I recently handed over a microcredit gift certificate to Chris Walts (of The 49th Parallel) since he pinged me on Twitter and seemed to have a cause in need of this donation. The following was written by Chris so he could share a bit more about his campaign with my readers…
What would you do to save the world? This question has been rattling around in my head for years now, but until recently I didnâ€™t really have an answer. Now however, it seems so simple: whatever I have to. The reason this answer resonates so strongly with me is it allows for the complexity of the problem and the intricacy of the solution to be united in a maxim that even a child can comprehend and implement. This answer doesnâ€™t judge, and doesnâ€™t make you feel bad for only doing â€˜as-much-as-you-canâ€™. Instead, it allows for everyone to define what it means to him or her while still stressing just how dire our situation is.
â€œWhatever I have toâ€, for me, exists on a couple of different levels. At its most basic, it means remembering cloth bags when I grocery shop, recycling, taking the bus, and doing whatever else I can do to make my life more sustainable. It also means recognizing that life is not lived in isolation, and that my actions directly impact people all over our world. It means seeking out worthwhile ideas, and helping to nourish and spread them when I get an opportunity.
It is via this long-winded introduction that I want to talk about what I am undertaking this summer. I could have perhaps led with the last sentence, but then I would have come across as just another person asking for money for a pipe dream project to save the world, and I believe it is much more than that.
This summer I am joining up with 25 other Global Agents for Change, and we are riding our pedal powered bikes 4000km from Amsterdam to Istanbul to raise money and awareness for microcredit. Each rider is responsible for raising at least $3000 to put towards Global Agents for Changeâ€™s microcredit fund. I should explain that the $3000 we have to raise does not cover trip expenses, those all come out of our own pockets, it goes directly through Global AFC to the people on the ground who need it.
For those people that donâ€™t know what microcredit is, microcredit is small trust based loans to the working poor. Instead of simply giving people money, an actual loan agreement is reached on terms that make sense to the borrower, and once the money is paid back, it can then be lent out again to another person in need. For those people who might be slightly jaded about the process, the repayment rate is over 95% and the person who came up with the idea, Muhammad Yunus, won the Nobel peace prize in 2006.
So that, in a nutshell, is my pitch as to why you should help me support this extremely worthwhile cause. In my opinion it is one of the best current sustainable solutions being proposed to a very complex problem.
On a person level however, what I am looking forward to most about the trip isnâ€™t even the actual countries that we are going to be riding through, although I think they are going to be incredible. What I love most about the organization Global Agents for Change is that every person involved with it truly cares about making a positive lasting impact on the world. So much so, that most people involved are volunteering 15-20 hours a week on top of their day jobs. Getting to ride alongside of these inspirational young people for two months is going to be one of the best conversations / thinktank experiences of my life.
Please help me reach my fundraising goal by donating.