I wanted to pledge support for the Live Below the Line week and attempt to live off £1 a day to show solidarity with the 1.4 billion globally living in extreme poverty, but I haven’t done it. Being in between work it seemed like the perfect time to pledge support since I am counting the pennies, however moving around a lot without a routene makes it impossible, with travel etc. excuses, excuses it sounds like… and you are right..
Looking at the campaign website today I thought that one thing Live Below the Line could have done would be to have some engagement with people struggling to live off this little and what it is like essentially. I can imagine there are lots of politics around this. However there is something slightly uncomfortable about imitating a struggle which is profoundly so removed from anyone who would ever pledge to do this. Obviously this is the point of the whole campaign but is it patronising? Do people living off the equivalent of £1 a day think it is a ridiculous way of showing solidarity? I think it would add weight to this campaign which aspires to ultimately live in another’s shoes for a week, and really shift peoples attitudes, to perhaps get some of the people who are living like this to say how they feel about the campaign. I see none of this on their website, which I find a little off-putting and makes me feel like it is another very western-centric cosy comfortable campaign, where we are simply just challenging ourselves not to give into the temptation of our morning coffee from pret.. and having to remember a packed lunch every day.
I guess I should try doing it first and then have a rant. The idea certainly can’t do any harm – watch The Global Poverty Project’s vid or the IF campaign vid (see below) in the run up to the G8 summit to take place in June. It is upsetting to think that 1 in 7 go to bed hungry and we produce enough food to feed the world one and a half times over ( suggesting the food system does not need GM to create more food but simply a more effective market and distribution reforms). Also I just read in The Week that according to a new study by Oxford University poverty is in decline from 43% in the 1990’s to as low as 16% in the next two years, so we must be doing something right as global society.