‘What do you think our generation will be remembered for?’ a friend said at dinner.
‘The generation who ruined the planet for everyone.’ I replied without a thought.
‘I was thinking more about what architecture style or something… but….’
Oops. Yep – I’m great at small talk.
Did I really believe it, those words that came out of my mouth? I thought I was optimistic about our future. I thought I believed we were really going to change things. I think for the most part I do, it’s just the small cynic inside of me that doubts. And when I see the lifestyles people around me, and the lifestyle I myself live, I do start to wonder if this actually can change.
I spent $70 on a lunch yesterday. On ONE LUNCH FOR ONE PERSON. No one else on the table blinked. Do you know how many people that could feed for a week? Well if a third of the world are living on less than a dollar a day, that could finance not one meal, but A DAY’S WORTH OF FOOD, WATER, SHELTER, MEDICINE etc FOR SEVENTY PEOPLE. It was a nice lunch, but does that justify it?
All money is connected to poverty. We buy raw materials from the developing world for pittance, and process and trade it (or trade paper that represents it) to make millions. Whether we earn our money through accounting, banking, stock markets, blah blah blah – the money is dirty because the core elements of all our products are produced through the economic slavery of people in developing countries. In order to address this issue, the system needs to change, and the system will change with the people benefiting from the system (ie people like me) want the system to change, and are happy to forgo our luxurious lifestyles and earn money that has the same buying power as the money earned by cocoa bean pickers and cotton producers.
But in a world where people spend $20,000+ on ONE PARTY (my sister is getting married), $100,000+ on ONE CAR (believe it or not, my Dad), or $70 on ONE LUNCH (me) – and where such consumption habits are the cause of poverty and the destruction of our environment – I have to wonder: CAN WE REALLY CHANGE?
I took this in Lima – those colourful houses in the distance are a slum where thousands of people live in extreme poverty.