A day out at the Kelpies will help spread the word on work to tackle poverty throughout the world, says Sally Foster-Fulton
Do you believe in life before death? Do you hold that the time we have on this planet is to be cherished, relished, embraced and explored – that our very existence, mine and yours, is a gift we are all given?
‘We believe in life before death’, that is Christian Aid’s challenging mantra. Challenging, because if we truly believe it, we are called to live in ways that ensure the gift is not one hoarded by a few but open to all and held in trust for the ones still to come. Together, we have to challenge and change the sad truth that in the upside-down global economy we are all part of, there are some who barely get to unwrap the potential in their life, while others of us have so many gifts piled so high, we struggle to appreciate the ones that matter most.
Our world is one of unprecedented technological advances and vast resources. There is so much at our fingertips. We are globally networked. Send a message across the planet and it can be answered before the kettle you turned on, boils. If we find other ways to tap into the energy in our common humanity and the present-day potential in our rapidly evolving capabilities, if we walk and work with a deep awareness that the planet we share has finite resources to be protected, life for brothers and sisters across our global neighbourhood can be transformed.
In interconnected environment, extraordinary prosperity and power sits right alongside extreme poverty and lack of opportunity for people to control their own lives. Throughout the world we can see communities where women and men struggle for food, education and access to the medicines and technology that their neighbours take for granted. Throughout the world we see the ugly side of our unprecedented development – climate chaos fuelled by a seemingly endless appetite for what can be purchased and consumed.
Believing in life before death gives you the gusto to grapple with the core causes of poverty, climate change that makes it impossible for the countries least responsible for it to escape its devastating impacts, unfair tax systems that keep developing countries from creating infrastructures we take for granted – health systems, transport, and communications systems that build up their resilience - and gender inequalities that hold whole families in poverty – poverty that, too often, has a woman’s face.
Poverty is a scandal that diminishes us all, but it does not have to be that way, there is another way.
This year, Christian Aid Scotland is inviting all who share our vision of a world free from poverty to join us in walking and living “Another Way”. We welcome you to join us in several events that let us explore other ways. On 27 August, come to the Kelpie Canter. With the sculptures of the Kelpies the centrepiece of the day, walkers can learn about water projects supported by Christian Aid while they snake around the one, two or three mile routes.
The Power Walk on 10 September at Whitelee Windfarm gives people an opportunity to take a trip to the UK’s largest onshore windfarm with Christian Aid. Whether you take the long or short route, you’ll hear powerful stories about the people we work with. As you walk around some of the 215 turbines located at the site, we will tell you about how those people are affected by water shortages and climate change. So much more than a sponsored walk, you will get a real sense of why climate justice is important to Christian Aid. And on Saturday 3 September, there is Walk to Remember taking place near Stirling. This walk is specifically for those wanting to take part in an event in memory of a loved one.
Change is possible and we do not have to yield to the temptation of believing that what we do does not matter or have an impact. Like ripples on a quiet pond, small changes grow and ripple out.
Join in our Another Way campaign and challenge yourself in the way you consume – try the ‘no plastic challenge’ and do not buy products with excessive packaging or move away from fossil fuels to clean energy by switching supplier. Use your purchasing power to set a different agenda. To a great extent, our “wants” drive the economy. If we buy fair-trade and insist on it, businesses will respond, if we switch to or call for clean energy, the financial engine will crank up to provide it. We have the power to direct our life-energy towards better … more sustainable … more equitable … more fulfilling. Use your imaginations, go on our website and join the journey to Another Way!
• Sally Foster-Fulton is head of Christian Aid Scotland. For further information about Another Way events go to Christian Aid Scotland’s website http://www.christianaid.org.uk/scotland/another-way/events.aspx