This I Belive

Jacob - Pearland, Texas
Entered on April 2, 2009

The other day I was watching a video that someone had made about world crisis. Different facts flashed across the screen about world hunger, disease, and other problems. I had heard many of the facts before and even though most of them were sad, they didn’t surprise me. However, one fact caught my eye. It was so crazy that I rewound the video to make sure I had read it correctly. It said that there are more people in slavery now than ever before in the history of earth. We’ve all heard about the transatlantic slave trade in the 1800s and slavery in the United States, but I had no idea it was still going on such a large scale. As I continued to watch the video, the facts on the screen began to have more meaning; every year Americans spend $40 billion on holiday related purchases, yet the estimated cost to provide clean drinking water to everyone on earth is only $10 billion, a child dies of starvation every five seconds. We hear these kinds of things every day, but how often do we do anything about it?

I believe that we have a responsibility to do something about these world problems. Instead of just hearing about these problems, and saying, “Man, that’s sad”, and going on with our lives, we need to act. How often do we see commercials on television or campaigns on billboards about aids and world hunger? Half the world is either dying of hunger and thirst and disease or being treated like animals and the most we can do is buy a one dollar wrist band saying that we “support” the problem. I believe we need to stop this snail’s pace advancement towards the solutions to these problems and start taking drastic measures that will actually make a difference. I’m not talking about collecting coke cans to cash in for money to donate to the cause. We need to do something big. Peter Singer, who was recently a guest on the Colbert Report, holds the belief that we should donate all the money that we don’t need for survival to charity. Of course, very few people are willing to make a sacrifice as big as this, but it is probably the right thing to do.

Since I saw that video, I haven’t looked at anything the same. I can’t help feeling guilty when I switch on my $200 mp3 player, or drive my $5000 car. Most people will probably say, “It’s not my problem”, and just go on with their lives. However, I refuse to believe that lie. I believe that it is our duty to help our fellow human beings who are less fortunate that us.