This is an excerpt from my essay Poverty: The Effects and a Moral Obligation to Help Others. You can find the downloadable PDF with complete citations in this post.
The effects of poverty are clearly detrimental. For some, it is easy to say that people do not deserve to be poor, since most often, people do not choose to live in poverty. Others believe that you deserve what you are born into, based upon religious or philosophical beliefs. The Earth Charter is a document that proposes duties of every citizen of this planet that, if upheld properly, will lead for a prosperous tomorrow in terms of the environment and all living beings. This document is broken into four main principles and fifteen subprinciples, each identifying duties relating to different issues. Through this document, a sense of responsibility is assigned to the readers that are capable of helping to eradicate poverty.
The principle that relates to poverty is Principle III: Social and Economic Justice. Subprinciple 9 is a clear call to eradicate poverty, and it reads:
- Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social and environmental imperative.
a. Guarantee the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.
b. Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves.
c. Recognize the ignored, protect the vulnerable, serve those who suffer, and enable them to develop their capacities and to pursue their aspirations.
Ensuring security in food and drinking water sources is very important, as these resources are required in order for the human body to function and survive. Shelter is important for protection from the elements, and potentially other humans and animals. With clean air and uncontaminated soil, the possibility of agriculture is broadened. The ability to raise and farm food is the ability to feed a family and possibly the community. Even if a community is provided with all of these resources, it is important that they are educated. With an education, a person can learn how to take the resources provided and begin to provide for his or her family.