Monday, October 31, 2011

1 in 7 Billion

Today is the birthday of the 7th billion person.  Experts (I have no idea who these experts are or how they become experts in predicting the birthday of the 7th billion person.  But if they are touted as experts then we are obligated to listen to them, are we not?)  believe that this person was born today, sometime around 1:49 p.m. Eastern time.

Experts and talking heads and political pundits have been discussing what 7 billion people will do to our planet.  Certainly the earth is showing the wear and tear of this many people already.  Basic resources are becoming more and more limited, but the greater issue is equitable access to resources.  One of the experts interviewed on the news show where I first heard about Baby 7B (that's my nickname for the little tike) claimed that the earth can support 7 billion people.  It's really just a matter of how well we share what we have. 

The Occupy Wall Street movement has demonstrated in sharp relief that we don't know how to share very well.  And with that thought in mind, I decided I wasn't in the mood to write a few words to Baby 7B about what I thought of the state of the world today on the first website I found about this.  Yes, there are websites about this latest increase in the global population.  A diatribe on sharing or the lack thereof seemed like a lot to burden a baby with. I know.  I know.  Pessimism about the world doesn't help anything or anyone, and it certainly doesn't inspire hope when a pastor expresses it, but I'm human too.


But I found the next website intriguing and much more inspiring.  7 Billion Actions/7 Billion People is a website created by the United Nations Population Fund.  It's not focused solely on Baby 7B, but on every person who wants to share their story.  The idea behind the website is that if there are 7 billion people, than each one of us is a unique individual with gifts and talents that can help change the world.  That means that I am 1 in 7 billion and so are you.  So is Baby 7B and so are we all.

People from all over the world are contributing their stories to this website.  That's 7 billion stories that need to be told.  Because, in one way or another, we all matter.  Not because of what we do, but because we are.  No one should be invisible or go unheard.  Every one has a story to share.

I still wrestle with my pessimism about the state of our world.  I know that we don't share very well.  I worry about the future my kids are growing up into.  And I worry about the future for other kids as well.  But it's good to know that there are 6,999,999,999 other unique people out there, and between us, I think we can make a difference.