Putting an end to apathy

Since the earthquake hit Haiti this past January, it has been amazing to see the international community rally together to help in their desperate time of need. But it’s got me thinking: why don’t we have this same sense of urgency for the homeless and hurting around the world every day? Sure, we donate dollars here and there, but this same desire just isn’t as intensely spread all the time.

Why didn’t anyone care about the children scouring to find water on the day before the earthquake hit?

Our attention to the poor and suffering is often dictated by when and where the media decides to turn its head; but then the its buzz settles down, and soon it’s no longer popular to care. Think about how much less attention and money was given to Chile, when a few months later an earthquake hit. We only heard about it half as much; but that doesn’t mean they needed our help any less.

While working at my job at a coffee shop I further saw the effects of apathy in our society on a first hand basis. While buying coffees for her and her boyfriend, a young woman, about 25, also decided to add bottled water to her purchase, causing the price to rise almost $3.
She said, “Boy, that’s expensive water!”

I agreed with her, but also said with a smile, “If it makes you feel any better, part of the money goes to help build wells in Africa.”

But all she said in the most monotone voice was, “Nope.”

Seriously, if you actually think that at least don’t say it out loud, like you don’t care at all if children in Africa get clean water!

I understand that not everyone is able to devote their lives to non-profit work or put on fundraisers and work in soup kitchens every day, but if people would at least choose to care and not hinder those who are trying to help by spreading around apathy, it could make a world of difference.

I am only an ordinary, average student, but I’ve passionately decided that I don’t want it to start or stop here with the hype of the moment. I’m not going to live off of the media’s swaying desires to make a change; I’m dreaming about making a difference every day.

So, please, choose to care. It may take some effort, it may take biting your tongue every so often to keep from saying pessimistic remarks, but trust me, even that can make a difference. But then, if you can, take it a courageous step further and put your love into motion. Do something to help the hurting of our world, not just overseas, but in Winnipeg. Take a look at the poor on our very own streets and lend a hand, volunteer your time, step out of your life’s bubble.

My hope in writing this is simple. I want us to not care about random acts of charity, but about justice that is motivated by love. I want to not to jump bandwagons that the media creates to help selected areas in poverty but to create awareness and a general sense of urgency that people are in need of our help every day, not just when catastrophes hit. Above all else, I want us to stop spreading apathy, but instead choose to care and to love.

Samantha Lockhart is a news reporter for the Manitoban.