Tag Archives: poverty

Why Don’t We Ever Learn?

By Jim Selman | Bio

As we watch the devastation in Haiti on television, the world recoils at the horror and the suffering, mobilizes its resources and tries to clean up the mess and help the survivors. The media forages, looking for who to blame (usually corrupt or incompetent politicians). We’ve witnessed this scene following earthquakes countless times: in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake 2008 when 69,000 died in China; in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake when 230,000 died in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand; in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake where 86,000 died in Pakistan; in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake when 142,800 died in Japan; and even in 1908’s Messina earthquake when 100,000 died in Italy. If we think about the hurricanes, volcanoes, fires, tsunamis and famine, it seems the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” are doing a fabulous business these days. The fact is that natural (and some unnatural) disasters happen all the time.  But if you look at the impact of these events in developed countries and compare them to the impact in underdeveloped countries, the contrast is shocking.

The reason for this has been clear for a long time. The extent of damage in any earthquake depends on many variables, including the magnitude of the quake and the aftershocks, what type of soil buildings are on and the distance of population centers from the epicenter. Underdeveloped or developing nations face particular challenges—especially when dealing with high population density areas—because they lack the necessary infrastructure to respond. In addition to this factor,

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World Population Day

Nineteen years ago, the United Nations established World Population Day to affirm people’s basic human right to plan their families. The Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) included commitments from 189 countries to halve poverty by 2015, reduce child and maternal deaths, curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, advance gender equality and promote sustainable development. If we are to achieve any of these, we must promote

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The World We Want: The Big Picture II

By David Korten | Great Turning website

Read more posts in The World We Want series.

The second piece of the big picture of the human confrontation with the limits of our Mother Earth is an unraveling of the social fabric of civilization that is a consequence of extreme and growing inequality. A world divided between the profligate and the desperate cannot long endure. It intensifies competition for Earth’s resources, undermines the legitimacy of our institutions, and drives an unraveling

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Aging and Poverty

I just came from Sao Paulo—an enormous city of more than 20 million folks. Brazil has about 188 million, a lot of them dealing with poverty every day. They have about 17 million folks over 60 and, like our aging population, that number will almost double by 2025. The biggest difference is that Brazil doesn’t have as much of an economic foundation and social infrastructure to support its older citizens. I was speaking to a friend there who shared his view that very few people in Latin America,

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What to Do?

I was reading the findings from David Suzuki’s latest environmental awareness campaign. It’s a series of conferences and town hall type meetings called “If YOU were Prime Minister…”. It’s a good idea in terms of expanding the discourse and engaging lots of people in an important, even critical aspect of our public life. It grabbed me in part because I’m with my parents this week and listening to

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