What motivates you to care for people and environments with whom you’re not in direct contact? That is the question I’ve been pondering today on the fourth International Day of Charity. The day was established by the United Nations to encourage people, NGOs and other stakeholders to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities. Such activities naturally mean different things to different people – essentially they are actions through which you express care for humanity and the planet. Perhaps you donate money for a cause, participate in a demonstration, or create new information on topics related to agriculture and global health.
Interestingly, President Obama recently made a distinction between charitable purposes and global development efforts. When announcing the signing of the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (GFSA) in late July, Obama said, “Development isn’t charity; it’s one of the smartest investments we can make in our shared future, in our security and our prosperity.” Loosely summarised his message was that improving food security in developing countries is important not only because it improves the quality of peoples’ lives abroad – it also decreases conflicts and increases well-being globally, including in the United States.