Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Have's and the Have Nots

By DJ Mojo Jojo

With the observance of Earth Day on April 22 fast approaching, the media seems to be abuzz with efforts to save the planet and promote a healthy and sustainable environment. More than just preserving the Earth and it's limited resources, such an observance was borne from the world’s growing population and genuine want to provide for ALL.

While Earth Day has been an annual celebration since 1969, it seems like our planet is still plagued with the same dilemma of the “HAVE’S” and “HAVE NOT’S.” Although we worry about building a sustainable lifestyle which will see humanity on through the decades and into the next century, it still pains me that there are just so many who do not have the “basic necessities” that most of us take for granted everyday.


Given the current resources of our lonely planet, the fact of the matter is that there IS plenty to go around. Poverty and gross inequity can be alleviated if not for the disparate allotment of the Earth’s resources. Millions of men, women and children continue to go hungry while others gorge themselves into obesity or foolishly waste food unsparingly. Some people have no bed to rest in and sleep on cold dirt floors while the lucky ones own comfortable homes - far removed from the poverty that is a way of life for so many of their fellow men.

Mankind is supposed to be the steward of the Earth’s bounty, but it is apparent that we are not living up to this responsibility. Instead of sharing and providing for all, it the virtue of charity has taken a backseat to those who would horde, monopolize, perpetuate greed or just plainly live an apathetic or aloof lifestyle, unaffected by the plight of those who struggle to scrape by on a day-to-day existence.


The fact that you are reading this blog-post makes you one of the HAVE’S as opposed to one of the HAVE NOT’S. Chances are you enjoy access to much of the planet's resources that millions of men, women and children will never experience in a lifetime. But are you fully aware of how lucky you really are?

This brings me to a website that was featured on our radio program just recently. According to a movie found on, “If the Earth were reduced to 100, it would look something like this…”

The site states:

The text that originated this movie was published on May 29, 1990 with the title “State of the Village Report”, and it was written by Donella Meadows, who passed away in February 200. Nowadays Sustainability Institute, through Donella’s Foundation, carries on her ideas and projects.

The miniature Earth project was first published in 2001, since then more than 2 million people have visited its website.

The statistics have been updated based on specialized publications, and mainly reports on the World’s population provided by different resources, like UN publications, and others. Bear in mind that these are only statistics, and consequently changes might occur after a few months or only after years.

The website’s movie, paints a startling picture of how unfair like is for the vast majority of humankind. By itemizing the statistics of a microcosm of the Earth’s population, the site implores one to ponder what they can do to help their fellow men. If not a poignant list of facts that will educate and open your mind to how iniquitous the world really is, urges readers to “appreciate what you have and do your best for a better world.”


If we could turn the population of the Earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would be something like this…

ETHNICITY: 61 Asians, 12 Europeans, 8 North Americans, 5 South Americans and from the Caribbean, 13 Africans, 1 from Oceana

BY SEX: 50 men, 50 women

LIVING CONDITIONS: 47 live in an urban area, 43 live without basic sanitation, 18 live without an improved water source, If you keep your food in a refrigerator and your clothes in a closet and if you have a bed to sleep in and a roof over your head you are richer than 75% of the entire world population

RELIGION: 33 are Christian, 18 are Muslim, 14 are Hindu, 16 are non-religious, 6 are Buddhists, 13 practice other religions

ECONOMY & WEALTH: 6 people own 59% of the entire wealth of the entire community, if you have a bank account then you’re one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world

EDUCATION: 14 can’t read, only 7 are educated at a secondary level

HEALTH: 9 are disabled, 13 are hungry or malnourished, 1 adult aged 15-49 has HIV/AIDS

MILITARY SPENDING: The village spends more than US$ 1.12 trillion on military expenditures and only US$ 100 billion on development aid

DAY TO DAY SURVIVAL: 18 people struggle to live on US$ 1.00 per day or less, 53 people struggle to live on US$ 2.00 per day or less

COMPUTERS: Only 12 have a computer, only 3 have an internet connection

* * *

Given the statistics above, I’d like to modify a familiar phrase: “It’s a small world, after all… and an unnecessarily unfair one at that!”