6,500,000,000

Via Sarah van Schagen: "According to the World Population Clock, Earth's (human) population will hit the 6.5 billion mark at exactly 7:16 p.m. EST this Saturday." That number is still dwarfed by the number of burgers McDonald's has sold, up over 100 billion at last count...

I have a friend in labor at this very moment and if there's a shred of mercy, Annie's child will NOT be the 6.5 billionth.

Kidding aside, over half of these 6.5 billion live in poverty -- on less than $3 per day. According to Michael Moore, the former head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), "Poverty in all its forms is the greatest single threat to peace, security, democracy, human rights and the environment."

Kofi Annan echoed the sentiment: "No-one in this world can feel comfortable, or safe, while so many are suffering and deprived."

Number one of the eight Millennium Development Goals that all 191 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. In addition to the security concern noted above, there's an ethical imperative. Is there a belief system on Earth that doesn't essentially tell you that you're connected to every other human and that your soul suffers as theirs does?

Then why are we violating both the ethical and sensible by spending $230 billion yearly too military contractors when it's estimated by the Borgen Project that a mere $19 billion yearly would help achieve the Millenium Development Goals?

The answer lies, at least in part, in this factoid on the Borgen Project home page: "Same as it never was..."


Perception: Polls have shown that, on average, Americans believe 24% of the federal budget goes to development assistance.
Reality: U.S. leaders allocate less than 1% of the budget to aid (last among wealthy nations).
And before we begin to diss the Bush administration or Republicans in general let's remember that there isn't much in the Democratic message either policy wise or rhetorically to suggest that they'd bring anything different to the table regarding this issue...

(Gristmill, Wikipedia, Borgen Project)

--> Sign up for Peek in your inbox... every morning! (Go here and check Peek box).

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.