"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, August 9, 2007

If the World Were a Village of 100 People

I thought I'd share this!

My daughter's junior high school teacher is a wonderful woman who sends out an e-mail every day to her student, in the form of a class paper. Among those messages there was one that so moved me that I want to send it to you. Sorry it's a bit long.

When you woke this morning, did you look forward joyously to the day?
When you go to bed tonight, do you think you will be filled with satisfaction?
Do you think the place you are is precious?

It is to you who cannot say right away, "Yes, of course" that I send this message.
If you read this, the things around you might start to look a little different.

In the world today, 6 billion 300 million people live.
If this world were shrunk to the size of a village,
what would it look like?
If 100 people lived in this village,

52 would be women, 48 would be men.
30 would be children, 70 would be adults.
7 would be aged.

90 would be heterosexual, 10 would be homosexual.
70 would be nonwhite, 30 would be white.
61 would be Asian, 13 African, 13 from North and South America, 12 Europeans, and the remaining one from the South Pacific.

33 would be Christians, 19 believers in Islam, 13 would be Hindus, and 6 would follow Buddhist teachings. 5 would believe that there are spirits in the trees and rocks and in all of nature. 24 would be believe in other religions, or would believe in no religion.

17 would speak Chinese, 9 English, 8 Hindi and Urdu, 6 Spanish, 6 Russian, and 4 would speak Arabic. That would account for half the village. The other half would speak Bengal, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, or some other language.

In such a village with so many sorts of folks, it would be very important to learn to understand people different from yourself and to accept others as they are. But consider this. Of the 100 people in this village,
20 are undernourished, 1 is dying of starvation, while 15 are overweight.
Of the wealth in this village, 6 people own 59% (all of them from the United States), 74 people own 39%, and 20 people share the remaining 2%.
Of the energy of this village, 20 people consume 80%, and 80 people share the remaining 20%.
75 people have some supply of food and a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 25 do not. 17 have no clean, safe water to drink.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet and spare change somewhere around the house, then you are among the richest 8.
If you have a car, you are among the richest 7.

Among the villages, 1 has a college education. 2 have computers. 14 cannot read.

If you can speak and act according to your faith and your conscience without harassment, imprisonment, torture or death, then you are more fortunate than 48, who can not.

If you do not live in fear of death by bombardment, armed attack, landmines, or of rape or kidnapping by armed groups, then you are more fortunate than 20, who do.

In one year, 1 person in the village will die, but in the same year, 2 babies will be born, so that at the year's end the number of villagers will be 101.

If you can read this site, that means you are thrice-blessed.
First, because someone thought of you and sent you this message.
Second, because you are able to read.
Third, and most important, because you are alive.

Someone once said: "What you send out comes back again".

So sing from the bottom of your heart,
dance with your body waving free,
and live, putting your soul into it.
And when you love,
love as though you have never been wounded,
even if you have.
And love the fact that you and others,
live here in this village.

Perhaps if enough of us learn to love our village,
it may yet be possible to save it from being torn apart.

C. Douglas Lummis

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