17 October is the International day for the eradication of poverty. Only two days ago, fellow bloggers were up in arms, and rightly so for a scourge which continues to claim its prize in human lives. According to the World Bank there are 1.4 billion people still living below the poverty line, surviving on $1.25 or less a day. 26,000-30,000 children die everyday from poverty according to UNICEF.
Understandably, most of the attention is directed to those who face extreme poverty in third world countries.
Spare a thought for poverty in our midst, right here at home in ‘ first world’ Australia. ACOSS estimated that there are around 2 million Australian living in poverty; many struggling to put enough food on the table (see where Australia stands in the OECD rankings). And yet, according to Diabetes Australia, 3.71 million Australian are sick from eating too much; costing the country $58 billion a year (full report). Add to this, the $500 or so million spent yearly on weight loss initiatives, much of which ends in failure.
On this day, the heart bleeds equally for both – those suffering from having too little to eat, and those suffering from eating too much.
Besides the tragic human costs of both poverty and over consumption, the country as a whole suffers economically, financially and socially. Ultimately we are all affected. There are no easy answers but as participants in an industry whose main business is ‘people’ , we ought to do whatever we can do.