Old Stone House

Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

October 14, 2008

Filed under: Day to Day @ 1:51 pm

2008 has been the bastion for economic uncertainty. One year ago people were recording record house sale profits and the economy ‘appeared’ to be steaming along without issue. However as well all know, economic times were not a good as once thought and now North America is gripped by financial instability.

People are losing their houses, their savings, and their hope…

…so does anybody want to talk about poverty?

One year ago, Blog Action Day focused on the planet, and housebloggers from around the world talked about their green choices, recycling strategies and money saving tips. Green is/was fashionable; it feels good and is ‘easy’.

But what of poverty?

In a time when people are feeling the economic pinch, who really wants to talk about the ‘less fortunate’ when we already tend to consider ourselves the ‘less fortunate’? We housebloggers are lucky – we have houses, and therefore jobs. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have struggles, and it doesn’t mean that our every day crisis’ don’t create more stress then we can bare. What it does mean that we accepting our financial realities unashamed, applauding/encouraging each other to make positive changes in our lives.

Let’s face it, there is a good portion of the population that has been completely insulated from the economy – a class of worker that only has themselves to blame for any personal financial debacles. But the recent tide changes have meant that more and more people are becoming vulnerable to market instability and the vast majority of people centralize many of their decisions based on raw economics.

So what can we do?

In our household, we do what we can – which may not be much – but it counts for something.

We give to the Foodbank. We shop in bulk, clip coupons, purchase sale items and do our best to stretch out dollar. We also try to foster a giving spirit while we shop. We consider how much we just ‘saved’, and try to split the difference in donations. (It’s easy to grab a few extra tins of ‘whatever’ for the food bank – try!). If you can save money while helping someone less fortunate, consider the situation a clear win-win.

We have also been doing our best to de-clutter intelligently. Critically assessing the things we need and the things we don’t, and doing out best to make sure that anything we deem redundant doesn’t wind up in a landfill and given an opportunity to enrich someone else’s life. Sure, it may be our cast-off door, coffee maker etc., but for someone else these items may represent a ‘deal’ that saved them enough money to get buy, or a small luxury that made them feel whole. Never underestimate the ‘value’ of anything that still has use.

We frequent second-hand stores. We have found a staggering number of deals at consignment shops, charities etc., that we would have otherwise never looked for. The fact that purchasing ‘previously enjoyed’ keeps good items out of a landfill, while allowing sale proceed to help others is again a win-win.

Are we changing the world? No. Are we making a big difference – probably not. Are we getting a warm-fuzzy feeling despite our minimal efforts? Yes.

So what’s the point?

The point is that much like ‘green’ choices, individual actions mean little – but those decisions/acts add up to a lot when combined with all the efforts of countless others. If everyone changing one light bulb from an incandescent to a CFL can add up to millions of dollars in savings nation-wide, how could we change the face of poverty if we all gave one tin of food, one dollar to charity or volunteered a few hours of our time.

We live in a time where it’s almost a nescessity to obsess on ourselves and maintain our best interests – on October 15th, let’s try to steal one moment away from ourselves and think of others…

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