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Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

2008 October 15

Although today’s Wednesday, this is Thursday’s post. (Is it Thursday yet anywhere in the world?) That’s because today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s common blogging subject is poverty. For those of you who don’t know about Blog Action Day, you can learn more here: http://site.blogactionday.org/

The link also offers 88 suggestions from bloggers on how to do something right now about poverty. I’ve added the list on the “continue reading” link at the end of my own post.

What is poverty? Let’s define poverty as the lack of wealth. So let’s define wealth. Wealth is assets minus liabilities. Assets are things like cash, cash deposits, money investments, property, land, and so on that can be used to pay off liabilities. Liabilities are debts, money owed; and obligation to pay which may have to be paid by assets. This is the money cycle. Poverty is often taken as relative as well as absolute. So the money cycle can be an upward or a downward spiral. If it’s downward for you, you get poorer. If it’s upward for me, I get richer.

One man’s wealth means another man’s poverty. Does it have to be this way? Well, were that it were that simple. In fact the distribution of wealth has been said to follow something called a Pareto distribution. The picture below, from the Wikipedia, shows the shape of this kind of distribution.

Wikipedia.

Image showing Pareto distributions. Source: Wikipedia.

If you remember your high school graphs, the X-axis goes left to right. The Y-axis goes bottom to top. Imagine decreasing wealth going left to right on the X-axis. Now imagine a decreasing number of people going top to bottom on the Y-axis. Then what you see is that few people have most of the wealth. And most people have least of the wealth – more people live in poverty than in wealth.

So a few men’s wealth means many men’s poverty. (Including women and children in “men”, here.) But is “poverty” just about money and assets?

To finish off, here’s a thought. If a few men’s wealth means many men’s poverty (and women and children), which is the more true for you:-

a) The many poor are undeserving, or
b) Those of the few more wealthy that think the poor are undeserving are themselves undeserving, or
c) Neither, or
d) I don’t care?

Which are you: one of the few more wealthy or the many more poor?

“…All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars.”
Martin Luther King.

“Wealth elements have poverty elements.”
Thich Nhat Hanh.

