having enough money to have the things we want, when
we want them, is disappointing for anyone.
But genuine poverty means not having enough money
for the things you want most of the time. It also
means that you very often don't have money for
even the most basic things you need: food, clean
water, clothing, a place to live.
become trapped in poverty because they can't
scrape together enough money or resources to
get the things that would help them (or their
children) create a better life. Without
money they cannot buy land, tools and equipment, or
send their children to school. In fact even
in many places where school is free, the children
must work with the parents, simply so everyone can
people are so poor they must go a little hungry
every day, and so eventually become too weak or sick
to work at all. What's even sadder is that violence and wars
make it even harder for families to work or grow
At Earth's Kids
we know that this chronic poverty is not just a human crisis but
also an environmental one. Human beings who are struggling
to survive, who are scared they may not be able to feed their
families tomorrow or next week, will do whatever it takes to
find the next meal for their loved ones.
parts of the world this means killing endangered animals and/or cutting
down their habitats to create new places to farm. It
sometimes means cutting down every single tree in the local area to
provide wood for fires to heat homes and cook food. These actions are
extremely harmful to wild animal populations. But
they also end up causing greater poverty and hardship
for the local humans as well. In some regions the
disregard for the environment has led to a massive ecosystem
collapse. When this happens the land cannot provide
for anyone, not for humans and their livestock, and not for wild
Even in wealthy
nations like the United States people faced with economic
hardship may feel they have to do whatever it takes to provide
for their families, even working for or buying from companies
who hurt the Earth. And worse yet, when times are tough it is
easier to talk people into overturning the laws that protect the
Earth and its creatures in order to provide
resources more cheaply, especially fossil fuels like coal, oil,
and natural gas.
The fact is that whether they live in a
rich nation or a poor nation, most folks are just trying to have
enough of what they need in the present. They generally
mean well, but they may not
understand how the choices they make now could hurt them
or others in the
future. In short, poverty and economic hardship can
influence people to make choices they later regret.
But life doesn't have to be this way.
All over the world there are people teaching other
people how to build a better, more sustainable life.
And there are many organizations helping
the poor to get the stuff they need (food, shelter, tools)
until they can provide for themselves, without
destryong the environment. There are also many organizations working in both
rich and poor nations to help people learn to use
their resources wisely and to care for their local
ecosystems so that everyone has a better chance at
getting what they need, now and in the
a lot that kids can do to help out with this.
Kids can take action to help the poor and
needy in their local community or in other lands. Kids can get their family to donate money, or
get together with others to hold a fund-raising
drive. Or maybe just clean out their closets,
bookshelves, and yes, even toy boxes, to collect
nice things that they don't really need anymore and
donate them to kids who do need them through their local
some other charitable organization. Kids
can even have a grown up help them sell their old
and donate the money they raise this way!
But there are other things
kids and their families can do:
You can refuse to buy products
from companies that don't treat their employees
fairly, such as paying them enough to live and
giving "fair trade" for the value of their work.
And you can remind your parents (and
other adults) to get out and vote, especially when
there are laws or candidates on the ballot who will
have a big impact on issues related to poverty or
You can use
Use the Power of Information
through your email,
text messaging, and MySpace/Facebook/Twitter or
other social media to make
friends and family aware of important petitions
that affect poverty and environmental issues.
You can remember to
always treat people for who they are on the inside.
For example don't avoid being someone's
friend just because their clothes are shabby or out
of style. Feeling liked and supported can
help kids whose families are struggling with money
problems to keep a positive attitude, do well in
school, and create better opportunities for
themselves. Take a stand against
You can help
tutor another kid. It will boost their
self-esteem and their education and job
opportunities down the road.
Help your friends and
family learn about and support solutions for
The chaos, violence, and devastation of warfare
and political violence is one of the leading
causes of poverty.
Learn to live sustainably and support
businesses, organizations, and laws that protect
To give yourself even more
opportunities and ideas to help, check out the list below you
links to some great organizations who would like to
help you make a difference in the struggle against
Visit this very informative site to learn more
about the problem of hunger in the world and what you can do to
support CARE feed those in need. Started directly after World War II,
to help those affected by the war, CARE seeks to create "a world
of tolerance and social justice, where people have overcome poverty
and live in dignity and security." Helping people have the food,
housing, safety, education, and health care they need is what CARE is
Garden Harvest helps fight against hunger &
poverty by providing food-producing animals to the rural poor in such
To help Garden Harvest in its work you can
buy a farm animal for a needy
family (you select the animal on the GH website and pay GH the
money and they take care of getting it to the family), "adopt" a farm
animal (you will pay for it's feed, shots, etc. and it will provide
eggs for those in need), donate land to Garden Harvest (so they can grow
food for those in need), or
Garden Harvest also appreciates the donation of farm equipment (such as
tractors), all kinds of tools, as well as raw materials, like
lumber. Visit their
drop them some
mail for more information.
Since 1976, Habitat for
Humanity International has built more than 175, 000 houses, thus
providing shelter for nearly 900,000 people worldwide. Now at work in
100 countries, Habitat for
Humanity is building a house every 26 minutes. By 2005, Habitat
houses will be sheltering 1 million people. Just as amazing, these
homes were built by volunteers!
So much more than donating food to the hungry!
Heifer International gives
families the means to produce their own food and other necessary
products -- eggs, milk, wool, honey, and even wax. You choose what
kind of animal to donate, provide the funds, and Heifer International
will take care of the rest. (Vegetarians should keep in mind that
some kinds of animals are intended for meat production.) If you
don't want to donate an animal, you can
donate a tree!
Tree can stop the erosion that ruins topsoil and drinking water, and
many of them also provide useful food items as well. What's
great is that if you can't afford to give a whole tree (or a goat), you
can probably afford to donate seedlings.
Heifer International points out that 70% of the
world's poor are women. Furthermore, Women produce 80% of
developing world's food yet own less than 1% of the earth's land.
Yet many of these mothers have no one to help them raise and feed
their children. Heifer International's
Women In Livestock
Department gives these women their own livestock, so that they may
feed their children and earn money needed for shelter, clothing, and
school. How great would it be to hold a fundraiser through
your school, church, or youth group to raise money to give these moms
some lasting help?
NetAid offers programs, activities and
resources to engage young people in learning and action to help end
poverty around the world. NetAid is part of a growing movement of
people and organizations who believe that games have the power to foster
new perspectives and effect change. For example, their
role-play game World Class lets students ages 10 and older take on the
identity and situation of a real child living in Tamil Naduï¿½the site of
an actual NetAid project in south India.
Room to Read works for the education of
under-privileged children in various parts of the world. So far
they have built over 60 schools, and 700 libraries, throughout Cambodia,
India, Nepal and Vietnam.
This program, benefiting children in the U.S.
and 41 other countries, allows you to aid needy children through
donations, sponsorship, mentoring, and through online shopping at
sites which donate a portion of the proceeds to Save The Children.
Save The Children will help your sponsored child get enough to eat
each day plus provide the child with clothes and much more, depending
on the needs of the child and the amount of money you send.