I find it rather interesting that my computer crashed on the eve of Blog Action Day , the same year that my bike blew a spoke on the second day of Bike to Work Week. Why are the community action gods so offended by my efforts?
At any rate, I was nothing short of totally inspired by the amount of participation I saw in this effort. It seemed almost every other blog in my Google Reader had some mention of the event and a post relating to Poverty, which was this year's theme.
My attention to poverty has been heightened quite a bit in the past year through my personal and professional commitment to public transportation, through my new-found interest in the politics of food and of course through my obsession with the 2008 election and depression-era economic climate.
It's so hard for me to comprehend how people can overlook mass transit as a critical tool in breaking the cycle of poverty. Public transportation connects people with jobs and education. It also much less expensive than the cost of owning, maintaining and insuring a personal vehicle. Not to mention the environmental benefits, which can also overlap with poverty issues (i.e. better air quality is better for impoverished children with respiratory problems, etc.). I realize this one paragraph is only skimming the service of the greater argument, which I certainly do hope to lay out in greater detail in future blog posts.
ACTION ITEM: One step you can do to improve this factor of the poverty cycle is vote for dedicated transit funding on November 4. If you live in Milwaukee County, you will see the referendum for transit, parks and emergency medical services. Just mark the arrow next to "YES" to show your support. For more information on this issue you can visit the Quality of Life Alliance website.
Politics of Food
You've certainly been subjected to my own food rants lately, but again, I strongly urge you to read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This book really cracked open a whole vault of interest for me in food issues. Next up I'd like to read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food.
ACTION ITEM: One organization I've been hearing more and more about lately (though it's been around forever) and whose catalog I just received is Heifer International. I'm very interested in learning more about organizations that tie together sustainable agriculture and poverty. Up until this point I'd really only focused on the "give a man a fish" side, versus the "teach a man to fish" aspect. I think both sides are important though, and that's why I'm personally committed to giving fish (or hot dogs, ham, etc.) to Milwaukee's homeless once a month by volunteering at the Open Door Café at St. John's Cathedral. I encourage anyone who wishes to come along with me sometime.
Poverty and the 2008 Election
As unfortunate as the economic meltdown has been, I think it's somewhat positive that it's shining a consistent light on the symptoms of poverty that are beginning to lick at even the middle class in America. I have high hopes that more permanent solutions can be implemented under our next president.
ACTION: PLEASE vote. In most places you can vote NOW. If you live in the city of Milwaukee, go to the Zeidler Building and do it as soon as possible.