Friday, May 20, 2011

I wish I knew about this 5 days ago!

The "Live below the Line" campaign got started on Monday -- if only I'd known I would have joined from here in Singapore!

From this Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20, a bunch of people across the US, Australia & the UK have been spending no more than US$1.50 per day on food and drink, to better understand and raise awareness about the challenges of those living in extreme poverty.

By the way, that's one-fourth of the people we share the planet with: 1.4 billion people!

What's most interesting to me is reading about the stories and experiences of my fellow Americans as they're going through the week. Many are complaining of hunger, and counting the weight that they've lost. The descriptions of meals of ramen noodles, rice, beans, oatmeal and eggs are a bit desperate in tone. Some are trying to add more nutritionally-balanced foods into the week, but it's hard when you only have $7.50.

This is what it's like to use the money you have available for food on things that will fill you up the most. This is how you avoid starvation but still lack the nutrients to thrive, to flourish, or to live a fully vibrant life. This is why rising food prices around the world hit the poorest the hardest.

What I love about this campaign (and I will join in next year, if not earlier) is that it makes these struggles very concrete and real for those of us who are used to spending $7.50 for a latte and brownie on a Friday afternoon.

PS: This is also why we need diverse, abundant and healthy agriculture to help end poverty!

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