The "Developing" World, You, and Your Role On Our Connected Planet

Before explaining what your role in the "Developing" world is, I first want to share something that you haven't thought of before.



The Sustainable Development Goals ratified by the United Nations last week cemented an idea that a lot of people have been talking about for a long time: There is no such thing as the "developed world" and the "developing world". There is no "first world" and "third world". There is no such thing as "us" and "them".

There is one world, we all live on it, and it's developing... hopefully in the right direction.

The Reality of Today

People that don't have money struggle to survive, people that spend too much money put earth's survival at risk with overconsumption, and BOTH types of people live in every country. As just one striking example, Lebanon's population has over a million registered refugees, yet it still has a higher concentration of billionaires than the United States.

A health issue that starts in one country can put everyone around the world at risk.

Global warming affects everybody.

Even if you can't see them, the fact that we have over 3 billion people living in poverty means that our entire global economic system is at risk.

Six years ago, Hans Rosling gave an engaging TED presentation at the US Department of State filled with fantastic data showing that, indeed, our worldview of "developed" nations and "developing nations" is outdated... by about 50 years.

Why This Matters To You

Empathy in people is decreasing, and that is terrible news.

When things are out of sight, they are out of mind.

If you can't see the immediate effects that your actions will have on global warming, you'll keep doing nothing to solve it. If you can't connect to people living in poverty, you won't be able to empathize with them and work to empower them.

When most people do nothing, things will keep getting worse.

I'm glad I'm living in the land of the free, where the rich just get richer, and the poor you don't ever have to see." -Randy Newman

Even in countries with the top GDP, conditions for millions are getting worse. The United States is known for its philanthropy, yet infant mortality rates in some of its major cities is equal to Jamaica, and its income inequality is staggering.

British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, who has spent three decades studying income inequality, has shared that "as income inequality increases in rich nations, so do other health and social problems, among them infant mortality, low life expectancy, incarceration rates, and social mistrust. And that's not just among the poor -- that's everybody."

What You Must Do

You have incredible potential to make an impact, and it's never been easier to stay informed about key issues, connect to the best place to volunteer your skills, and give your money to the most effective causes. In other words, it's easy to do a little and a lot, you just need to act. Here is what you can start doing today:

1. Learn about the 17 sustainable development goals.

2. Develop your skills and network to be a globally-minded system with events like the Huddle for Global Change and Net Impact.

3. Engage with others, formally and informally, at events like Pyxera's Global Engagement Forum and SOCAP and online at forums like Changemakers and New Global Citizens.

4. Pick a cause and make an impact, go Experteering abroad, volunteer your skills at home, and/or start a socially responsible program within your company.

5.Give money to the most effective causes.

6. Elect officials that focus on real issues at home and abroad, and advocate for related causes.

7. Stay informed and keep learning.

The United Nations believes that we can eradicate poverty by 2030. Do you? I know that I do, but only if everybody takes action today.