A recent Oxfam International Tweet that referred to “The Doughnut” caught my eye and I wanted to share the story behind it. Oxfam Senior Researcher Kate Raeworth penned a paper titled, “A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: can we live within the doughnut?”. The paper focuses on presenting an overall solution to the overwhelming reality that our world will soon house 9 billion people and cannot handle the 7 billion will have currently. The purpose of the paper is to “encourage public debate in the run-up to the UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) in June.”
The concept is simple really. There are 11 “Social Boundaries” which make up the center of the doughnut – including food, health, water – all of which were determined by governments participating in the Rio+20.
The outer edge consists of 9 “Planetary Boundaries”. These were determined in 2009, and are the crucial elements necessary to keep the world in the stable state of “holocene” – a state which the earth has been in for 12,000 years. We have already crossed through in three of these areas: climate change, nitrogen use, and biodiversity loss.
The idea is that as long as we stay within “the safe and just space for humanity”, all will be balanced and thrive. It was especially interesting to read the author write, “Who’s stressing the planet? The rich, not the poor“. According to Oxfam 13% of the world population do not have enough food, yet it would only take 1% of the global food supply to change this reality.
I think that the doughnut is a wonderful concept - albeit idealistic – and I don’t mean that it a negative way, because I consider myself somewhat of an idealist. It highlights what is important, and though there is so much that will have to change – not only in the way that we do things, but the way that we think - I am hopeful that the pattern of positive change and growing compassion which I see within my own circles and community will spread further and further.
What do you think about the doughnut? Realistic or idealistic?
Political turmoil and corruption have plagued the country for many years, which means there will be little rebuilding, but instead, many projects will be starting from scratch.
Reading about the lack of progress was disheartening. I like to think of myself as a global citizen, though a separation enters into the picture when I put myself into the shoes of a mother of two living in a tent in the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince. Her basic needs of water, food, and shelter are not being met, and I have an abundance of each.
There is no denying that there are still major issues in Haiti, however, at this point in my life, I do not spend much time dwelling on what I cannot control. Instead I try to turn that compassion in to action. For myself, my action is my voice and whenever I can, monetary donations.
Today I wanted to share the progress that HAS been made thanks to the many hard working volunteers, charities/nonprofits, and others who have take the time, and donated the funds:
Sean Penn’s charity J/P HRO has a long list of accomplishments including removing 148,000 cubic meters of rubble to clear the streets, and sending 30,000 people from tents into “relocations and neighborhood redevelopment”. (He along with celebs Zooey Deschanel, Eric Dane, Sarah Silverman and more have also raised $46,000 on Crowdrise to date.)
OXFAM raised $106 million for rebuilding efforts. Their list of work is also a long one, and includes preventing the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera, which has claimed the lives of nearly 7000 Haitians since the earthquake.
World Food Programme has purchased 3000MT’s of rice from local farmers for food programs in schools so that children can have warm meals everyday.
UNICEF has provided “malnutrition screening and treament for 400,000 children, nutrition and breastfeeding counseling for 500,000 new mothers,” and “reunification of more than 2,700 children separated from their parents”.
What are you thoughts about the current situation in Haiti?
The situation is not improving in East Africa, and according to Oxfam America President Raymond C. Offenheiser, 25% more people could potentially be effected in the near future.
If you are located in Canada, visit the Humanitarian Coalition to learn more about how you can help. Donations made until September 16, 2011 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian government.
Those based elsewhere can visit the Oxfam website to make a donation.
Source: Countdown With Keith Olbermann