Mind The Gap

It’s all too easy to romanticise the simple country life. How wonderful things could be without the complex trappings of our twenty-first century existence. The dream of a simple home and simple food and the removal of the stresses and strains of modernity. An Aga to bake delicious bread and organic produce from your own well tended garden. An idyllic life drizzled in lemon juice and virgin olive oil and bursting with juicy tomatoes and ripe plums.
In Cambodia, there are people who live a simple life. Wooden houses on a plot of land with garden and some chickens. They have no access to the modernity of sanitation or clean running water in their home. They don’t have the worry of electricity or gas bills because they aren’t connected to a mains supply. No mountains of email because they don’t own a computer and if they did would not have wifi or power to use with it.
I am a hopeless romantic but I am also aware that for many our notion of the simple life comes with many givens. Givens that much of the world’s population are still years from achieving. I don’t want to stop people from being dreamy romantics but we need to look beyond our first world lives with our second homes and those three well deserved foreign holidays and look at what they truly cost.
The gap between the rich and the poor is widening not only internationally but also intentionally. Change needs to happen in the developing world but even more so in the so called developed nations. We need to start thinking about equality not just between men and women or different minority groups. What about equality of access to clean water, education and health? What about looking at equality of life expectancy and expectations across the world? Nation states and multinational corporations encourage us to close our minds, markets and borders to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people on our planet. However we must be mindful of the poverty gap because it is the world’s biggest killer.

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