Wake Up Calls

EDucate magazine


Issue #1, July - September 2001

* Hunger afflicts one out of seven people on Earth.

* Over 80% of all illness in the developing world is directly or indirectly associated with poor water supply and sanitation. In Ethiopia only 1% of the people have safe water... Annually, one-sixth of all African children die before their first birthday.

* In the past decade alone, the estimated impact of armed conflict on children includes 2 million killed, 6 million seriously injured or permanently disabled, 12 million homeless, more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their families, and 10 million psychologically traumatized.

* 855,000,000 people in the world are illiterate; one sixth of humanity and two-thirds of women.

* Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two-thirds of them are women.

* Today, about 42 million people in Pakistan lack adequate income to purchase the food they need for a healthy life. The fact that about one-third of the population does not have access to food needed for adequate nutrition is manifested by the widespread incidence of malnutrition. In 1998, the estimated number of malnourished children was about 8 million. Nearly half of the children under five years of age are underweight.

* Every year, an estimated 40 million births go unregistered. That's one third of all babies born in the world.

* In the world economy, where defense expenditures total approximately $781 billion a year, the $7 billion more per year needed for education over the next decade remains an unmet challenge for the international community. By spending $7 billion more each year for the next 10 years, (less than the amount people in the United States pay annually for cosmetics and Europeans for ice cream), the dream of educating all children could become a reality.

* Only 56 percent of boys and 4 I per cent of girls enroll in primary school in the world's least developed countries.

* In Latin America 90% of fertilizer is used for purposes other than producing basic food for local people.

* Even if the growth rate of the poor countries doubled, only 7 would close the gap with the rich nations in 100 years. Only 9 would reach that same level in at least 1000 years.

* 20% of the world's people own and consume 82.7% of the world's wealth.

* The approximate number of people without sufficient food is 730 million; the amount of food that would eliminate world hunger, per annum (p.a.) is approximately 40 million tons; the amount of food aid p.a. is approximately 10 million tons; and the amount of grain fed to animals in the rich countries, p.a. is over 540 million tons.

* The income gap between the richest fifth of the world's people and the poorest fifth increased from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 74 to 1 in 1997.


Issue #2, October - December 2001

* In 1997, $17 billion were spent on pet food in the USA & Europe; $50 billion were spent on cigarettes and $105 billion dollars on alcohol in Europe; $400 billion were spent on drugs, $780 billion on military spending and $ 1 trillion on advertising worldwide.

* Women account for 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people recognized as living below the threshold of absolute poverty

* In its 1994 report, the UNDP states that Assistance more frequently goes to strategic allies than to poor countries' Israel for example, an American strategic ally in the Middle East, receives $176 in US aid for each poor person while Bangladesh receives only $1.70.

* The developing world now spends $13 on debt repayment for every $ 1 it receives in grants.

* Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.

* If all countries followed the industrial example, five or six planets would be needed to serve as 'sources' for the inputs and 'sinks' for the waste of economic progress.

* English is used in almost 80 percent of all websites, although less than one in 10 people worldwide speak the language. Meanwhile, the number of computers with a direct connection to the Internet rose from under 100,000 in 1988 to over 36 million in 1998.

* Only 33 countries achieved a sustained annual growth rate of at least 3 percent per capita between 1980 and 1996. During the same period, per capita growth declined in 59 countries, mainly in sub - Saharan Africa, the former Communist nations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

* A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world's poorest 2.5 billion people.


Issue #3, January - March 2002

* Nearly half of all Africans live on less than what we pay for cable television.

* For just $4 per year, spread over the next 20 years, each citizen of the industrialized nations can contribute to saving the lives of 1.3 million children in Ethiopia, nearly 600,000 children in Mozambique, another 475,000 children in Niger.

* 10,194,175: The number of years a person would need to work at minimum wage to earn as much money as Bill Gates.

* In 1999, the richest 2.7 million Americans were expected to receive as much after-tax income as the 100 million people with the lowest incomes.

* Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn't happen.

* Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.

* 7 Million children die each year as a result of the debt crisis. 8,525,038 children have died since the start of the year 2000 [as of March 24, 2001].

