When things turn out well,
we say we have free will.
When they turn out badly,
we say it’s our destiny.
(Cris Evatt in “The Myth of Free Will”)
Isn’t the Age of Stupid over yet? We use many of our resources faster than they can recover, if they ever do. We harm people and planet to feed our ever growing needs without becoming concerned. What will be left for our children and grandchildren? I am privileged and lucky. My parents escaped the communist regime and I grew up in one of the most beautiful and rich countries in the world – in Austria. I had access to good education and a well functioning health system and other outstanding public services. I never was without income, travelled the world and worked in Europe and Africa. My wife and family – I have got three amazing kids – enjoy the same privileges as I do. So, I have thousands of reasons to be happy! But, there are things which bother me; bother me so much that remaining happy can be difficult sometimes.
What’s the problem, you might wonder? There are quite some, to mention only a few: The clothes I am wearing are most probably made by young women in Bangladesh or India under inhuman conditions and for less than a dollar a day. The equipment I use to work with and the gadgets I enjoy contain materials from mines where mine-workers are exploited and abused and are then manufactured by Chinese man, women and children in long shifts under working conditions, which a European employee would never accept – and all this we allow to happen today, in spite of the Universal Declaration of Human (and labour) Rights and so many other achievements and progress the mankind can be proud of.
Yes, I am aware about privileges I and my family have access to, but I am also aware where they come from. Our own and our parents hard work is only a small fraction of it. All over the world children, women and men contribute to it – and what’s their share of the cake? Crumbles and leftovers – which we generously send to the so called “third” world to help to develop it. We need to stop this stupidity. Our products should be free of children’s tears and sweat, free of the stain of blood of killed mine workers; our food should be free of genetically manipulated ingredients, grown on country-size mono-cultures, threatening local biodiversity and food security of indigenous people. How can we accept this? We know all this; how can we, well, most of us, ignore it and pretend that everything is just fine?
For our own sake and our children’s and for all those depending on the crumbles and leftovers we hand out to them – we have to do more, so much more than only buying fair trade products, organic and local food, using renewable energy and donating some of our wealth to do-good-organisations, which do the best they can to mitigate some of the dire results of the exploitation going on for centuries.
What can I do? What can YOU do? What can WE do? This blog intends to be exactly about that – What WE can do to empower ourselves and those who currently suffer, to change the world we live in, so that all children, women and men of all continents living on this one and only planet Earth can enjoy a decent life – now and forever.
All human beings have the same needs.