Fun Fact #3: Poverty In 8’s

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.

Next up—nutrition!

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.

 

Fun Fact #2: Ruled By the Dead?

Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers, believed that the Constitution should be rewritten every nineteen years.

In a letter to James Madison concerning the subject, Jefferson had said, “I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, ‘that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living.'”  By this, he’d meant that only those alive are entitled to receiving the rights granted by nature and society. This seems to be a sensible notion; our generation may choose to switch up the ground rules, without being dragged down by boundaries set by generations long dead.

Though the Constitution has been amended almost thirty times since, it has not been completely scrapped and rewritten a single time. A solid Constitution enables a country to follow a secure, predictable path; so it is a preserving facet. Ruled by the dead could be an exaggeration, but new generations living by a Constitution drafted nearly two centuries ago is, in theory, just that.

While We the People being replaced with We the Living is no guarantee, it is certain to say that, yes—we are ruled by the dead. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? I cannot say, except that it is an eerie notion to wrap my mind around, however truthful it is.

Fun Fact #1: On Corn and Climate

Did you know

…if the sixteen million acres now being used to grow corn to feed cows in the United States became well-managed pasture, that would remove fourteen billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road.

We seldom focus on farming’s role in global warming, but as much as a third of all the greenhouse gases that human activity has added to the atmosphere can be attributed to to the saw and the plow (Pollan 198).

 

This quote is taken from the novel, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” by Michael Pollan (I highly recommend reading it!).