Tuesday, March 29, 2011
After giving my speech, I took my place in the audience at a youth rally. The next keynote speaker rose and began his speech by saying that ours was the first generation in the history of mankind that had the ability to end global poverty. For a moment I had such a high, such a great feeling of purpose, dedication, and hope that I could hardly keep from running laps around the rally. What he said next sobered me up pretty quickly. "What a grave responsibility." He looked at the group with heavy eyes and no smile. He continued on to talk about our ipods and laptops and excessive spending. He went on to say that we were squandering our opportunity to save the world. I felt my shoulders slump back into their resolute, determined position. The way he said it made it sound daunting. Alleviating poverty would not be a success if achieved. It would be a failure if we did not achieve it. I found myself feeling slightly discouraged. After the speech I took a few moments just to think for myself. I sat there for a long time and finally something occurred to me. If we had the ability to eradicate poverty, it was because we had already achieved other things. We had learned effective farming methods, ways of getting water to rural regions, and improved health. We had the resources to educate children and the knowledge to cure diseases. The reason my generation, our generation, has so much potential is because for centuries humankind has been building on one anothers accomplishments. Because of what past generations have accomplished, our generation is in the position were we literally (arguably) can eradicate poverty. That's empowering. But, no matter the outcome of our work, we all have a responsibility to honor our impoverished neighbors. BUT the fact that we would honor this responsibility is, in fact, a gift. SO no matter what is accomplished or not accomplished, the generation can build on the accomplishments of our own. Hopefully we can eradicate poverty, but nothing could possibly diminish such an accomplishment. We all have a responsibility to one another, but everything we do is a gift.