Posts Tagged With: end poverty

What we believe about bottled water, may be entirely wrong.

The bottled water industry may be the highest achievement of public relations in history. The goal is to convince people to purchase water in a bottle at a store for $1+, instead of from their own kitchen faucet.

The goal is accomplished by implanting the idea that bottled water is much healthier, cleaner, and better tasting.  We are shown images of mountains and natural springs with inspiring tales of how amazing the water we are about to hand over dollars for truly is.

But, that isn’t the true picture of what bottled water is and where it comes from. According to a study produced by Washington-based, Environmental Working Group:

The bottled water industry promotes its products as pure and healthy but our tests show that pollutants in some popular brands match the levels found in some of the nation’s most polluted big city tap water systems.

Facts about bottled water industry

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How Walking Can Change the World

531479_324356400989521_2074277816_nIt seems such a simple act one can most naturally do – walking. So how can simply going for a walk make a difference in someone else’s life or truly do anything more than help us burn a few calories?

Long Distance Walking For A Cause

It isn’t everyday that a person walks much farther than their own mailbox these days. Cars and other modes of transportation have made getting to where we need to go faster and easier than throughout human history. So when a person makes a commitment to do something out of the ordinary, such as walking a long distance, it brings with it a capacity to raise attention for a cause we may be passionate about.

Personally, clean water is the physical need which I aim to help provide to the nearly 1 billion people on earth who currently lack life’s most vital resource. By doing something out of the ordinary, such as the ordinary act of walking (ironic, huh?), I hope to bring attention to the issue and hopefully raise funds for some specific projects solving the problem we face in our human world.

Meeting People You Would Have Driven Past

When we walk we have opportunities that only this 3 mile-per-hour mode of transportation could offer – meeting people. Nearly every person I walk beside or in opposing directions stops say hello which often leads to conversations and friendship. It isn’t always easy going deeper than the generic “how’s it going?” question and then continuing on without another thought. But most of the time by asking a simple question about the town or for a suggestion on a good place to eat, the door is opened to greater discussion and the opportunity is presented to encourage others and discuss the cause for which I am walking. In 2012 as I walking through Venice Beach, I would estimate that I had genuine conversations with at least 50 people in a day, which was a great audience with whom to deliver a message.

Walking is something that most of us are completely equipped with the two essential tools to do (a left and right leg). Many will cite the health benefits of walking, which are certainly evident, but I walk for the incredible people, for the beautiful sights, and for the cause.

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Intentional Experience

Homeless people on the streetsIt’s difficult to understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. When we experience how life is lived by others our own perspective and understanding increases.

In 2009 I went for a drive. I had no idea where I would go, but I was headed east in my 1987 Buick Skylark that would shut down if I pressed the accelerate too hard or too quickly. I had lived a semi-luxurious lifestyle in my young adult life; earning a good salary, living in nice homes, and enjoying nice dinners. But I had this urge to meet and spend time with people living on the streets, to hear the stories of people all too often neglected by our society.

I didn’t have a motive of some type of “humanitarian relief” agenda, I simply wanted to gain experience of how life is lived in a way that I had yet to experience. Furthermore, I didn’t have much by way of personal funds to give monetarily. I traveled through Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, stopping in cities along the way to simply go find people to talk to. What I discovered change my own perspective on why people are homeless, and what they truly need.

I had always thought that really helping the poor meant giving them food or a shelter for the night, but I quickly realized that all people living within the circumstances of sleeping on the streets wanted was someone to listen, recognize them, and see them as an equally valuable human being. Food and shelter certainly didn’t hurt, but I learned that the physical aspects of giving aid must come from a personal connection or relationship with people who need help in obtaining access to life’s most vital needs.

I think that far too much of humanitarian aid is given by organizations and philanthropists who see what they are doing more as a job they do for a good purpose or cause, without truly understanding those we mean to help. But in order to truly help someone we must understand them, know them, and see things from their perspective. It is often the case that to see things from another’s perspective, we have to live as they live and experience what they experience.

In 2005 I remember coming to the conclusion that one of my primary goals in this life was simply to understand. I wanted to understand as many perspectives of people as possible, in order to gain a deeper understanding of life and why our human world is the way that it is. At the age of 19, the problems of poverty confounded my mind. I couldn’t understand why so much of the planet was subjected to such living conditions, while we have so many resources available. I couldn’t understand why churches squabbled over theological differences, while the poor were suffering on their doorsteps. I couldn’t understand why some had so much more than they could ever use or enjoy, while so many lacked the very resources needed to live at all.

I knew there must be a solution.

The solution to the problems we face as a planet begin in a place undefinable with human language; although, I will do my best to illustrate my thoughts using these symbolic representations we call letters and words.

Love, I believe is something much more than the four letters comprising it could ever could truly encapsulate or evoke. Love is a force which binds together all of humanity; initiating compassion, generosity, and liberation within each of our hearts. A community that fully knows generosity does not know poverty.

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