Wise words from Grandad Banks
Ollie Banks’ father Ron worries about the difference between the world’s haves and have-nots, the widening gap between them, and the kind of world today’s young people are growing up in. Solo Expenses worries about those things too, which is why a proportion of our company profits go to help others. It’s also why we’ve offered Ron the chance to write our Solo Expenses ‘giving back’ blog about things that really matter, but don’t get the exposure they deserve. This is his first offering…
I’m going to stop tuning in to the news on the radio and TV. It depresses me. All I’m offered are bad news stories; horrible stories about what people do to each other in the name of religion or greed in one form or another.
It depresses me because I can’t do anything about any of it. It’s not within my power to persuade politicians that what they’re doing is wrong, or to convince religious zealots that their ideals are hurting others, or to get yobs to think differently about their communities.
So what I am going to do is find a balance. I’m going to start looking out for and sharing little glimpses of humanity; of things for which the motivation is to give someone a helping hand, not to trample them into the dust in pursuit of more money or misplaced idealism. I’m going to shine a light on what’s good, to strike a balance. I just know it’s out there, needing people like you and I and Solo Expenses to bring it into the light.
Plastics for change
Imagine if your job was to sift through other people’s rubbish to get out all the plastic, and them sell it on for recycling. You’re picking it out by hand, and doing it for a pittance. Imagine then if that pittance gets even smaller because the price of oil, source of all new plastic, takes a nose-dive.
That’s the economic reality for some people; existing at the bottom of the heap, literally and metaphorically, living in grinding poverty and marginalised in society. But the service they provide – and make no mistake, it is a service – is saving the planet for future generations.
The organisation Plastics for Change highlights why:
- Putting a litre bottle of water on a supermarket shelf uses 250ml of oil
- At current rates, for every three tonnes of fish in the sea, by 2525 there will be a tonne of plastic
- Making a tonne of plastic from new, rather than recycled, material uses 685 more gallons of oil
I find that alarming; no, horrifying. And that’s why I love what the Plastics for Change organisation is doing; saving the planet by putting people into employment. What’s not to like? I’ve signed up to their crowdfunding platform here. I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t want to.
Environmental ProtectionNow here’s the most wonderful idea. Simple in its concept, effective in its application, and it happens for mere pennies. Five desks ¬– count ’em; five – AND five school bags for a dollar. That’s not each, that’s all together. In England, that’s 65p. It’s made possible by clever use of second-hand cardboard boxes, and frankly, it’s a brilliant idea. And the result is more effective education for children whose school desks have, until now, been the floor. I’m not going to describe the idea for you; this short video does it perfectly, and better than I could. Watch it now.
Water can be pushover
People living in the world’s poorest communities have to spend a great deal of their lives acquiring water, the most basic resource. It’s heavy stuff, and often needs to be carried for long distances. Thinking outside the box led to the creation of the Hippo Water Roller project, helping to deliver five times more water for a fraction of the effort. The result: greater food security, and more time for young people to get a proper education rather than simply to carry water. This is another really good idea. All it needs is money. Will you give some?
I’ve been a grandfather for four years. In February I’ll become a grandfather again when Ollie and Lizzie have their baby. My grandchildren need to know about all the good in the world, so that they can contribute to it. But we can’t wait for children to grow up. We should lead by example, and we should start today. I believe that together we not only can, but should make a difference. It doesn’t have to be much; even pennies can change lives. It’s our moral responsibility to be part of easing someone’s suffering. And it will do us all good in the long run.
Discover the good causes already supported by Solo Expenses here