I just completed World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine with my students. This is my 4th year of participating in this event and it has proven to be an excellent opportunity for raising awareness, not just about world hunger and need, but also about wasteful tendencies. As a society we speak passionately about protecting the environment and helping the needy; we are also a charitable people, ready to give of our surplus. Yet sometimes our habits don’t align with our heart.
Think about it: we drive when we can walk, we sit inside with lights on and AC running when we could be outside, we trash what we could reuse, recycle, or repair, and we throw away food simply because we don’t like it, put too much on our plates, or because it’s not been refrigerated for a couple of hours. Our society promotes these wasteful habits through fear of lawsuits (when it comes to restaurants or supermarkets and food) or for profit (if people conserve gas, energy, or products there will be less consumerism).
The previous paragraph was harsh, I know, and once again I include myself in my generalizations. I am drawn to ease, preferring to drive rather than walk if I’m in a rush or buying something new instead of repairing what’s broken. I don’t want to get sick from eating bad food. However, we cannot deny the fact that we are able to choose ease and luxury because we are a priviliged society, and we are a minority. The majority of people in the world struggle for one meal a day that often comes from the refuse pile. They wear rags and sleep in shelters constructed of corrugated metal and trash bags. They long for what we throw away.
So I challenge you to embrace your luxury of choice. Change one wasteful habit this month and add another one next month. We don’t have to be ashamed of our status or our wealth; we can view them as an opportunity to make a difference one little choice at a time.