88 Ways to Take Action Against Poverty Right Now

1. Eat meatless meals 2x a week. Donate that grocery money to a local food bank. – TarotByArwen
2. Be homeless for a day/night. – Lex
3. Stop putting off adopting a child through an organization like Compassion International (or adopt another one). – Lex
4. Make a loan on Kiva, or buy a couple gift certificates and give them away to friends. – Lex
5. Get a group together to go door-to-door collecting canned foods for your local soup kitchen/shelter. – Lex
6. Take a homeless person to dinner and actually sit/talk with him. – Lex
7. Stop being lazy. Find a way to do your job better so that you can save an hour a day, or be that much more productive. – Alex Shalman
8. Stop buying junk to make yourself look pretty and donate it to homeless people and hungry people. – Craigsnede
9. Make flyers to stick in the local library. – Craigsnede
10. If you have a musical instrument you no longer use, donate to the still-struggling musicians and students in New Orleans, who are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. A few great organizations that will accepts musical instruments are Tipitina’s Foundation (www.tipitinasfoundation.org) and The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund (www.nomrf.org/donations.html).
11. I’m interviewing a Capuchin monk vowed to Poverty about his work with Detroit’s poor for my blog, and I’m trying to arrange a fund raiser with my author and PIVTR radio station friends.
12. Find a gripping picture or video having to do with poverty and publish it on the Web.
13. Stop drinking Coke and bottled water for a day and save on plastic. Will save a lot of plastic if each of us does it for only one day.
14. Share your skill or knowledge, so they can improve their knowledge to increase their life/prosperity.
15. Visit an orphanage.
16. Stop being lazy.
17. Give comfort to the poor.
18. Donate.
19. Check your closet and make sure that anything you have not used last winter is taken to a charitable organization. Ask your friends and neighbors and volunteer to pick up the clothes, launder them and deliver them to those organizations. They will do no good in your closet and a world of good to someone in need.
20. On one day only eat food that you have asked someone for directly or for the money you need to buy it. Pay attention to the feelings.
21. Have a “sponsor me” day. Donate money to a poverty relief cause for everyone who leaves a comment on your blog that day.
22. Designers for Blog Action Day group on Flickr. Submit your designs: http://www.flickr.com/groups/bad2008design/
23. Organize a Hunger 101 Program for a local youth group. Our Girl Scout community learned about what they could do to help the working poor in our community. http://spedr.com/da5f This inspired them to organize several Take Action events: http://spedr.com/krfw
24. Add the “Women Rock” badge to your website or Facebook page.
25. if any of us knew or aware about any organisation which can help educate them, like, skills centre, entrepeneurship centre..u know, stuffs they do to help these pople actually do something to improve their life, we might try to collect name carsd from these organisations (NGOs or ministries), and walk around and passed these cards to them, with of couse, maybe some donations of any supplies.
26. Skip a weekly trip to the grocery store and donate the money saved to a food bank. I do this once a year for my family of 5. For that week we only eat what is left in the pantry or fridge. By the end of the week, pickings are slim and we get a sense of what it feels like to not have the luxury of tasty, well balanced meals every night.
27. Make a personal fundraising page in 5 minutes on Firstgiving.com. Raise money securely online for any US-based nonprofit committed to ending poverty in the US or around the world. Here’s an example page: http://www.firstgiving.com/bapbwm.
28. Have dinner on the floor and make it a very small meal (like chicken broth, watered down milk, and maybe a small piece of bread?) Talk about the blessings you have and that the meal represents those who don’t get to eat “big” on a daily basis.
29. Volunteer at a soup kitchen!
30. Play freerice.com!
31. If you have take out coffee, skip it for an entire week, donate the savings!
32. Give 5 bucks to a homeless person who looks hungry!
33. Talk with your children about poverty and who it affects.
34. Save your old stuff and sold it for charity
35. Support charity organization in your country. Reducing poverty may start in your nearest region.
36. Do something to touch 3 people or to reach out to 3 people and get them to pay it forward.
37. Give a gallon of water to each of 3 people who need it?
38. Give a $10 gift certificate to each of 3 homeless, single mothers so that she and her children can have one hot meal at a fast food restaurant?
39. Ask 3 entrepreneurs to each make a donation to 3 people or causes?
40. Holding perhaps daily or weekly community classes for imparting knowledge from our side and educating the local masses is something we all can do by coming together at grass root level.
41. Avoiding overconsumption.
42. Contributing to relief funds which can assist this cause.
43. Host a 1 day famine and collect donations. With the donations, pass it to a Welfare/Poverty Organisation.
44. Plan a pot luck/BBQ or a get together inviting close friends and neighbours, to bring awareness and also to raise funds for a shelter home. Funds can be used to purchase the necessary groceries for the home.
45. Pray for the comfort and safety of the world’s poor. Pray for the strength, wisdom and courage to help each of them find prosperity.
46. Combat corruption!
47. Don’t just talk to your kids about poverty – get them involved by having them go through their toys and clothes to find concrete things to pass along. The next time they want you to buy something for them – talk about what that money could buy for someone who had no food… then follow through and donate the money you didn’t spend.
48. Donate your time and expertise to teach a class to those trying to find a new way to earn a living.
49. To add to the previous suggestions, rather than just donate money to homeless people, why not use the money you would use on yourself for a coffee to buy one for someone else. If you get coupons for free beverages or meals, keep them with you and give them to someone in need.
50. As you find organizations to which you like to donate food, clothing, etc., spend some time volunteering for that organization. Contribute to the organizations you are already supporting in other ways.
51. Educate others. If you are a teacher, talk to your students about poverty. Get their opinions. Inspire them. If you work in other areas, strike up a conversation with your colleagues in the lunchroom or lounge. Get educated so you can answer questions and provide information that might spur others into action.
52. Visit The Hunger Site every day and click the link to feed the hungry. It’s fast and it’s free and there’s absolutely NO excuse not to do it every day you’re online!
53. Be compassionate.
54. Invite friends to watch documentaries how poverty destroyed ones life,family and their future.
55. Do not waste water on that day.
56. Express your love and compassion for one street child by having an enrollment conversation with her.
57. Ask your child to share her food with the child of your maid on that day.
58. Make a list of five items you haven’t used for long and have no plans to use them in future either. And distribute them among local poors with all humility.
59. Compose a poem on the theme ‘Making Poverty A History’ and get it published in a local magazine or paper. Also, ask your baby to recite the poem in her school.
60. Talk to your five relatives about the poverty issue and invite them to come up with their suggestions to eradicate poverty.
61. Organize a drawing competition for kids on the poverty theme and exhibit their works in a local school or community centre.
62. Do not overeat on that day.
63. Save electricity on that day and contribute the equivalent savings to a local charity.
64. Contribute your one day salary to a child rehabilitation centre.
65. Get a few friends, gather all your unused items, sell it and buy something a meal for the poor in your neighborhood.
66. Si tan solo los gobiernos hicieran mucho mas por este flagelo, la pobreza se reduciría en un 70% por no decir 100%. Observo como a algunos gobiernos que han prometido en sus campañas electorales que acabarían con este mal, luego de llegar al poder y por motivo del oro negro les entran grandes cantidades de dinero, ¿y que es lo que han hecho con el, en vez de ayudar al pais? Financiar con ese dinero (que se supone es del pueblo), proyectos políticos solo para sus intereses personales… da tanta tristeza ver cuanta gente tirada por la calle, sin tener que comer, o donde dormir, mientras estos señores se gastan el dinero de tantos ciudadanos, comprando poder para satisfacer su ego.
67. Travel to a poor country or area. Look for ways to make a difference on the ground there.
68. On your next off day from work, go to a homeless shealter and help serve food to those who are there, talk with them, listen to their stories, you will find that they were at one time, alot like yourself.
69. Let’s learn to love and respect one another, and to give to those who have less.
70. Pictures. It’s one thing to say that the milk my son spilled at lunch this afternoon was more than some kids get. But some people don’t see how real that is unless they’re looking at a picture.So, I’m looking for them.
71. Talk about poverty.
72. To most Americans, it’s not real unless we see it. I’m going to be revamping my blog so that poverty is prominent, and I’m talking about it more often.
73. Don’t stop at the generalities. War, famine, corruption, etc. all happen, and should be resisted. However, let’s dig deeper and go into the specifics. Not just talking about thousands of people dying of thirst … let’s talk about a real person.
74. Pull out the hearts of the readers, and make them confront what they know is right and wrong.
75. Instead of video games and other toys, give your neighbors and friends gift certificates for classical music lessons. For every $1 spent on music education, by my calculations, you get a $4.57 return on your investment from age 4-22 and that investment can never be taken away from you. Throughout one’s lifetime it pays much, much more. Take the money you save and give it in music lessons to the next person.
76. Go to your school board meetings and demand better music education. The arts are part of the core curriculum of “No Child Left Behind” and as I’ve been telling people for a few months now, the less we have to pay for health care and crime, the more we have to spend on food and shelter and doing good for our neighbors.
77. The more intelligent we are and the more productive we are, the more fruitfully we can spend our time, and the more we can produce to give away.
78. The reason why poverty still exist in Indonesia is because people is giving cash money to the poor at the streets and those money usually being used for things that usually destructive/not good (buying drugs, etc.) In order to stop poverty, the government already got their program to fight it but it didn’t go successfully for people still think that they are better off at the streets and there’s this what-so-called ‘mafia’ that organize these poor people at the streets.
79. In order to fight this, the people started to give food/meal/clothes to the poor instead of cash money so it would stop the process.
80. I think in order to stop poverty is to give what the people really need, not just giving it away for the sake of ‘being kind’ 😉