* Despite all our technological breakthroughs, we still live in a world where:

a fifth of the developing world's population goes hungry every night;

a quarter lacks access to even a basic necessity like safe drinking water;

and a third lives in a state of abject poverty - at such a margin of human existence that words simply fail to describe It.

* The seven largest economies of the industrialized North- the US, Japan, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the UK - which make up less than 1 2 % of the world's population, consume 43% of the world's fossil fuel production, 64 % of the world's paper, and from 55 to 60 % of all the aluminum, copper lead, nickel and tin.

* Globally, 15.7 million adults with AIDS are women and 1.3 million are children below the age of 15.


Issue #4, April - June, 2002

* The networks and magazines sell your head to the corporations that make the products that you will in turn buy. A magazine in fact promises the advertiser a certain amount of heads. "My circulation is 25,000 copies, 3 readers per copy ... that's 75,000 heads. In other words, 75,000 people that could buy your product ... the bigger the size of the ad, the bigger the cheese on the mousetrap.

* The global media market has come to be dominated by seven multinational corporations: Disney, AOL Time Warner, Sony, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, and Bertelsmann. These seven companies own the major U.S. film studios, all but one of the U.S. television networks, the few companies that control 80-85 percent of the global music market, the preponderance of satellite broadcasting worldwide. Whopping three-quarters of global spending on advertising ends up in the pockets of a mere 20 media companies. Ad spending has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade, as TV has been opened to commercial exploitation, and is growing at more than twice the rate of gross domestic product growth.

* As a reader, have you ever filled out those polls in magazines? They don't do those for popularity contests. They do them to know what you are buying, where you live, how old you are. etc. The magazines then use this information to sell your head. And hopefully you will buy a product advertised in the next issue.

* There has been a dramatic shift in sales among the books that were published. The book business has begun shifting even more heavily towards celebrity-driven best-sellers. The number of best-sellers (books that sold 100,000 or more copies) grew substantially in the 1990s. When that fact is juxtaposed against an overall decline in book sales, it is clear that mid-list books are falling off the edge. Good fiction, investigative reporting and other quality books are simply being squeezed out of the market.

* Ad spending hit a record $244 billion last year, with companies investing more money and brainpower than ever to make you buy. That figure will drop this year for the first time since 1991, though it is projected to hit a new record in 2002.

* Kids influence $200 billion in spending each year; the ad industry employs market researchers and developmental psychologists to hone its pitch.

Recent research shows that the average American 3-year old recognizes 100 brand logos.

* A study by the University of Wisconsin found that the space occupied by corporate logos at schools, such as billboards and scoreboards, went up 539 percent in the last decade, while the amount of corporate-sponsored education materials had gone up 20-fold.

* Companies are hiring people to surf the Web, enter chat rooms and pose as regular folks while touting products ­ or just defending certain companies from criticism.


Issue #5, July - September, 2002

* Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone's knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed earlier.
John Dewey

* Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
G. M. Trevelyan

* Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
Bertrand Russell

* It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether, it were hungry or not
Albert Einstein

* The only real education comes from what goes counter to you.
Andre Gide

* You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself. Galileo Galilei Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.
Henry Brooks Adams

* When asked how much educated men were superior to those uneducated, Aristotle answered, "As much as the living are to the dead."
Diogenes Laertius

* Aid to developing countries for education from bilateral sources has decreased, e.g. aid from the World Bank has dropped from 1,487 to 880 million.

* The E-9 ­ the world's nine high population countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan ­ continue to account for more than three-quarters of the world's illiterate population.

*Progress in primary education masks considerable disparities: 60% of the out-of-school children are girls; and the gender gap in countries where this is a major problem has not appreciably narrowed. Children of rural areas, urban slums, ethnic minorities and geographically remote communities also in general, registered slower or no progress in access to schooling.

* Of the children involved in exploitative domestic labour worldwide, 90% are girls. If pay for production workers had grown as fast as pay for chief executives, factory workers would be making an average of $114,035 a year (instead of $23,753) and the minimum wages would be $24.13 (instead of $5.15).

* There are 42 million fewer girls than boys enrolled in primary schools across the world. South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the widest gender gaps.

* To purchase a computer would cost the average Bangladeshi more than eight years' income, the average American, just one month's wage.

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