If you haven’t had a chance to watch the SpaceX Falcon 6 Heavy launch from February 6, you’d better check it out here: LIFT OFF! (and yes it is totally ok to fast forward to the smoke and flames!).
IIt was such an awe-inspiring clip that I re-watched it with our kids instead of reading them a book that night (big mistake - delayed bed-time by at least an hour). We were far from the only ones inspired by the launch as it was all over the news and the socials of course...a significant event for humankind perhaps. Later that night, it happened to launch me into thinking about some big questions...
What would our world look like if we pursued equity and justice with the same intensity, excitement, collaboration and investment that we dedicate to chasing new technology?
I totally agree that it is super cool, but does it make sense that we can spend seemingly endless dollars launching stuff (this tesla roadster pictured at right, for example) into space but still have people dying here on this planet because we can’t invest enough to address basic transport and supply logistics in the face of drought, conflict, and economic hardship? Year after year we have the capability to produce enough food to feed the entire planet yet each year we fall well short of meeting the basic survival needs of humanity. This past year, an estimated 36 million people died from starvation and undernourishment, roughly 1 person a second...
Watching the rocket launch, a seriously impressive technological feat, gave me confidence that we as a society are capable of solving some really complex problems...
So - if we can power increasingly fancy rockets into space - we can surely figure out a way to free our brothers and sisters from slavery, to lift them up to a level of sustainable thriving, right? I'm wondering out loud, what more we can do at the individual level, everything from being more selective with how, where, and why we make purchases to how we can support the social, spiritual, and yes even political organizations working to address the issues of global justice and equity in the proper context.
So what is the proper context? Poverty Cure one such organization that works to address global injustice, does a great job summarizing it with the following principles:
It is time to move:
From aid to enterprise
From poverty alleviation to wealth creation
From paternalism to partnerships
From handouts to investments
From seeing the poor as consumers or burdens to seeing them as creators
From viewing the poor as recipients of charity to acknowledging them as agents of change with dignity, capacity, and creativity.
From encouraging dependency to integrating the poor into networks of productivity and exchange
From subsidies and protectionism to open trade and competition
From seeing the global economy as a fixed pie to understanding that human enterprise can grow economies
If that doesn't encourage us all to take action, I don't know what will! Now, we realize that you blog readers are some seriously conscientious and passionate people who are already living their lives with purpose to powerfully impact the lives of others around the globe. Thank you and keep it up! For anyone reading this who identifies as a follower of Christ, we can learn an incredible amount about how to live more purposefully by looking to see what He chose to prioritize during his time on the planet. While he certainly crossed paths with the of the most powerful and influential people of the day, he chose to prioritize his time experiencing the highs and lows of life with those on the margins of society, far from from the flash and glitz...right where we should still be. So - whether it is making a small personal change, gaining better insight into the many complex issues still needing to be solved, or learning how to channel your passion to lead others towards action, I encourage everyone (myself included) to spend some time thinking and then acting on behalf of justice, loving the poor and destitute in this world. And, per those Poverty Cure principles included above, the sustainable answer can never be as easy as just giving more money. Instead, it is likely to require the sacrifice our some comfort and re-ordering of personal priorities in order to create a more just world. But let's not let that intimidate us or keep us from taking action because even the smallest steps make a difference. So we came up with a few easy and tangible ideas - most of which can happen from your home on a typical evening - that increase our understanding and awaken our desire to be part of the solution.
Please share your own comments and add to the list below:
1- Share a Meal with Perspective - get some friends together and share a meal representative of what it would be like eating what a refugee family eats for a day or just a dinner. There are plenty of resources out there including these: A Day in the Life of a Refugee And What the World Eats
2 - Binge Watch Something Else - perhaps a documentary that shows the daily struggle of life as a displaced person, a victim of human trafficking or one that captures the reality of failing international policies...here are several from inspiring organizations like Pre-Emptive Love Coalition serving in Iraq and the International Rescue Committee serving worldwide, including in Bangladesh with the growing Rohingya crisis. Or learn about the True Cost of your clothing.
3- Learn Together - put together a small group and host a conversation or screening focused on understanding how we can work t o end poverty in the world. This Poverty Cure video series is particularly on-point, the Bought Beautifully board worked through it last summer.
4- Speak Up for Those Without A Voice - next time you hear someone mention the latest fashion trend, technological advancement, or favorite recipe - channel that same enthusiasm towards how we can actively be working to solve basic needs right here on the planet.
5- Leave Your Comfort Zone - go somewhere you normally wouldn't in your own community, invite someone you wouldn't normally for dinner or travel outside of the U.S. to experience how differently the world operates than what we are accustomed to. Ultimately, no matter how little of a step we take, it all makes a difference. We would love to hear ideas you have that could be added to our list. Over the past 30 years society has been doing an impressive job of reducing poverty and increasing opportunity throughout the world but we have the capacity to do so much more! Know someone who might find this interesting? Share it or pin it!