18 January 2013

Gambia: Poverty Eradication and Sustainability


When we talk about fighting poverty, we usually think of how we can help those who are extremely poor to lead more dignified lives, by enabling them to access basic needs such as adequate food, clothing, shelter, water and sanitation and health services, access to a reasonable income and education.

While it is important to empower the poor so that they can lead meaningful lives, we need to think of how we as a society are participating in actions that perpetuate rather than eliminate poverty.

This has to do with the way we use the resources available to us; i.e. if we do not use them in a sustainable way, then that means we are promoting the very poverty that we are trying to eliminate, by depleting the few available resources at our disposal. This can only spell disaster for future generations since they will have to struggle for survival if we do not leave anything for them.

Global warming and climate change have led to unpredictable weather patterns- the melting of the ice caps in the arctic region leading to rising sea levels and unprecedented heavy downpour of rain are all contributing to the imbalance of the ecosystem. In other regions of Africa, we are witnessing unprecedented droughts leading to severe food shortages.

Therefore we can rightly say that conserving our environment and sustainable use of resources are key factors, if we are to win this war on poverty eradication. We need to think and act in a sustainable way even as we make and implement development plans to lift our people out of those dehumanizing conditions.

It is also important to ask ourselves what role we can as individuals in eliminating poverty? As individuals, we can play a significant role in fighting poverty by using resources more sensibly. If we all take time to learn everyday how we can use the resources available to us more efficiently such as water conservation, protecting the forest cover among others, then we will be making progress towards eradicating poverty.

Some of these actions of making a sustainable living include: recycling waste, reducing wastage of resources, not leaving the taps running and switching of lights when not in use. It is not only the responsibility of the government to eradicate poverty, but you can also help in a big way by living in a sustainable way.

You may have all that you need today and may not think much about that tap you left dripping, but if you do not act now to use the resources more carefully, then your future generations will be affected in many adverse ways.

Let us all take care of the environment and use our resources more judiciously. It is our life and our future that is at stake.

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