global poverty

The Afternoon News: Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Ron Paul Defends The 99 Percent: ‘It’s A Very Healthy Movement’; SWAT Raids, Stun Guns, And Pepper Spray: Why The Government Is Ramping Up The Use Of Force; GOP Needs To Address Immigration In A 'Humane' Way; Gap Between Rich And Poor Widening Across The Developed World, As Bankers And Executives Reap More Income; Challenges At The Cutting Edge Of Fighting Global Poverty; Baby Boomers Heading Back To Seminary; Worst Year Ever For Greenhouse Gases.

Faith Without Borders

As Christians are we not obligated to help those who area most in need? Should we only focus on those in our own country who need our help, or does God's command us to ignore borders?

How might the words of the biblical prophet Isaiah resonate with us today, when he says: "If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."

Dear World: Please Wake Up!

Some sources have stated that more than 12 million people are being impacted by the worst drought and famine in the region of the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

12 million people.

How do you wrap your head around such a number?


You begin with one.

The World Food Programme, for example, has shared that they can provide a nutritious meal for one person for .17

Ending the Hunger Season

It's eight o'clock in the morning and I am standing at the base of perhaps the only mountain in southwest Florida. Actually, it's more of a hill. According to the plaque in front of me, this 50-foot-high, bulldozer-built mound is called the Tropical Highlands. The plaque’s description reads: "Steep land subject to severe eroding."

Joel Wildasin is the intern in charge of this part of the Global Farm, part of the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, or ECHO. He points uphill to the right to several terraces, a good method to slow erosion, but on the hill's left side is a better system. It's called SALT: Sloping Agricultural Land Technology, an intercropping pattern that alternates perennial hedgerows with annual cash crops. According to the folks here at ECHO, the SALT system outperforms terraces when growing crops on steep tropical hillsides.

I carefully study the left-hand slope. At first the overall effect is one of contained chaos; there are just too many different kinds of plants here to make sense of. Then I begin to see. There are three hedgerows roughly 75 feet long and spaced at intervals of 12 feet, each hugging the slope's contour. Within the hedgerows are at least four or five species of shrubs and trees. As perennial polycultures the hedgerows serve many purposes. They keep soil and water on the slope. They attract insect-eating birds. Some of the hedgerow plants fix nitrogen. Others, such as fish-poison bean (tephrosia) and neem tree, have insecticidal uses. With these hedgerows you're growing both your own fertilizer and your own insecticides, cash crops in between. Wildasin points out the demonstration plots of strawberries nestled comfortably among the hedgerows on the 20-degree slope. This SALT plot is a carefully designed system, one that mimics a natural ecosystem’s polyculture, where each interlinking part supports and enhances its neighbor.

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Poverty, Treasure Islands, and Global Tax Dodgers

Bahamasphoto © 2010 John Hilliard | more info (via: Wylio)
As Christians concerned about poverty, it is time to turn our full attention to the injustices of an "offshore tax system" that enables corporations and the wealthy to dodge taxes and impoverish countries around the world.

As members of Congress in the United States debate deep and painful budget cuts, people of faith should raise our voices against an unfair system that enables profitable U.S. corporations to dodge taxes, depleting an estimated $100 billion from the U.S. Treasury each year. Instead of cutting $1 trillion over the next decade from programs that assist the poor and ensure greater opportunity, we should eliminate these destructive tax gimmicks.

Recent reports show that aggressive tax dodgers such as General Electric, Boeing, and Pfizer, avoid billions in taxes a year. They use accounting gymnastics to pretend they are making profits in offshore subsidiaries incorporated in low- or no-tax countries like the Cayman Islands, thereby reducing their tax obligations in the United States. This system is unfair to domestic businesses that have to compete on an un-level playing field.