The first time we went to Vegas, I decided to splurge, and we spent an absurd amount of money on a meal that made me nauseous by its excess. When I got home, I did a little research, and found out that a family in Africa could eat for four months on the amount I had spent on one meal. Then I got even more nauseous, and a family in Africa got four months worth of food.
My last post discussed 529 Wellington, where the higher prices are justified by higher quality as compared to other restaurants around. But when considered on a global/ethical scale, is this sort of expense ever really justifiable? Does anyone need to eat prime beef when there are children clamouring to eat corn? Looking at the map above, it’s hard to answer ‘yes’ to that question with a clear conscience.
According to the World Food Programme, there are nearly a billion people in the world who go to bed hungry every night, whereas I often go to bed in a anabolic state which is only adding to my waistline. Some of those hungry live in Canada; according to Winnipeg Harvest almost 900 000 Canadians were forced to rely on food banks last year.
That $300 dinner from 529 Wellington? I could have fed dinner to 2000 refugees through the World Food Programme instead.
Ideally, we would all give up any money that we don’t need to maintain a comfortable life to those less fortunate than ourselves. But the scope of global poverty would indicate that that is not likely to happen … some Winnipeggers subsist on canned food from Giant Tiger, there’s famine in Somalia right now, and precedent would indicate that richer people will continue to spend lavishly on gourmet food.
Am I an asshole? Two thousand hungry refugees say ‘yes’. Is this an indelible stain on my karma? Quite possibly. Am I alone? No. Can I still feed dinner to two thousand hungry refugees? Why, yes, actually, I can.
Next time you decide treat yourself to some luxury, put some money where someone else’s mouth is too. Say grace around your posh table and give thanks for all that you have. Then follow it up by giving to one of these tremendous organizations: