The CBC holds an annual writing contest called Canada Writes, which challenges writers to come up with their best 200 words under strict deadlines. Following is our entry, and readers of this site will recognize the familiar theme promoting the real potentials of world peace.
World peace is coming, and it will be here within 20 years. A fanciful dream? No, it is firmly rooted in reality.
Technology has been arriving at an accelerating pace, bringing us cheaper, better technology sooner and sooner. Within a decade, we will have the means to meet the basic needs of every human on earth, letting us address a root grievance that contributes to war – poverty.
Along with addressing poverty, technology also presents new powers of communication… powers which will help form new channels of dialogue. Dialogue is an integral path to peace for it allows warring parties a way to bridge the gap with words instead of bombs. As well, dialogue can re-humanize an enemy, making it harder to kill another fellow human being.
Finally, technology is uniting our world like never before. Social networking sites are enabling the formation of huge, well-organized communities, which will grow to become more powerful than corporations or governments. Combine the might of these groups with instant messaging tools, and we will be able to mobilize to action in real time.
United, we will make our world everything we want it to be… peaceful and prosperous.
As we move forward into a new age of world peace, where cooperation takes precedence over conflict, a small yet significant change will take place in the psyches of many people on earth. This change will be in our own personal identity… in the way that we perceive our role in the world.
Being part of One World, the Global Tribe, the World’s Community, means we’ve undergone an expansion to our own identity. We now view our selves as members of the Global Village. We see ourselves as part of the human species, one with all others sharing this giant ball of matter as it hurls through space.
As we grow to accept this global paradigm, being one of the world’s people becomes one more notch in our own personal identity. Along with all the other ways we may identify ourselves – our music taste, our hobbies, our sports interests or favorite sports teams, our heritage, our nationality, our fashion style, our occupation, our education – we also recognize the fact that we are human from planet earth.
While it is just a small step, just one more way of looking at ourselves, it has huge ramifications for our world. As we expand our identity to include being a member of the global village, something remarkable happens: every other human on earth inherently becomes, on some level, part of our own group, part of our own extended family, part of us. So, these people who were once strangers, who were once part of the “Out-group”, part of “them”, “they”, “the outsiders”, now shifts to be part of the “in-group”, part of “us”, “we”, our side.
Now, this doesn’t mean we need to immediately sacrifice ourselves for our new extended family, or really change our behavior dramatically. But what does happen is that number of outside threats, the number of enemies in the world, suddenly drops dramatically. The world isn’t so scary, anymore, as our common humanity reveals itself.
This way, we can move forward into a new age, building trust, building channels of communication, building stronger and larger communities… all of which will be instrumental in the formation of a world of peace.
In the previous post, we showed how poverty is war, in that poverty is a root factor that leads to violence and war. So, in order to foster peace in our world, we need to address the issue of poverty.
Fortunately, poverty has been on the decline for many years, which is great news. As we keep getting rid of poverty, especially extreme poverty, we will keep seeing a corresponding drop in war.
Thanks to the snowball effect, addressing poverty will keep getting easier. On the one hand, we will continue to develop cheaper, better technology along with more effect means to help people rise out of poverty. On the other hand, the world will continue to be in a better position to help out those in need.
Within the next couple decades, we will have eliminated extreme poverty forever, and will move on to addressing the less severe forms of poverty. Soon enough, the basic needs of every human on earth will be met, and world peace will manifest itself into reality. Hooray for peace!!!
With each passing day, we are drawing closer to a world without extreme poverty… this is just awesome! But what is also awesome of equal or greater proportions is that as we eliminate poverty, so too will we be eliminating war! This is because poverty is war, meaning a life in poverty is a root grievance that leads many people to take up arms.
Relative poverty refers to the poorest people living in wealthy nations. Welfare moms, drug addicts, and homeless people might come to mind when we think of poor people. But relative poverty should not be confused with the more severe kinds of poverty… they are worlds apart.
In America, for example, relative poverty would mean living on less than about $30 a day. In our world, moderate poverty means living on less than $2 a day, and extreme poverty means living on less that $1 a day. 2.7 Billion people live in moderate and extreme poverty in our world today… about 40 percent of our world’s population.
