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I was asked to consider this statement and what it means to me. It did not take me long to come to the very simple conclusion that Africa represents the beginning of human history and therefore, our very existence is connected to Africa. That is my deep answer. I am sure that there are some folks out there who may dispute that fact [you betcha 😉 ] but science, anthropology, history and yes, theology generally lead back to the same area. I also concluded that if the birth of mankind began in the African continent then it is not too hard of a stretch to believe that our world-wide rebirth can also be centered there. In contributing to the renewal and growth of African nations and people, we can ensure the growth of our international community and culture. As Africa goes, so, too, do we. It’s the basic Ripple effect.

It is easy, for some, to pretend that the other half of the world is somehow behind us or backwards. Those folks tend to walk through life with blinders on, but those of us with open eyes and open minds are already noticing that it really is a small world, after all [sorry, still my fave Disney song 🙂 ]…not to sound facetious, because seriously, the world is shrinking as far as communications, commerce, politics and science go. If we have learned nothing else from our war, we should realize by now that what happens on the other side of the world does effect us, too.

For many of us westerners, our perception of Africa, [which is a continent, btw, consisting of 53 separate nations] is based on the pictures we see of refugees and famine. It is hard not to associate the entire continent with such images, but that is equivalent to associating all of the USA with the 90210  zip code. It is time that we learn more about this large part of our world culture. The organizers of Mocha.org are organizing a networking action site which will link our own education with an opportunity to help and contribute to African, and therefore, world culture. The basic idea is centered around my favorite bevarage, the mocha. If we java junkies can live without 2 extra mochas [or lattes or red bulls, what’s your poison?] a month and we send that $7 towards a project we choose to support, then we can contribute more to world growth [and maybe sleep a bit better]. They go a step further and offer groups, organizations and even celebs personal pages so we can network and watch the progression together.

After participating in the Blog Action Day project and really enjoying being part of such a powerful movement, I was pleased to be approached for a similar project. First of all, the power of the Internet and bloggers in particular, to contribute to the world dialogue and activist culture is in a trite word, awesome. {The word itself is not trite if you consider the original meaning, but of course has since been trivialized by over- and mis-use. I’m taking it back.} Secondly, and the organizers are smart on this one, they were apparently reaching out to bloggers participating in National Blog Posting Month, many of whom, by now may be scratching their heads or other parts trying to think of what to blog about. Of course, I always have that other thing happening this month, but those posts are getting somewhat repetitive and redundant. So if you are a BloPoer or PoMoer, or just have your own thoughts on this statement or the action, here is a topic for today’s post…or heck, any day is good. Please feel free to share your thoughts on what that statement means to you, here, too.

Of course, I did my research before agreeing to share with my readers and suggest you do the same. They plan to open the official site December 1st, and I will have more information then but you can already get information there and start to sign up for a project which utilizes personal activism, international organization and social networking. Groups and individuals can use their own soc net pages and bloggers can use their sites too. So anyone who is looking for a project to contribute to or participate in may be interested.

Personally, I know I want to use my writing to contribute to the greater good and improve the world [if not just my own karma points] As I proceed in my blogging experience, I hope to find more ways to use my blog for good. I still consider this blog primarily a “writer’s blog” but do not want to continually indulge my tendency to block myself and go into anxiety overload.

And yes, I can link this whole thing to NaNo because, I kid you not, I quoted this song in my story and it actually contributes to a character. I will end with this Utube selection because I invite you to check out the lyrics and because Simba is so darn cute.

I know that I must do what’s right
Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure whats deep inside, frightened of this thing that Ive become

Last year I participated in this action [theme:GoGreen] and I still think it is the best thing I have done as a blogger. If I am going to write a blog, it may as well contribute some positive energy to the universe. So I am very happy to be here again [especially considering my self-imposed hiatus this year]. Anyone else interested in participating today or next year check it out here.

UN poverty stats

 

This topic is, as far as I am concerned, THE biggest problem the world has and is related to any other cause in which you may be involved or care about. Most of us do not understand what true poverty is, especially if we are fortunate enough to live in one of the industrialized western world nations. The difference between being poor in the United States is far different than being poor in, say, Somalia. The large discrepancies between the wealthy class and the poverty class, however, exist everywhere and I do not mean to imply that being poor in the USA is OK. In fact, I think it is a national shame. We have no excuses for allowing children in our country to go hungry or for having any homeless person die on our streets. We brag about being the richest nation in the world, capable of policing other nations, yet poverty still exists and it is getting worse, not better!

If you have been awake in the last month or so, you may have heard about the “economic crisis” occurring here which is reverberating around the world. I heard one economist or expert-type compare it this way: If we ‘sneeze’ economically, the rest of the world gets the flu. Well, our nose is running and we need to wipe up our mess. There is no reason why any executive should earn a millions-of-dollars severance package while his investors are losing their shirts. Or their homes. Likewise, I do not believe there is any excuse for actors and athletes to make millions per game or movie or show while their fans rely on food stamps and prayer. Yes, many of these individuals contribute to their communities or charity-of-the-month, but the problem is not going away.

Beyond our own doorsteps, and I firmly believe that we are an international community now, we must look at the facts around the world. UNICEF figures estimate that between 26,500-30,000 children under age 5 die every day due to poverty. Think about that again: Today, October 15, 2008, nearly THIRTY THOUSAND children will die just because they live in poor circumstances which could be changed. Not because of war, natural disasters or abuse, but because they do not have food, or clean water or warm clothes. That stat does not even factor in the older children and adults who are dying beside them. Most of these children are in remote villages which have few resources, being ignored by their governments and most of the world, but a few are also in our own communities. No one has been able to explain to me why we freely spend billions of dollars on wars, oil and liposuction while children are allowed to die.

I am not an economist, or investor type, and have bad flashbacks of my college Microeconomics course, but I do understand the simple concept of Supply and Demand. The problem as I see it is we have the wrong supplies for the growing demands.  Basic human needs [food, shelter, clothing] are not being distributed fairly, while luxuries and random useless Stuff are taking over the planet. I cannot tell you how upset I get when I see new, high-dollar planned communities being built, while empty homes rot into the earth. Or how disturbing it is to see dumpsters full of food when people are starving down the street. Of course, doing something about it may take some radical overhauling of our own lifestyles and the corporate world which controls that supply. Or it may not.

Simplicity works. We can all change one small thing in our life which can have a huge impact in the grander scheme of things. Eat leftovers [yum, my favorite lunch!]; Donate clothes, food, money, time-whatever you have to share; STOP THROWING THINGS AWAY! Last year’s sweater can still keep someone warm! [including yourself] If you do invest, find companies who are contributing to a solution not the problem; Educate yourself and others: READ, write and STAND UP! Use your voice if you have nothing else to give and speak out. There are a myriad of opportunities on the web and in your community. Yes, I have worked at soup kitchens [and eaten at them, too], shared food with strangers and given what I can to spangers. A one-time donation is good for your karma; even Free Rice.com is an action which we can complete while surfing instead of looking up the latest celebrity gossip or techno gadgets.

The United Nations has identified eradicating world poverty as its #1 Millenium Goal. By the year 2015, poverty should not exist on such global levels. There is a lot more info available at that link as well as opportunities to help. This weekend, Stand Up Against Poverty is occurring around the world, including here in cyberspace. Please take a few minutes to check out their vid. Consider it your action of the day. And, once again, I will promote Change.org, which is one of my favorite sites on the web and offers everyone a chance to do something about poverty or any other cause you choose.

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