DO THE MATH – Part 1


Somos fieldSo, we are past 7 billion people on the planet. Wow!  Who would have guessed that when I was born in 1952 there was “only” 2.6 billion.  Although we haven’t really tapped the potential to create a sustainable global future, it does exist in potential. With the planet experiencing a variety of crisis, I suppose we should become proactive in figuring out how to sustain our home. There is a recent UN report saying organic small-scale agriculture is the key to a sustainable food supply.  Who would have thought?

Unfortunately, in 2014, 1.2 billion of our global neighbours live in extreme poverty, meaning living on less than $1.25 USD per day. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children annually, accounting for 45% of all deaths among children under the age of five.  By 2025 we will surpass 8 billion and by 2050, 9.5 billion. What’s a planet to do?

For the fortunate few, 1,645 people made the 2014 billionaire list, with a combined wealth of $6.4 trillion USD. Another Wow!  Just to put that in perspective, in 2012 the GNP of Canada was 1.5 trillion.  Hmmm….  Perhaps that is why many people hit the streets to protest the increasing gap of the wealthy and poor? Distribution of wealth has been a historical hot topic and it hasn’t gone away.

Not sure if there can be a big enough non-violent protest to pressure the very wealthy to share their good and large fortune.  I look at it this way – 1.2 billion in poverty today, that leaves more that 5 billion gettin’ by.  Take half that number, and have them “adopt” a neighbor living in poverty somewhere.  Not just with cash, but by leveraging their first world privileges, like access to technology, knowledge, ability to travel, etc., etc.  With this attention to the invisible masses, the challenge of poverty is taken out of the hand of well-meaning, cumbersome institutions that have not solved the poverty problem in 50 years. Naïve? Perhaps, but even a partial success would have a big impact.

I am the first one to admit that I lean toward optimism, and some days I would say that I am a gullible optimist.  Honestly, I prefer that description and state of mind to a hopeless pessimist.  We certainly have enough human intelligence and resources to figure out the current global crisis, but somehow those that hold the reigns of power have to be convinced it is in their best interest and the best interest of those behind them.  That is the real challenge!

I am interested to hear your views on this….

-Greg Kemp


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