Today is Blog Action Day! Today bloggers unite to raise awareness about one issue: poverty.
Globally, poverty is inextricably linked with the environment. There are many green things you can do combat poverty by considering the environment as well. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but five quick ways to get started.
1. Read, Read, Read! In addition to traditional forms of media such as books, newspapers and magazines, *Blogs* (like this one, and the ones on our blogroll) are fantastic ways to get updated on current issues. On our blog you can learn about products and ideas that make can make a huge difference to some of the poorest people on the globe, such as the Q drum, and the Solar Ice Maker.
2. Think Locally: Poverty is not just a *global issue*, but a *local* one as well. Make the switch to buying local. Increasingly, local business owners and farmers are struggling to make ends meet as they are losing sales to large corporations (who can offer cheaper prices due to purchasing power). The important part is that when you invest this way in the community, more of the dollars spent will stay in the community. Local products also reduce the number of trucks on the road, and shopping locally increases your connection with your community.
3.Give: There are so many worthy causes that need the funding to attack rampant world poverty, and often philanthropy is reduced during times of economic instability. If you do not have the resources to give (or even if you do), consider making a micro-loan. Micro-credit, although not the cure-all, assists the poor with very small loans to help those who would not qualify for a typical bank. In 2006, Mohammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank (which he founded) were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the development of this successful micro-credit loan. There are a few major organizations involved in this: check out Kiva, and this post for a summary about what they do from fellow blogger Max Gladwell.
4. Engage in Social Entrepreneurship. This practice is recognizing a social issue (in our case poverty and environmental issues), and using entrepreneurial skills to create social change. There are some excellent models to learn about and participate in. Ashoka is one organization that has been in the foreground of social entrepreneurship, creating a network of global social entrepreneurs and providing a framework for making social change, and then actually going into the field and implementing these community changing projects.
5. Demand Legislation: Environmental legislation is not just intended to protect land, but the people who both live on and in reliance on the land. In the U.S. it will take a bi-partisan effort to protect the environment. Making this issue an integral part of every political campaign is necessary to protect our landscape for our future. Issues as important as poverty and the environment are as important as we make them to be as citizens. Ask questions, identify candidates views, and hold everyone accountable.