According to the World Bank, 1.4 billion people live on less than US $1.25 a day,. this entails a vast amount of suffering and avoidable loss of life. The Life You Can Save : Acting Now to End World Poverty offers a solution to world poverty. If enough of us can be moved to act—to make some moderate sacrifices in our lives—huge numbers of people could be saved from death and suffering. And if the world’s wealthiest 10 per cent of people were to donate a fraction of their income, extreme poverty on a large scale could be eliminated altogether. With his trademark clarity, logic and intellectual flair, world renowned philosopher Peter Singer shows us not only that this solution is possible, but also that we have a moral obligation to be part of it.
‘Peter Singer may be the most controversial philosopher alive; he is certainly amonghe most influential'
It was the jolt i needed to do some research i had been meaning to do all week. I have just bought some new spectacles; being back at work was a shock to my eyes and i was experiencing eye strain and nausea like never before. A clever colleague suggested an eye test (this bright spark hadn't thought of THAT). So i emerged with a set of graduated lenses (bi-focals in the old language...that sounds a little over rthe hill). I keep my last pair always as a back up at work in case i forget my current ones. Now the old back up pair is not needed any longer. I had a friend who every year would trek with her optometrist husband in Nepal to reach far off villages where they would perform free eye tests and provide those that needed them, with spectacles which had been donated in Australia. It sounded like such a good idea but my researcher brain kicked in and first i wanted to know if i did donate my spectacles, was it really a good idea? Looks like there are problems but the conclusion, little research and sometimes the spectacles are not distributed correctly or efficiently but the Optometry Association of Australia supports the practce and sends glasses to nations along with an optometrist. So for now, i decided i will donate.Its easy.
Now donating my old specs isnt going to end world poverty, but it was a timely reminder to do the research on the impact of my giving and that in this current international climate of fiscal uncertainty for many in the developed/first/affluent (whatever you want to name it) world, people contract in fear and stop giving, sharing. "if world’s wealthiest 10 per cent of people were to donate a fraction of their income, extreme poverty on a large scale could be eliminated altogether" Thats US!, the worlds wealthiest 10%. Despite feeling the pinch a little with food prices and growing children, we are still donating around 15% of our income. It shocked us a little that it was this high, but when we sat down and actually worked it out, thats what we came up with. Now for any of you thinking we're rich and are therefore better placed to afford it, we are rich by many standards, but we certainly bring in well under 100,000 annually and support 5 people in the family. So 15% is alot, but it doesnt have to be that high. Be inspired, do the math, choose a cause.