If we imagine how we might fare if we had to endure extreme or moderate poverty ourselves, it can be easy to see how life in extreme poverty might lead to a less than favorable roles in life. Criminal, extremist, and violent organizations can all find an ample supply of recruits looking for their slice of the pie.
We already have the means to change this, we have the resources to end extreme poverty within a year. Estimates show that we could end starvation around the world for $195 billion a year. This may seem like a lot, but it is less than 15 percent of our world’s military budgets.
But no matter, thanks to the cyclical nature of world improvement, the battle against poverty will continue to get easier. This means that, within one or two decades, we will be ending extreme poverty forever. And as we do this, we will also be removing a primary force contributing to war. Hooray!
Did you know that the world today is the most peaceful it has ever been in modern human history? Well, despite what those who profit from fear may want us to believe, its true… we are indeed living in a time of peace. The world has been getting more and more peaceful every day for quite some time.
A comprehensive study by the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia found that “the number of armed conflicts has declined by more than 40 percent since 1992”. This same study also shows how, after five decades of inexorable increase, “the number of genocides and violent conflicts dropped rapidly in the wake of the cold war”. As well “wars are not only less frequent today, they are also far less deadly.”
We are truly fortunate to be part of this generation. Not only are we becoming more peaceful, we are also becoming more prosperous. Up until the 1800′s, the vast majority of us lived in moderate to extreme poverty, and our average life expectancy was 30 years. Now, just 200 years later, only 20 percent of us live in extreme poverty, and the average life expectancy in our world is 70 years.
It is no coincidence that we have more peace and more prosperity, for the two walk hand in hand. As we eliminate poverty from our world, we will be removing a root grievance that leads many people to take up arms – meaning a world without extreme poverty is a world much closer to having a lasting peace.
The phenomenon responsible for such vast improvements over the past two centuries is something we like to call the Snowball Effect, and it refers to how, much like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill, the movement towards a better world has been gaining speed and size with every step.
As we can see in the graphic, gains in any of these key factors leads to a better world, which in turn, makes it easier for us to achieve gains in all the other factors.
To see a real world example of the snowball effect in action, we can look at a case involving a Kenyan farmer named John. John’s life changed when he was introduced to an ingenious device called the MoneyMakerPlus. The MoneyMakerplus is a low-cost, manually powered water pump, designed by a Nairobi based non profit group called KickStart.
John’s land used to be sparse and dry, for he relied on a bucket to water his crop. Now, thanks to his affordable water pump, he sees a seven fold increase in his crop yield. 45,000 others have bought a MoneyMakerPlus, and many, like John, have seem dramatic improvements to their farms.
In this example, we can see many of the factors of the snowball effect at play. The group who designed the pump – KickStart – are people helping to improve the world. The MoneyMakerPlus is the fruit of some advanced engineering, which comes thanks to improved education. The result is cheaper, better technology. This technology, in turn, improves agricultural yields.
Thanks to the surplus crops, farmers like John can now afford a better education for their children and an improved quality of life. For those who’ve been given a way out of the trap of extreme poverty, we can see a real surge of hope and optimism. The same holds true for the people working to improve the world – they get to see that their efforts really can work.
While John and the MoneyMakerPlus may highlight how the snowball effect works, it certainly is not an isolated case. Everywhere around the world, every single one of us have been gaining access to better tools, new resources, more information… all of which will give us the power to become more productive. We will get more out of our days and more from our labor.
To those of us who already live in a developed nation, this might not be an overwhelming improvement, but to the 20 percent of the human race – the 1.4 Billion people who still live in extreme poverty – the snowball effect will show dramatic improvements to their quality of life. It will mean they are no longer starving to death, or getting sick from easily preventable diseases, and to them, this will be life-changing.
And for everyone on earth, the snowball effect will mean that we get to enjoy living in a world that is consistently improving. Eventually, thanks to our cyclically improving world, we will reach the point to where we’ve eradicated extreme poverty, eliminated institutionalized war, and ushered in a new age of equality, peace and prosperity.
With each passing day, our world improves faster than the day before. A better world is coming… believe it.