The recent awful happenings around the Indian Ocean have brought many people of many different nationalities and cultures – even long-time enemies – together in a concerted effort to help those that are now in dire need. This is fantastic, although we all see how great the need is, and how long it will take that area to get back to any semblance of normality.
However this also raises larger questions of how we can and should act and react to our neighbours. Whether those are neighbours just down the road or neighbours across the globe, we all have responsibilities to each other to minimise hatred, maximise understading, and maintain the world we all share in a wise and gracious manner. I’ve been thinking a lot recently of what I do to help those less fortunate than me. I am pretty fortunate: I live in a safe and very wealthy country; I have a good job and lots support from people who love me; I have, in world terms, a small fortune at my disposal every month. So how do I use my advantages to help those that don’t have access to these things?
The truth is I do very little. I use low-power lightbulbs, try to conserve water and try to buy fairly traded products. However that is nothing compared to what I could be doing. The very helpful We Are What We Do website shows some other simple ways that I can make the world a better place. It sounds ethereal and hippieish, but I’m convinced this will make some kind of difference. I can’t travel to Africa or South America and work on the streets, I have family commitments here that I have responsibilities for, but I can do something. And this year I will.
Look around the Wibsite, there are other links on there that may help. Perhaps donate a portion of your monthly income to charities you want to help, have a spring clean and give as much as you can to local charities. The important thing for me is that I stop talking about the problems I see and start to be part of the solution.