The place I live in is a bubble.
Meaning, you can walk down the street gazing upon verdurous lawns and red-painted shutters, instead of crumbling rooftops and lots filled with those scantily curled up onto weathered curbsides.
Though I am fortunate to be living in a place where my and my neighbors’ basic needs are sufficiently met, I realize that living in a bubble does make us disconnected with reality. Witnessing cruelty through the television screen can hurt our emotions, but it does nothing to prepare us for the actual conditions of the world.
We know that people are starving, that homes are collapsing, that our world harbors more deficiencies than we’d like to admit. But do we really know?
Let’s look at the facts.
First up, grain.
Did you know…
…if all the grain currently fed to livestock in the U.S. were consumed directly by people, the number of people being fed would be 800 million? Not advocating veganism, here—but grass-feeding our cows was always an option. (from Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma).
Not to mention; according to David Pimentel, professor in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, if those grains were exported (to, say, a region where people are indeed suffering greatly from starvation), doing so would increase the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion a year.
Based on these statistics, I don’t see why our government hasn’t yet jumped at the chance to carry out this world-saving masterplan. I mean, it’s not like there’s anything stopping them besides their corn subsidies, the tendency to partner up with corporations relying on cheap labor, the rules of hypercapitalism, mega-military funding, the current hell-spitting party feuds enrapturing every American’s conscience, and—
I’ll go back to all that another day, perhaps.
Did you know…
In the year 2000, the U.N. reported that the number of people suffering from over-nutrition—a billion—had surpassed the number of people suffering from malnutrition—800 million.
Evidently, our system is flawed. But who’s to blame? Where did the crazed industrialized ethics escalate, when did the national greed spawn, where did calorie-obsession spike and our impoverished comrades die?
Whether your hourly pay is $24 or $2.50, it is crucial to wonder why. It is crucial to understand that the numbers are climbing. The 8’s will shift to 9’s, and the 9’s to 10’s. What we can do about this is spread awareness, and remain conscious of our own mindsets and actions.
Poverty is real. It is okay to step outside of our bubbles every once and a while to be disturbed, to be afraid, to recoil at the facts and wish to escape. But turn your sorrow into motivation, and speak up instead. The numbers are already there. Now, it is our turn to keep them in mind, to use them, with one word, one action, at a time.