In This Together
Over at Seedlings in Stone, I just posted about getting beyond helplessness in relation to poverty. In that post, I mentioned that the issue needs a multi-level solution: prevention, intervention, and care.
And as I said over there, I'm a prevention kind of person. Two ways I go about this are a dedication to simplicity and creation care. I know. That doesn't sound particularly poverty-eradication oriented— at least at first blush.
A life of simplicity, however, is a life that might choose, for instance, to live in rhythm with the seasons, thus buying locally-grown foods in season. This can support small family farms that fuel local economies. In this way whole communities can be prevented from being lost to poverty, both in the U.S. and abroad (the "abroad" part of this is complicated, because it's related to subsidies to large commercial farms that can undercut small farmers domestically and globally).
And creation care? The work of Wangari Maatthai and her tree-planting efforts in Kenya is wonderfully instructive. She realized that devastating land, cutting down too many trees, can cause drought. Also, in places like Sierra Leone, where much of the rain forest has been removed, there are added difficulties like forced migration that promotes overcrowding in cities, poverty and conflict.
I remember reading an article a few years back in The Atlantic Monthly that suggested environmental devastation is one of the top security issues in the world. Security issues? Well, for just the reasons I mentioned regarding Sierra Leone. Political instability is related to poverty, which can be related to environmental devastation.
None of this is simple I suppose. My head starts spinning just writing about it. It has taken me a lot of years of reading to begin to understand these things, and even now I can't fully express how it all works. But maybe I don't need to understand it all. Maybe I just need to remember the decisions I've made as a result of various things I've learned along the way: to live simply, to care for creation, to do my little part towards prevention.
And to remember that we're in this together.
Angels Together photo, taken in Marseilles, by L.L. Barkat.
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