Last year, I wrote this piece for Whole Living about charitable giving, and although they'd asking me to focus on a particular "charitable hero," and she was great, it was the research that changed my life. Especially talking to Peter Singer.
The piece starts like this:
"Imagine you're walking past a shallow pond where a tiny child has fallen in and appears to be drowning. Do you rush in and rescue the child? Of course. What if it means ruining your new shoes? Of course -- even if they're really, really nice shoes. You don't think twice.
Philosopher Peter Singer, ethics specialist and author of "The Life You Can Save," who is famous for his thinking on the topic, argues that we are, ethically, in just such a position all the time: 1.4 billion people are living below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day, and 30,000 children die daily of diseases and malnutrition that our money (the cost of, say, a pair of shoes) could prevent.
Couldn't we be doing more? Shouldn't we?"
We stretch to give, and I hope you do too. There are some good resources at the end of that piece about how to find organizations to give to, although we give everything we give to Partners in Health, and I feel good about that choice. And every year, it comes down to the same question: build a mud room, or give it away. And every year I think that people need to not be holding dying children in their arms more than we need a better place to keep our boots.
I'm all about "tax the rich," "eat the rich," and occupy everything. You know my politics. But with respect to the developing world, upon whose backs we have amassed much of our nation's wealth, we are the 1%. Even if, yes, you trip over a lot of shoes and coats and backpacks when you walk directly into our dirty kitchen from the muddy outdoors.
Sending you love and gratitude in anticipation of the new year.