81. Fund educational programs for women.
82. Ensure that women have legal protections.
83. Educate people about the plight of women around the world.
84. Educate yourself on one aspect of poverty that affects women, whether it’s educating yourself on what’s going on with rape or abortion legislation in your own local area, or finding out what you can do to help women in other countries attain the basic human rights they deserve, by doing research on organisations that help women and contributing to those organisations in some way.
85. Do a campaign of creative advertisements for public awareness and a call to action. Do a poster, do an ambient campaign, write a radio or TV spot.
86. Breadline Africa is launching a Blogger Bake Off to help raise awareness and funds. If you want to do something on Blog Action Day, you should turn your talking (which is very worthwhile) into action: donate to a charity. Organisations that use funds directly in poor communities will be using your money where it can do the most good: at the grass roots level.
87. Educate yourself.
88. Prepare a space in your home for the poor to stay as needed.

Well, what are you waiting for? Pick something from this list. Go NOW. Do it.

Do it.

And the world will be richer in mind and body.

Sources

To Do List: http://site.blogactionday.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_distribution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_distribution

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3 comments

  1. […] – Poverty 15 Oct 2008 | 05:34 am | Category: Uncategorized       jeffrey_hirsch wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptOur Girl Scout community learned […]


  2. i play freerice daily. 🙂 i also posted the banners of freerice, kiva and goodsearch on my blog. just learned about the hunger site, but will do that as well.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. 🙂


  3. Hi, Kouji Haiku,

    Thank you for your kind comment. The Hunger Site also has tabs for other causes.



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