomplished, humanity would need to make serious changes to allow for such a transformation to occur. First and foremost, we all need to accept a global definition for poverty. What is poverty to you and me? For some, poverty may be simply be purchasing store brand food and lacking the name brand clothes of our peers. For others, poverty may be the daily struggle to search for food, grain or shelter. Poverty is nothing more than a term created by the fortunate and lived out by those stuck within its grasp. To make our global fight against poverty a success, we need to put a true face on poverty. Poverty is the inability to provide basic substance for ones-self, and it is not limited to the third world. Redefining “poverty” leads directly into the next step: making poverty relevant to each individual. For many of us in the “first world” poverty is a distance problem, something limited to Africa and Asia. As a result of this detachment, a fundamental rift has occurred in our ability to relate and understand the true nature of poverty. For many of us, it takes a natural disaster to even notice the utter despair people live in, such as the recent earthquakes in Haiti. And yet for many of us, our new found empathy comes from a Red Cross comme... ... middle of paper ... ...n of man, in essence looking back to a time where all humans were on an equal playing field. What has changed? How have we come from our quite humble beginnings to a world of disproportionate lives? Poverty is a side effect of the lack of emotional connection we have with one another; to put it bluntly, if you do not live in poverty, do you really care about poverty? It is easy enough to throw money at a problem, to send a text message to the Red Cross and make a five dollar donation to help the poor of Haiti rebuild. It is easy to write a check to UNICEF, because a 20 second commercial made you think about something devoid of your television sitcom. However, the biggest leap that we, as a global society, must take in order to defeat poverty in 30 years, is to throw our boundless empathy out the window and seriously consider the problem at hand and how to solve it.

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