50 Facts That Should Change the World
|One of the more compelling books we've read recently is called 50 Facts That Should Change the World, a title that sounds gimmicky, though the book is not. It's a thoughtfully written collection of essays by Jessica Williams, a journalist and BBC television producer.
The nearly relentless stream of daily bad and worse news lately had us thinking over her book, which deals with issues that aren't always on the evening news or the front page, but which are part, in some way, of almost every story that is. She writes about facts such as these:
· The average Japanese woman can expect to live to be 84. The average Botswanan will reach just 39.
· Landmines kill or maim at least one person every hour.
· There are 44 million child laborers in India.
· Every day, one in five of the world's population — some 800 million people — go hungry.
· The world's oil reserves could be exhausted by 2040.
Many of the facts Ms. Williams discusses can be interpreted in more than one way, and you may not always agree with her conclusions. But it's a thought-provoking read just the same.
Of course, all of this is enough to make you crawl back into bed and pull the covers up. So we thought it might be useful, and perhaps minimally therapeutic (for us, anyway), to compile a list of the organizations that Ms. Williams selects at the end of her book (from among many hundreds, as she notes) that are doing great work, where you can get more information and perhaps get involved. (We substituted, in the child poverty section, lists of U.S. organizations, rather than the U.K. ones Ms. Williams chose).
She also includes this Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS
Human Rights Watch
Global Policy Forum
Make Trade Fair
ABORTION, SEX EDUCATION
International Planned Parenthood Federation
WOMEN'S RIGHTS, FAMILY VIOLENCE, FEMALE INFANTICIDE
Family Violence Prevention Fund
Society for the Prevention of Infanticide
DEATH PENALTY, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DISCRIMINATION
International Lesbian and Gay Association
HEALTH, NUTRITION, MEDICAL CRISES
Action on Smoking and Health
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
International Committee of the Red Cross
Médecins Sans Frontièers
Slow Food Movement
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
International Rescue Committee
SLAVERY, FORCED LABOR, CHILD LABOR
African Movement of Working Children and Youth
Free the Slaves
Global March Against Child Labour
America's Second Harvest
National Center for Children in Poverty
Save the Children
SURVEILLANCE, PRIVACY, INFORMATION GATHERING