THE BLOG
25/11/2013 06:01 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

The Power of Hope

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The recent Nepal elections provide a great deal of hope for moving the country forward. Most importantly, this election gives citizens the right to elect their leaders showing democracy in action especially because this is only the second election since the "People's War" ended in 2006. Hope, which can always be found, no matter one's circumstances, enables us to dream about making our world a better place.

Imagine taking hope a step further and creating a world in which people really wanted to help one another, are kind to others, with more resource access and equality. What a different world we would live in if there was no poverty, everyone had food security and a roof over their head, a job, full human rights no matter where they lived, preventative health care and all children were able to be educated, without being forced into child labor/bondage or becoming part of a militia. Given the vast resources in the world, not only financial, but also in people willing to volunteer and share their skills, shouldn't we be able to create such a world?

Recently Typhoon Haiyan, a major cataclysmic event occurred in the Philippines. Seemingly people across the globe, intentionally and without any "strings attached", changed their behaviors, opened their wallets and their hearts and really cared, even for a short period of time, about those living in another part of the world. But emergencies, at least in some cases, tend to open up people's hearts. Given the results of climate change, becoming more generous might need to be a growing trend.

Contrast this with human rights abuses throughout the world, e.g. Qatar building stadiums for the World Cup 2022 through the labor of migrants, see the Amnesty International Report on the Dark Side of Migration, or the close to 30 million people enslaved throughout the world as noted in the recently published Global Slavery Index, from the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation. What about the number of innocent people who are dying in on-going conflicts such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Darfur, and Syria, have we forgotten about the recent use of poisonous gas. What about those killed in the civil war in Sri Lanka by mostly government and "insurgent forces" or the number of innocents maimed and killed in African countries due to the harvesting of diamonds? Conflicts abound with vast amounts of resources, $1753 billion in 2012, spent by countries on military expenditures. At the recent Dubai Air Show, which was not for military purposes, over $150 billion in contracts were signed. I do understand that this will maintain and/or create jobs, but are our priorities out of whack?

A friend recently said to me, it isn't about the money because there is a lot of foreign aid for so called "developing countries". The question becomes, is this foreign aid put to its intended use, i.e. for improved infrastructure, providing people with secure livelihood opportunities, access to better health care, children being "properly" educated to think critically, breaking down gender, caste and ethnic differences, addressing climate change so that those most impacted will be food secure?

All of this seems to comes back to our willingness to collaborate, be inclusive and enabling people, i.e. those that we consider to be "different", to have full access to resources. I know that this is all complicated, that deep seated hatred of others has been going on for generations, that cultural misunderstandings occur on a regular basis, the we want to create wealth for only our families, that we view others as "them". But the fact remains that we, especially the younger generation, must work to overcome long held beliefs, which threaten our very existence.

The corporate sector must play a lead role in helping to change priorities, to save our planet and create more hope. But this can only be accomplished if individuals within the corporate sector, and for that matter the government sector, are willing to change their attitudes, not be overly greedy and consider what might be best for those most impacted, those living in poverty and asking "them", and civil society, what they want.

It isn't that we all need to build huge houses, to show off our wealth. Rather it is more about building smaller energy efficient, less costly homes that comfortably fit our families, that pay attention to climate change and can be occupied by everyone. It isn't about the amount of money that can be made from selling military equipment to anyone who can pay, but is about the number of schools, health care facilities and appropriate jobs that we create, so that everyone has equal access to the resources that we all aspire to. It isn't about spending loads of money on " gadgets or toys" or how fashionable we are, but it is about teaching people how to most economically and grow healthy organic food so that we are all food secure and there is no malnutrition.

We have the resources and possess the technology, whether hi-tech or appropriate to change the world, to ensure that we can all live without fear. Maybe all that it takes is that we remember what it is like to help others when there is a natural disaster that we may have, in fact, created through our selfishness. We need to be more about kindness, being aware and thinking of others, creating hope so that we can all enjoy the richness which this life offers.

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