Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sometimes I feel very selfish! I worry about my reduced pay while I'm on holiday throughout January, I worry about having to move to Canberra, I worry about finding a job and somewhere to live there. But what I should be worrying about is the fact that malnutrition rates in children under 5 has almost doubled in Iraq since the Americans came barging in. I should be worrying about the fact that almost half of the organisms that currently exist may be extinct by 2100. I should be worrying about the fact that I need to take my shoes and socks off to count the number of homeless and destitute people in one street in Fitzroy. I should be worrying about greenhouse gases and global warming and world poverty and hunger.

What right do I have to worry only for my own sake? It was chance, luck, pure random life, that put me into a reasonably well-off family in a western country. By being born here, by taking certain things for granted, by consuming and by self-absorption, I have contributed to all of the above. I have bought petrol, and used it, spewing poisonous gases into the atmosphere. I have bought clothing and other goods made in countries known for child labour. I have put round-up on my garden, and if my mother knew that she'd have a fit.

But what can I do? How can one person fix all the world's problems? People, religions, and charities have all been trying for years. We applaud their efforts and call them saints, or set up charitable funds named after them, or occasionally donate some money to their cause. But children are still starving, people are still being exploited, countries still go to war and kill each other's citizens for no particular reason.

I think if I ever get the chance, I might go to a third world or developing nation. My Australian money would be worth a considerable amount there, and merely by living in a village I may be able to help the people there. Imagine one person in a village being able to afford to set up a productive business, and being generous enough to make it some kind of cooperative? Get everybody involved, or at least ensure a decent distribution of wealth or goods. How? How? When, and where? Is it an impossible dream?

I'm such a socialist.


Keshi said...

very noble of ya to even think of doing that Stace...u should go to Sri Lanka or India...there's so much poverty and some kids dun even get their brekky everyday..


homo escapeons said...

Socialism has been tainted by the Historians and Mediarazzi. Symbioticism is what you mean and it's the most Humane of endeavours.

The thing that makes us different is this altruistic notion that we should share. There are examples of animals giving their lives for the benefit of the group but they aren't aware of their mortality..as far as we can discern anyway.

There are a lot of Organizations that would love to have you. Our species is at a crossroads but the number of weapons available to the dysfunctional assholes who want to rule their village, city, territory, country, region and planet has made our progress almost impossible.

Get rid of the Guns and we might have a chance...since that is impossible we need to get rid of the assholes...one by one or in groups of fifty. Unfortunately the collective 'We' need to start doing a little selection of our own now. Mother Nature gave up on us long ago.

If SHE ever does decide to try and fix us, she might just decide to wipe the slate clean and start over.

Stace said...

Keshi - I dunno about noble, girl! Sri Lanka would be cool. Come along with me and translate :)

HE - the organizations all want staff with experience and qualifications, which I don't have. I have already looked at quite a few... nobody seems to want somebody who just wants to help! hehe fussy buggers ;)

Within Without said...

I didn't know almost half the world's orgasms may be extinct by 2100!

Stace, you're right, of course...and I'd describe myself as a socialist too. At least certainly more than anything else, most of the time.

There are so many places to go to that could use your help. But you can only do so much. As crass as it sounds, you DO have to look after No. 1.

But I think intention and empathy are two great things to have. If they can be followed by action, that's spectacular.

Stace said...

WW - only half the currently existing organisms. Evolution is still happening, so dying creatures will be replaced to some extent by new ones. But there will certainly be fewer species around.

Cazzie!!! said...

I know Stace.... I think this every time I go shopping, the things we buy, we do not buy too much, just enough but the money does not go far. Even if I buy things on special, the bill is high. Sadly, the bill is high because we buy HEALTHY foods..things we have always had, just cost MORE now. Cereal, bread, milk fresh fruit and veg not to mention meat.
I also think of people in other countries and if , indeed, we did live in another country how much more well off we would be.
It does my head in.
Yet...there is something I am proud to say I have..and that is health, my kids and my cousins kids are so damned sickeningly healthy I am proud :) You cannot buy health..that's for sure

Menchie said...

If more people felt like you did, then the world is already a better place. I believe that one person can make a difference. Speaking as someone who lives in a third world country and who sees the poverty every day, well, it is frustrating.

And those organizations...I would've thought that willingness to help would be a priority for them.

Anonymous said...

The way i see it, your good luck shouldn't go to waste - you should enjoy it. Don't abuse it, mind you - do what you can for all these things, but don't get hung up over them. Moving house, losing pay, blah blah blah all sound trivial when you're destitute, but it's necessary to worry about them in order that you stay lucky, and don't end up on the street yourself.

Also, what is it with endangered species?? Okay, if we're hunting them to death or building on the only place they can live, that's a little mean. But i remember seeing a news item about some woman trying to rescue mudfrogs that only exist along one stretch of coastline. The beach was vanishing due to entirely natural erosion, nothing to do with man's interference. So what if the frogs die out due to nature's cruel but firm ways? That's how the world works. No one mourns the dinosaurs...

Stace said...

All things in moderation.

Fathorse, I'm not saying that anybody should completely forget about themselves. As Within Without said, you do still have to look after number 1. But there's no particular reason we shouldn't share our good fortune with those less fortunate.

As for the extinction thing, naturally species die out without our help all the time. But many more die out as a direct result of our activities. It's not just hunting or building on their habitats, but also things like emitting pollution into their environment and introducing predators they wouldn't normally come up against. We've evolved big brains, opposable thumbs, the powers of organisation and speech. We can't just sit back and believe we're better than other animals, but we do have the power to assist them. Don't forget we are also classified as animals. We're not aliens, we can't hold ourselves apart from the natural world and say it's not our problem anymore.

...the Holocene extinction event. 70% of biologists view the present era as part of a mass extinction event, possibly one of the fastest ever, according to a 1998 survey by the American Museum of Natural History. Some, such as E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, predict that man's destruction of the biosphere could cause the extinction of one-half of all species in the next 100 years.

Keshi said...

wud luv to!