The topic for Blog Action Day this year is poverty. I think it is an extremely important topic for discussion, particularly this year. Here in the United States we're facing a critical presidential election, and an economic crisis of near-epic proportions. I am not convinced either presidential candidate has a viable plan for dealing with the crisis, either, but this is not a political blog, so I won't dwell any more on that topic.
Like most people, I don't have large amounts of money to donate to my pet causes. We grow some of our own food because we like the idea of self-sufficiency, certainly, but also out of necessity. Food prices are rising and if we want fresh foods, we have to find a way to produce them. So, perhaps I am not the best person to talk about poverty... but perhaps I (and others like me) are. After all, we're much closer to it than the Washington, D.C. policy wonks or the Hollywood crowd, aren't we?
So, what can we do to help? First, we can educate ourselves on the scope and extent of the problem. One of my favorite sites for obtaining background information on a topic is Wikipedia, and here's what they have to say on the subject: Wikipedia: Poverty. Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source for a topic, and certainly you need to independently verify what you find there, but for basic information, it's a good start.
Next, we can get involved in the public debate and policy formation by entering into conversations with our legislators. You can find your local legislators at Project Vote Smart Vote Smart. E-mail them and find out what their stance is on poverty; share your views while you're at it.
Finally, we can take action. I like the idea of sustainable agriculture and microfinance, so I keep tabs on Heifer, on The Microfinance Gateway and on Kiva.
If (like us) you don't have any money to donate, you can grow a few extra vegetables to donate to your local food bank. At Thistledew, the only thing we have in abundance this year is eggs, but eggs are a good source of protein, and they're versatile. So, I'll be donating some eggs to the local food bank - it's a small thing, to be sure, but small things add up to big ones, don't they?
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