14.10.08

In This Together

Angels 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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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hub and I live in a vintage Spartan trailer (think Airstream style aluminum, only ours looks like a loaf of bread) with about 320 square feet of living space. We garden, belong to a CSA, drive old beater cars (Toyota Tacoma has 430,000 miles on it) and are restoring our five acre parcel to the wild plot it once was. Composting, recycling, minimizing packaging, rainwater collecting...over time we have adopted a lot of practices that keep our 'footprint' pretty small. Do we live small? Oh, heavens, no. It feels amazingly huge to live this way...plus, bathing outside in our woodfired hot tub with the snow falling down around us cannot be matched. :)
Jen
(I wandered over from alivening)

7:44 PM  
Anonymous structured settlements said...

well this is really together

5:36 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Amen! Have you read Barabara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle? I haven't, but heard it's good. Wish I could do more along the lines of buying/eating locally. Wheat, beef, sugar cane on the menu....

4:02 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I did read it, Joelle. And I liked it so much I chose it for our Social Issues Reading Clubs (yeah, I do stuff like this :)

She's informative and extremely funny. Sometimes a little heavy-handed. But well-worth the read.

5:05 PM  
Blogger SuzyQ said...

I totally agree with you on the points you made.
I try to buy local and/or fairtrade produce plus growing some of my own in my little garden. It's the small things we can all do that make all the difference.
Like mother Teresa said "we can do no great things only small things with great love" :0)
That is my favourite quote ever I think.

5:38 PM  

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