The 2nd annual Blog Action Day has arrived. I didn’t actually participate in the first one since the topic to cover was Global Warming and I’m not exactly convinced of the imminent threat we are to believe we pose to the ecological cycle of this large planet. Call me a cynic if you must.
Almost 11,000 blogs worldwide are participating this year with a combined readership of just less than 12,000,000. Since I signed up for the event I figured I would at least give a couple of words on the topic covered this year: Poverty.
No matter where you sit or the situation you find yourself in, if you are reading this note than you should feel lucky, you are affluent.
Over 3 billion people in the world live on less than $2.50/day. That’s half of the entire world that falls below the poverty line. Again, think about your situation. Hurts a little less that you weren’t able to grab your morning Starbucks due to a little economic downturn, eh?
As a person who helps others market their goods and services for a living, I strive to help my clients put their best foot forward and to get what they are selling into your hands. I can achieve this task by any number of means. I can make you feel bad about what you already have and talk you into needing a replacement; I can make sure that my product hits first in your search; through repetition and placement I can force my product to the forefront in your mind when the time is right or I can even create a buzz around my product so that you feel like you need to be a part of the next big thing. And none of the above even mention the ability to bring the competition or their product down in the eyes of the consumer just to raise my clients’ up.
It is my job to get you to consume. Whether it be durable goods, services or content. I need you to want more. And the fact of the matter is, even in the uneven times of banks folding and the stock market rolling like a coaster, you will buy. Because you are affluent.
And so am I. The fact that I can feed my family and have clean drinking water set me above so many others in the world. Not to mention a solid roof over my head, two cars, 3 laptops, 1 computer, 3 TVs, HD service, 2 cellphones, and the list could go on and on.
Why is it then that there are times when I feel like I’m the one who is underprivileged?
Most likely because there are others who do what I do that are better at it and/or are on a larger scale and I fall into their plan. It really is a never ending cycle. But numbers like the world poverty stat above should bring us all back to reality.
What can be done about poverty? There are literally thousands of churches and organizations set up to answer/solve that question around the world. From ‘Food for the Poor’ to your local ministry, you should be able to find a place to plug in. Fact is, poverty is all around. It’s in our own neighborhoods. I don’t have to go to Africa/Asia to see people in desperate need. Katrina ring a bell?
So, take action. We are fortunate enough to be spiritually, physically, emotionally and financially invested in a spot that we can give and know that our money is going to help those in need. But I’m positive we could do more.
Starting in January 2009 (figured it be a good place to start), my business will begin its partnership with Kiva. Kiva is a ‘person-to-person micro-lending website’ that allows me to search and find entrepreneurs in low income areas who need a little help getting their business off the ground. 100% of the money I loan to Kiva goes to the entrepreneur(s) I choose so that they can attempt to create a better lifestyle for themselves and those around them. My family has been blessed by the opportunities given us over the past few years of starting a business and I feel like this is a way we could be a blessing to others. Since Kiva is a loan service, the recipients are on the hook to pay back what I have given but I then have the opportunity to re-lend, donate to Kiva or pull my money out. I receive no interest on my loans made, and that’s OK. I’m not interested in partnering with Kiva to make money.
Will Kiva end poverty? Probably not. Is it a step in the right direction? I think so. Are there other fantastic options to look into to help out? Yep, and I bet that we will continue to search for ones that jive with our values and ideals. But for now we’ll try Kiva.
As a participant in Blog Action Day, I’d encourage you to get involved. Maybe it isn’t your responsibility to take care of the rest of the world but it sure does make you feel better when you help out. And I guarantee that even if you don’t feel all that much better, someone else will because of the help you provided.
As an affluent American citizen, I’d encourage you to get involved. Not just on October 15th, but the other 364 days a year as well. Whether it be a cause of fighting poverty, addiction, clean drinking water or yes even conservationism/environmentalism; do something. It has been proven time and time again that good works and deeds along with kind words can go a long way.
Find a cause you can get behind and start pushing.