Every once in a while, something happens to jolt you out of your stupor. Today I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Marilyn Scott, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, and she did just that.
Dr. Scott was speaking primarily about the plight of people in the third world. The hunger, the lack of medical care, the education issues, the poverty, the basic human rights. Nothing we don't all know already, but I'm embarrassed how little we really think about these things in any more than an abstract sense.
Sometimes I wonder if instead of making things real to us, the media desensitizes us. Seeing a refugee camp or hearing about one is far, far different from the reality of such a camp. The reality is equal parts hope and despair, and no matter what you are doing or have done or plan to do to help, face-to-face, that reality makes you feel completely helpless.
We had a chance to speak to Dr. Scott after her presentation and it turned out she also teaches in the environmental program at McGill. She was interested in Anna's environmental projects and we had a great discussion about the wall we are heading towards (in terms of environmental disaster), the real costs of gas and fuel (that we should all be paying....maybe?) and the technological intervention that may be required by the next generation in order to change things for the better.
It seemed funny to speak about extreme global poverty on the one hand and western society's glut, greed and excess (that contributes so much to the environmental issues) on the other.
Made me feel sad.
We have so much. And contribute so little.