Living Beyond the Line

1.4 Billion of people live of less than 1.5 Dollar a day. Wanna try?

The Live Below the Line project challenges people around the world to step into the shoes of the poorest and live on less than 1.5 Dollar a day for five days. This year it will take place from May 7th until May 11. Continue reading

Sorry But We Gotta Help Ourselves Now

After books like Deadaid and  The White Man’s Burden we are aware that development aid is not just something inherently good.

But if the rich countries in the North suddenly make huge cuts in their aid-budgets that can only lead into even worse situations. That is because the aid industry has created a system of dependency over the last years and aprubt cuts of these supplies – possibly combined with even more protectionism – can have serious impact for the poorest. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening right now. Continue reading

The Sustainability Compass

Imagine we’d know which way to navigate towards a sustainable development of our planet.

A planet which has boundaries – or with more positive words “a safe operation space for humans”. We must respect it. Yet, that is not enough. We must also seek to find socially just solutions. That is when we can speak of inclusive and sustainable development. Continue reading

Charity Or Fairness

The idea is good. Helping those in need and stopping hunger. The solution can be debated, though.

Bill Gates is investing in the fight against hunger which keeps on rising thanks to global warming. He offers GM foods and geo-engineering as a solution. That is when things become more complicated. Continue reading

Open the Borders

The question is: how far are we willing to go to make the world better for everyone?

That is always and definitely a good basis for discussion. If you want to make the argument even more heated, introduce this idea to your next talk: eradicate poverty by eliminating borders. Continue reading

Is Organic Food Only for the Rich?

I keep coming across notions like: “yes, but poor people don’t have the means to buy organic”. Are the 1% also holding the monopoly on good food?

You might say yes. Most people cannot afford organic. If you go to the supermarket, the bio brand will cost more than the conventional. Yes. But is it all really that simple? Let us have a closer look. Continue reading

Boys and … Girls.

In many countries children are not simply children. There is a difference if you are born as a boy or as a girl.

Just think about it: in many countries in the world parents are hoping that the mother gives birth to a son whenever she is pregnant. That slight dissapointment when the child turns out to be a girl is not the best way of starting a life. Continue reading

Dear Mandela.

What happened after Apartheid in South Africa? A documentary gives us an update on the beautiful country down south.

“I would like to meet Nelson Mandela and ask him how does he feel; what he has been jailed for has never been achieved” a young man says in the trailer. The documentary Dear Mandela shows brave young people continuing the fight for equal rights in South Africa. Continue reading

More Than Nothing

Today I would like to introduce you to Raj Patel, who calls himself writer, activist and academic (in that order). Others even call him the Antichrist, which sounds even more appealing, doesn’t it?

So who is Ray Patel? He says about himself that he “has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world.” Which to me already makes him an interesting figure. He has studied in England and the United States and has written several books. His books talk about the poor and the world food system which starves people on one hand and makes them obese somewhere else. Continue reading