The seven billion people challenge
The United Nations have started a campaign called '7 Billion Actions', with the great tagline 'a world of 7 billion people poses many challenges – and countless opportunities to make a positive difference'.
This made me think that often our ability to act boils down to our attitude. Is our cup half full or half empty? When we hear stats like the fact that 1.4 billion people are living in poverty; that as many as ten million are affected by the famine in the Horn of Africa alone, will our globe cope with the growing amount of mouths to feed? Can we cope with more people and less land to live on? No one would be surprised if we were to see the glass half empty, in fact getting near empty at this point.
Yet there is a different story. Where faith communities work together against disease; where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are challenging the hold of poverty, the Global Poverty Project gives more positive stats.
Unlike what many people think, food is not running out. In fact there is enough food for each person to eat 2,700 calories per day. So what is causing the terrible and tragic poverty and hunger in the world? Corruption? Injustice?
Should we have a defeatist attitude to this? Well there are seven billion of us to make a change.
Things are already beginning to change. The work towards the MDGs is challenging but exciting.
I personally believe that giving up is just not an option. My faith teaches that everyone is equal.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3.4
Everyone of those seven billion people are to be looked upon equally. To not act, to turn away and say that we can do nothing is just not an option.
We may not be able to change poverty overnight, or even in our generation. But we will never change it if we don’t start now. Faith is about hope – it says that we should be the difference we wish to see. We should have hope in every small act we do to make a difference.
One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is when Jesus looked upon the crowd and “had compassion on them.” In the Greek, it actually says that his spleen was moved. He had a feeling deep in his gut, the deepest of all human emotions, that kind of feeling that is physical as much as intellectual. Jesus felt so deeply connected to these people, and he felt so deeply disturbed by their situation, that he had to do something.
I believe that we should be moved to anger and compassion for the injustice people in our world are facing. Not feel helpless but be moved to help because faith gives hope that we can make a difference. We have opportunities to make the change.