Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day, a day dedicated to blogging about poverty. Now this is a topic on which I am something of an expert. Poverty comes in many guises and has floated in an out of my life several times. In grad school we used to talk about the information rich and the information poor (long before the digital divide catchphrase became popular) and I have friends who believe that I am rich in books (LOL).

Wikipedia defines poverty as
deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens

Now I like that because it is about quality of life issues, not just money.

My brilliant son, who is working on his Peace Corps application, spends time with Engineers Without Borders working on a clean water project in El Salvador. He has shown me just how little it really takes to improve the lives of others less fortunate than ourselves.

And this year I had the pleasure of meeting Brewster Kahle who is working on some kick-ass projects dealing with what I call "Information Poverty". If you have never seen Brewster in action, you can see his presentation at TED here

I know that I am guilty of getting bogged down with the material stuff of my life - it gets in the way - it is a burden - so I am embarking on my 100 things project. I read about Daniel Perkins in Time and was fascinated with his movement to pare down his life to only owning 100 things. His goal was to pare down his possessions by November 12 and live with only 100 items for a year. So now I am embarking on such a quest. Last Spring I started to get rid of my stuff in anticipation of moving to Ireland. Since my plans didn't exactly work out I got off track. My goal is to reach the 100 items by December 31st. It will be so cathartic and incredibly important for my psyche.

To kick it all off I am clearing out my two (yes 2) storage units full of books and holding a huge book sale to benefit the Friends of the Cardinal Stafford Library. Scheduled to begin November 14th and to run for a full week, here is my opportunity to give back. Come and buy some books from us to support the library.

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