The world moves very quickly and sometimes it is difficult to keep up. Just this past weekend, so much has changed and altered the lives of a massive amount of people. The thing is though, however surreal it may seem, that most people have no clue about what is going on around the world. Now, to be honest, I may not be the one to talk. I can definitely tell you that in the past, I have not always been completely up to speed on current events and even more so probably could not name anything that was going on beyond my grades or friend group, but recently, I have come to better realize the significance of educating myself on more than what is just in my immediate “bubble”.
We all live in a bubble, one which is comfortable and undisturbed. Of course, everyone’s bubble has ups and downs, issues they must work out and hardships to face; ultimately these hardships seem larger and larger when the only thing we can compare it to is the blips in our own bubble. Things could always be worse, and I am sure you know that, so my purpose today is not to sit here and lecture you. Still, when you hear about the life-threatening circumstances those far from you are faced with, it can be eye-opening and allow you to come to terms with what you have, no matter how little that is. In addition, learning about what is happening around you may inspire you to want to help in some way whether that be through monetary/tangible donation, or simply through spreading awareness verbally or online. It may not seem to make a difference, nonetheless, I promise that you do have global significance and what you do matters, especially when it comes to spreading awareness to a rather unconscious generation.
A second reason that cultivating an understanding of the world is so vital is because it truly shapes us as a person. Personally, I think one of the most deplorable qualities a person can hold is being close-minded and ignorant… without a willingness to learn and grow, being stubborn. Ironically, watching or reading the news often breeds the most stubborn people when it comes to politics or local issues. Citizens look to biased news sources that will tell them exactly what they want to hear, tuning into the same opinion daily and never looking beyond that perspective. A large shift that I believe needs to occur in my generation is looking at global activity from a more neutral standpoint and using available sources such as television programs, news articles, and podcasts, as well as more first-hand accounts like biographies or interviews to nurture a multi-faceted understanding of how different people live. Instead of looking to immediately form an opinion, linger on the information presented to you and look at it as a way to step into a foreign world that you may not have known even existed.
This morning I drove to school and listened to a podcast about two major devastations that occurred this weekend: the Taliban seizing control of Afghanistan, causing terror amongst Afghan citizens and leading many to flee the country, and also the devastating earthquake (magnitude of 7.2) that struck Haiti and left over one-million people homeless. Later in the day, I read a more personal account by a fellow blogger, founder of “Pick up Limes” and daughter to Afghan parents Sadia who stated “This is the start of the darkest times for the families and especially girls and women in Afghanistan. They will be stripped of their rights, forced into marriages, forbidden to leave the house without a male, forced to wear burqas, forbidden to go to school. Can you even imagine what that must be like?”. I cannot imagine. I cannot even come close. Still, I feel immensely lucky to have the means of hearing different perspectives and educating myself on events that one day will be part of history books. The crucial part for me is finding ways to make news more real. The same monotone voice of a news anchor can never actually convey the emotions and experiences that real people grapple with. This is why I look do tune into professional news sources, also finding authentic stories that I can find a connection to. It is genuinely a privilege to be able to learn about global suffering rather than experiencing it, and in just a few days my awareness of this privilege has increased dramatically.
You have the opportunity to simply pick up a phone or laptop or book even and gain never-ending knowledge on any topic you want. I urge you to take just five to ten minutes everyday to learn something new about a different part of the world. Whether this new information deals with poverty and disaster or culture and passion, it’s a chance not only to become more insightful and educated, but also to realize how the small happenings in your life, your opinions and actions, have global significance; the change that comes from a little time spent outside your bubble, can make a world of difference.
“Educating yourself does not mean that you were stupid in the first place; it means that you are intelligent enough to know that there is plenty left to learn.” -Melanie Joy
RESOURCES: HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- Donate to the “World Vision Relief Fund“ to aid those suffering from disaster
- “Sponsor a child in Haiti” to help support vulnerable children in poverty
- Donate to the “American Red Cross” to support the organization in aiding Haitians and the Haitian environment.
AFGHAN REFUGEES FLEEING THE TALIBAN
- Support Afghan Women Through “Women for Women International”
- Donate to “Afghanaid“ to support men, women and children who have fled from their homes and from war
- Donate to “Save the Children” for Afghan children in turmoil