The German language has a phrase for an event that is
beneficial but at the same time causes unforeseen problems. When looking at the
s-curve of world population I had to wonder what that curve looked like before
the advent of the Green Revolution.
The Green Revolution has undoubtedly saves hundreds of
millions of lives from starvation, and has increased our planet’s carrying
capacity to exponentially higher levels. However, with starvation still
prevalent, not to mention the growing need for fresh water, I wonder whether
there is a greater number of people who are at risk of premature death in our
world than that of the 1950s.
At the same time, it isn’t moral to be idle in witness to the
tragedies that afflict the people in our world. If we can produce food to feed
the millions of homeless people left in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, then we
had better do it because not striving to end suffering is cruel. What it means
though, is that we need to always be conscious of not only providing for the
world’s poorer population now, but predict the areas where problems will arise
for the population in the future: disease control, clean water and civil
More than just donating money, people need to be distressed by
what they watch on the news. Real impact is made by people and families who are
so moved that they agree to sponsor a child through organizations like World
Vision or Compassion International or to serve themselves in those poor
communities, much like we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when a
flood of families and students drove to New Orleans to share the labor.
Obviously, not everyone can take 2 weeks off of work to help
out, but chances are that we aren’t doing as much as we are able to do. For
students, there’s a lot that we can actively participate in. Project Haiti is
one organization at Penn State that runs annual spring break trips to serve the
poor community in Haiti. I’ve also learned that in light of the earthquake,
Project Haiti is now accepting donations of old clothing to bring to the
homeless when they visit Pandiassou, so if you have some old clothes lying
around that don’t fit, then please contact one of the officers here.