Why Poverty?

November 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Reflection is looking in so you can look out with a broader, bigger, and more accurate perspective.”

– Mick Ukleja and Robert Lorber

We experience life in many ways. Some being as we hear stories from family, friends or those we don’t know about life before we were born, ‘Back in my day…’ As memories of experiences that we have lived ourselves or have happened during our time, ‘Remember when…’ As the current moment that is happening right now, ‘Choices, choices, choices…’ And as the future that we can or can’t envisage, ‘What will become?’ Each of these are happening in thoughts and actions, individually and collectively, with similar and dissimilar human experiences being lived, shared, perceived and interpreted in a variety of ways by a global village of over seven billion different people.

I am reminded of a quote by Edmund Burke about reading, “Reading without reflection is like eating without digesting”. If we replace the word ‘reading’ with ‘life’ or ‘experience’ I think we arrive at the quote at the beginning of this post. Reflection makes up such a vital part of our human experience, the ability to process, grow, develop and make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others throughout our journey. Life can feel busy and pressured, with certain eventualities impossible, especially if we don’t take the time to reflect, asking questions of ourselves and others like who, what, where, why and how.

 Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

– St. Francis of Assisi

Each of us could recall a time when we felt really authentically connected and aligned to self, others and the world around us, the what’s important, as an individual or collectively within a team or group. These times are when we are filled with energy, passion, deep purpose and meaning. They are usually when our individual or shared vision is connected and aligned with the daily thoughts, words and actions that we are experiencing, wherever we may be, feelings of empowerment and contributing within our spheres of influence.

This week on ABC 2 here in Australia and on TV stations right around the world we were individually and collectively asked Why Poverty? Five films were aired here in Australia, one each night, with more that will be able to be seen online after November. Each film has the purpose of engaging the audience and providing opportunities to reflect on why in a world that has so much do we still have so many that live with so little? Each film explores various challenges and issues associated with poverty, along with our own connection to these themes of potential, justice, equality, opportunity, compassion, empowerment and inspiring ‘be the change’ thinking and actions.

Engaging in the discussion and exploring how our individual and collective thoughts and actions contribute to challenges that the global village faces is a shared responsibility. Our perspectives of what is poverty, what constitutes fair access to our human needs and aspirations, the connection, support or decisions that are required to reduce the hardship of those experiencing the effects of poverty, evaluating the abundance vs scarcity mindset and its affect on our thoughts and actions, wealth as wellbeing rather than just monetary or material possession accumulation and our role in empowering and inspiring others through our own example and the language we use are important to continuing to build and work towards the vision and values we have for humanity.

I am currently reading Stephen Covey’s book, ‘The 3rd Alternative’. It is inspiring to consider a 3rd alternative to this issue, honestly evaluating the beliefs we have created and fostered within the developed and the developing worlds, how these beliefs drive our thoughts and actions, what needs and aspirations promote authentic connection and fulfilment, and experiencing true synergy within our shared humanity to create a better world for all. Rather than highlighting difference or creating separation, we can as the initial quote suggests, ‘look in so we can look out with a broader, bigger, and more accurate perspective’. I hope that this Why Poverty? discussion achieves its aims and that all that it touches are able to reflect on the themes and information discovered.

“Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills – against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence… Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation…

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”.

– Robert Kennedy

I have attached a link to the 5 part discussion (opening and closing segments are embedded in this post or use the link to see all five) of the BBC World Debate from a studio in South Africa, involving former British prime minister Tony Blair, Oby Ezekwesili, a former Nigerian government minister, Vandana Shiva, a scientist and grassroots activist from India and the South African author Moeletsi Mbeki. This debate again highlights other perspectives and themes that we can reflect on.

BBC World Debate – Why Poverty?


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