The Lives We Can Save

During this time of year, it’s all about celebrating for us. With gifts, good food and family activities, it’s easy to think that this time of year is the best . But, seeing how we live in cozy, economically stable and safe Canada, it’s hard to imagine that there are millions of children all over the world with nothing–hardly any food, water and shelter. While we complain about going to school, kids in the third-world will give anything just to go, and while we complain about not having the latest iPhone, kids in the third-world have to walk for almost an hour just to get safe drinking water.

Peter Singer, the Australian philosopher, explains to us in his book The Life You Can Save all the common objections to giving to charities and explains how they’re not actually just. He writes how much $100-$400 spent on unnecessary things such as eating out could be spent for the better. He explains how many women in the third-world need to get their fistulas fixed (an injury caused usually by childbirth), it’s a relatively small price to give back a woman’s life because fistulas lead to  bad smells which leads to the husband believing his wife is cursed, he leaves her and she usually spends the remainder of her whole life alone. Throughout the book Singer makes the reader ashamed (at least it made me), all the useless things we buy such as plastic water bottles seems so wasteful now because Calgary has some of the healthiest water in the world.

Although guilt is not a pleasant feeling it is still important that we feel this way and acknowledge the discomfort that is the difference between living in the first world and the third world.  It teaches us to be humble and not care only about materialistic possessions and it also teaches that people in the third-world need our donations just to have essential things such as medicine. I’m not suggesting we should stop celebrating with our families and not enjoy the holidays, but I believe that giving to the unfortunate needs to be made more frequent and more normal. Just giving a small amount to charity (most won’t even miss it that much) will go a long way.

(Some websites worth going to)

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