The alarm goes off; you hop into a nice warm shower that lasts about five minutes and uses 20 gallons of water. You pick out your clothes from an expensive collection of styles and colors, and then you head to the kitchen where you have an unbelievable choice of food for breakfast. Soon it is off to work in a car that cost more money than a billion people will each make in their lifetimes. You spend the day working at a job that pays you more per hour than a person in extreme poverty makes in 3 weeks. After 8 hours you will have made more money than 1 out of 6 human beings make in 3 months. During the course of the day you burn fossil fuel in your car and sit in an air-conditioned office, using up energy. You snack on high calorie junk food, and because your allergies have been acting up you take a prescription as well as an over the counter medication. Medical treatment and medicine are always available to you 24/7.

In the evening you go out for dinner with some friends. Your meat based meal including dessert and one mixed drink ends up costing $37.50. That is enough money to feed a meal to 150 starving children. The calorie count for your dinner is 3,630, more calories than a healthy adult needs for an entire day. You realize driving home that you are going to have to start using that treadmill again if you want the new clothes that you spent a small fortune on to fit. Because you chose to eat meat for dinner the corn and grain that was wasted fattening the beef was not available to people starving to death on the other side of the world. Throughout the day you have made a series of mindless decisions that have a profound effect on the survival chances of millions of people.

When you return home you have an array of modern conveniences to help you with your daily chores. You do a load of laundry and some vacuuming. The dishes have piled up so you run them through the dishwasher. All of these activities use energy and water at an amazing rate. You decide to have a cup of hot tea so you warm it up in the microwave and then you sit down in front of the new television you bought after your last raise and try to decide what to watch on the 300 channels you have available. As you click away you come across a cable news network doing a story about extreme poverty on the African continent, you stop and watch for a few seconds but the images of sick and dying children bother you so you quickly move on to an old re-run. Besides, what is the point of watching that depressing stuff anyway? They are clear on the other side of the world so what can you do about it.

After making it through all the channels once, you decide there’s nothing worth watching, so you get out your laptop and check your email. A couple of friends have sent you some jokes which you pass on to others. Also someone has sent you an article about the United Nations World Food Programme but you immediately delete that without bothering to read it. Thirty more minutes of surfing the web and you decide it’s time for bed. You think to yourself that it has been a pretty good day. You got a lot done even though your allergy problem has been a nuisance, and you feel good about tomorrow. The weekend is coming up and you’ve got big plans so there is a lot to look forward to. You feel like you know what the future holds. You have family, friends, good health, money and more possessions than you can keep track of. You are living a decent life. As you fall asleep feeling contented and safe your sprinkler system comes on wasting even more precious water so that your lawn will stay just as green as your neighbor’s.

The next morning you wake up and live the same day again. You are confident that you are a kind person, that you would never harm someone else. You try to be responsible and do your part. You are a good citizen, and you always try to vote. However sometimes it is inconvenient, and you suspect if doesn’t really make much difference since all politicians are alike. You spend your days trying to do the right things, but you do not actively do anything to improve the lives of others. You don’t volunteer because you are just too busy, and you certainly don’t have the money to donate to relief organizations because it cost so much to eat out and to shop at the mall.

However, in the back of your mind there is a nagging sense that there must be more important things in life than just having all the material items you want but don’t really need. Somewhere in your mind you realize how much you have compared to others. When you actually take the time to stop and think about it you know it is not right for some to have everything while others have nothing. These thoughts are irritating because they make you feel slightly guilty about the life you are fortunate enough to lead, but what really makes you feel bad is when you see the images on TV or on your computer of innocent children dying needlessly by the millions each year. It is just too sad to think about, so you force it from your mind. You tell yourself that life is too short to dwell on negative things. You have to focus on the positive and look at the good things the world has to offer. After all, it is your life to do what ever you please with. You have to think about your needs. You have to take care of yourself.





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