October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Is Poverty Good for the Environment?

blog action day.jpgToday is Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is poverty. The subject of poverty begs the question: Is poverty good for the environment? Certainly people living with less means have a smaller carbon footprint. They aren't jet-setting across the world in airplanes, driving Hummers, or buying expensive clothes they do not need.

I know several families that live below the official US poverty level by choice, and I have been there myself. They grow and store their own food, shop thrift stores for their clothes, and earn little money but are very self-sufficient. Of course, these content people are not the target of Blog Action Day. Their basic needs are met, they are not being taken advantage of by corporations, and they live in a healthy environment.

No one should live in hunger or without needed health care, but I also don't think the goal should be to raise all world citizens to the natural resource abusing level of middle and upper class Americans. Workers should be paid living wages so that they never have to wonder where their next meal is coming from, or if they will be evicted because they can't pay the rent.

Of course, the environment and poverty go hand in hand, as many people of low socio-economic status live in environmentally degraded, toxic, and polluted neighborhoods. Furthermore, environmentalism has been accused of being an elitist movement, as impoverished families cannot afford organic food or fashion. Poverty is a complex issue, and the environment should be considered in every discussion and resolution on the subject.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at October 15, 2008 1:23 AM

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