Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Comfort or Their Life?

My Daughter wrote this last week for her English Class and Read it in front of the Class. I was proud of her boldness, but mostly for her great use satire and sarcasm. I wonder where she got that.

Darragh Martin
January 23, 2009

Our Comfort or their life?

What is really important in life? Is it stuff, the way we look, our own selfish pleasures, or is it helping people in need? If I took a poll right now, I bet that at least nine out of ten people would say that it was helping people in need. Today we are taking a different type of poll. We are going to see how people spend their money. That would show us the real answer - because sometimes people say one thing, but do something completely different.
We as Americans spend billions of dollars on our cosmetics each year - whether it is just on make-up or on surgeries to make our boobs bigger. We are so consumed with how we look and how we feel about ourselves that we forget about the real world: the one we don’t – “thank God” - have to live in. We have been blessed with fantastic medical care and way more than enough food for each person that we eventually die from eating too much. If that couldn’t satisfy us, some of us have issues about the way we look. “Boy I am fat – Let’s have a 50,000 dollar surgery to get rid of some of that”. “Oh my gosh my nose is so hideous, let me just go and put on a plastic one so I can be someone that I am totally not!” People are dying of starvation, and here we are worrying if the guy sitting beside us in the dark movie theater thinks we’re hot. There are much deeper issues we should be thinking about.
The USA spends 9 billion dollars each year on cosmetics. We pretty ourselves up, but why? To feel better about ourselves, to have mindless guys look at us in the grocery store when we walk by, maybe to have half a chance of even getting married? First of all is that really the type of guy you want, a guy that looks at nothing but the outside? That marriage is going to last a long time! Did you know that to provide clean water for all the people in developing countries it would cost 9 billion dollars? Clean water and sanitation could prevent deathly sicknesses and prevent deaths all around the world. But no, we have to be spending all that money on how we look and how we feel. Not only do we need to look nice but also we need to have a seductive smell to us to get the boys in bed. The amount we spend on perfumes in both America and Europe is 12 billion dollars. So while we are living it up smelling like flowers the smell of death is filling our atmosphere. There are people dying from the lack of simple health care. Which by the way would cost a mere 13 billion to provide in ALL of the developing countries.
Christmas season is fun and exciting. We get new stuff and eat so much food that by the end of the day we are changing from our jeans to sweatpants. We spend money on decorating our house all pretty and buy Christmas trees. Over all we spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas! Why? Because we want to really enjoy it. We want the best decorated house on the street. We want to give the best present ever to your best friend. But we are spending 450 billion. People are dying all around the world from diseases that can easily be prevented or cured and we are spending all that money on Christmas – and feeling joyful about it!
According to Fast Company magazine we spend 15 billion dollars on bottled water. Some of us are a little picky and don’t like to drink our tap water cause it tastes a little funny - but its completely drinkable - while others are drinking from mud holes filled with cholera and dysentery. And it would only cost us a measly 9 billion to fix that problem for everyone. And believe me – they won’t be complaining about a yucky aftertaste.
In Africa over half the population is suffering from one of the six water related diseases. Every day 685 people die from diarrhea alone. Most of those were children under the age of five. In east African hospitals, 70 percent of their visits are caused by contaminated water.
Can you see what a difference we could make by spending our money somewhere besides on how we look or on gifts that will be thrown away before next Christmas even comes around? We as Americans are so caught up in our selves, in our own little world that we fail to act beyond it. We see the problems of the world and think “Oh how sad! I wish I could help them, I wish I could make a difference.” But we are too caught up in our little American lives that we don’t act. We keep spending our money on exciting things like eyeliner or nose jobs while people in other countries are dying because they just drank contaminated water, or because someone cut themselves and they don’t have simple antibiotics to keep infection away.
What can we do? If every American just gave up coffee for one month or for some not even that. If every American would just give 30 dollars we could completely solve the water issue. Thirty dollars is only one month of my allowance! Only 30 dollars and we could save hundreds of lives, maybe even thousands. We would be giving the children more hope of living through their first five years.
So there’s the choice: Our comfort? Or their life? Choose wisely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Jonathan. I am deeply encouraged.