That does it! I keep thinking there is simply no way this town can keep going like this, it's simply not possible. But sure enough, we turn around and lo-and-behold Squamish once again takes it to a whole other level. I'm referring of course to the awe-inspiring $160,000 raised for tsunami relief. Locally this beautiful outpouring of compassion isn't out of the norm. After all we're Squamish; it's what we do. And we don't stop there. As a community we're known to give selflessly our time, energy and money. In March you can count the bald heads who raise thousands every year for the children's hospital. Then there's our soup kitchen, woman's shelter, and countless other organizations that continue to help those in need.
Globally however the outpouring of cash has gone from phenomenal to outstanding to almost questionable. Literally billions of dollars are being handed over from countries covering the globe. Giving to the tsunami relief has almost become an Olympic event with countries stumbling over each other to be the one that gives the most.
Being no stranger to bad global news I began to wonder why is it that this particular event has garnered so much support. Is it the staggering death toll? No, not with three million dying each year of malaria, and the 240,000 each month that die of AIDS. Then there's my personal favorite statistic that while an obesity epidemic sweeps America more than 840,000,000 people suffer from a chronic, persistent hunger, which kills 24,000 people every day, or over 8 million each year. The best part? Three of four who die are younger than five.
So why then the outpouring? It all comes down to spectacular footage. There are few things in life that create a better front page than a hundred foot wave seconds before it destroys an entire culture. Not since 9-11 has reality TV been this spectacular and what luck having it during the traditionally slow Christmas viewing period. Right off the bat several trillions in press time made sure every tragic death received thousands of hours and front page coverage. Similar to 9-11 local charities took a hit as all eye's and wallets were on the impossible to avoid footage.
I have no doubt that if as much press was given to world hunger or AIDS the outpouring would be just as phenomenal. Granted AIDS is a slightly different beast but ending world hunger is very possible. Sadly, it's out of sight out of mind since children dying of starvation simply don't make for exciting news. Still, I hope against hope that the press finally realize their power and perhaps they can once and for all use that power for good. The suffering around the world is far from over and the homeless, hungry and those poor bastards in Africa still need money and help. However I fear that more than anything they need a good press agent and a slow news week.