1,250 human beings will die from extreme poverty in the next hour. They die continuously at this rate, without let up, day after day. The dying does not slow down on weekends or on holidays. Death has no concern for age, race, religion or gender. No one is spared. It is a relentless grinding machine that is partially fueled by our indifference, selfishness and intolerance. 24 hours from right now 30,000 more will have died and we will pretend it didn’t happen. One week from now 210,000 people will be dead and we will not feel any sense of guilt about it. How can this be? How can death claim so many, so quickly, while we calmly go about our lives oblivious to the slaughter that is going on in the world?

In the next 34 days extreme poverty will kill one million human beings. That is more than the population of Detroit, Michigan. Imagine the nation’s reaction if every resident in that city died within one month. New York City has a population of 8,275,000. It only takes nine months for extreme poverty to kill that many people…so in the length of time it takes to give life to one human being more than 8 million lose their lives. Of course, the saddest part of this tragedy is that it doesn’t have to happen. We can prevent these deaths if we choose to – and we should. How can we be willing to bring up our children in a world where we casually standby and let millions needlessly die?

When it comes to the fight against extreme poverty the key to saving as many lives as possible is speed. We do not have the luxury of time. We cannot wait until we make more money to start donating. We cannot wait until we have more free time to start volunteering. We cannot wait until it is more convenient for us to start caring, and we certainly can’t wait for corporations or governments to take action. It is up to us and we have to start right now. Every minute we wait kills another 20 human beings. In the time it takes you to take a sip of coffee three people die. In the time it takes you to eat a meal 400 people die. In the time it takes you to watch a baseball game 3,750 die. During the 8 hours you are asleep another 10,000 perish. It never ends.

The numbers, however, tend to obscure the fact these are human beings just like you and me. These people have done absolutely nothing wrong and yet criminals are treated better than they are. It is inexcusable that we get to relax in comfort, and that we have “free time to kill” while millions are fighting frantically against time to save their families. Time is not a luxury afforded to those who have life spans of only 45 years. It is not a luxury afforded to millions of children who will die before the age of five, and it is certainly not a luxury afforded to the millions afflicted HIV/AIDS who desperately need medication. Time is the brutal enemy of those struggling in extreme poverty.

Today is the day we have to begin to change the world. Not tomorrow, not next week and not at a time of our choosing. It has to be right now. We must join together in a common effort with others around the world and take an immediate stand against the never ending crush of despair that cripples the lives of millions. We cannot hesitate. We cannot waiver. We must be decisive and move quickly to stem the tide of suffering that grips one billion people on this planet.   

We cannot afford to procrastinate or make excuses. We cannot wait for someone else to tackle the problem because the responsibility rests with us. Now is the time for us to demonstrate our resolve and commitment to making life better for millions of fellow human beings. Now is the time to stop thinking only of ourselves and begin to focus on those who so desperately need our help. Now is the time to realize that the 80 people who have died while you were reading this post were innocent human beings who had much to offer to the world.

For the first time in history we have the ability to eliminate extreme poverty. It won’t be easy, and it will be a long battle, but we must get started. Death will not wait on us. It will claim every victim it possibly can if we hesitate. There is simply no excuse that can absolve us of our responsibility to save every life possible. No matter what our financial circumstances we can all afford to make at least some kind of monetary contribution to a relief organization. Even if it is only $5.00 a month, that will help. For the cost of one pack of cigarettes or one fast food meal you can feed 20 starving children. Is that too much of a sacrifice to make when human life is at stake? We need to be as generous as we possibly can, and we need to do it now. Immediately.



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