We eat steak, they eat dirt

By BenitaZepeda

Imagine waking up in the morning before the sun rises and walking miles to get to the market to buy bags of dirt on credit. The rest of your day comprises mixing said dirt with water, tiny amounts of butter, salt and sugar, if you have the luxury of owning it. After that’s finished, you crouch over a dirty cloth on the ground, and use a spoon to create small circular cookies to harden in the sun.

These dirt cookies might be the only things keeping you alive today.

In Haiti, this day-to-day life is real. Although dirt cookies don’t offer any nutritional value, it keeps something in Haitians’ stomachs. It’s hard to believe bags of dirt cost $5 while our society can eat cheeseburgers and fries for less than that.

It’s disheartening how vast the gap has become between the rich and poor in the world. Everyone is human, so why is one group of people more worthy of wealth, and basic human needs such as water, food and a place to sleep? Survival of the fittest in a modern-day society focuses on money, who has the most material possessions and people’s social status. Humans no longer live as a collective species—everyone is on his or her own.

As of 2005, more than 3 billion people in the world live on $2.50 a day or less, according to GlobalIssues.org. In addition, the website states that the richest 22 percent of the population accounts for three-quarters of the entire world’s income. Why can’t this wealth be shared?

It isn’t impossible to change this. Comedian Bill Hicks knew this all too well when he would say during his skit: “Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride: Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world.” He went on to say that eliminating this type of spending would pay for these expenses many times over without excluding one person, and we would essentially live in peace together forever.

It’s true that if Americans and people all around the world could find a way to get over our naturally gargantuan egos to make this a possibility, we would be able to live healthier lives in general. It wouldn’t matter what country a person is from, what their race or age is. No one would have to buy bags of dirt on credit or eat dirt cookies.

Unfortunately, politics and evolved human nature will prohibit this from happening.

It’s the same with destroying the planet we live on. We know what we need to do to change the world in a significant and positive way, but no one is willing to do it.

We need to learn to sacrifice some of what we have, specifically monetary wealth, before we deplete our species and kill our planet. Right now, we’re on that unfortunate latter path.