"Why are those cars driving around with red noses mommy?"
"They're raising awareness regarding rhino poaching."
"What's a rhino mommy?"
"It's big, and in the wild."
"Can I have some food mommy?"
"Go ask those people with the red noses on their cars."
That's how I imagine a conversation between a kid and his mother looking over the border fence of the N1 from Alexandria, at the passing SUVs.
You know how skilled we've all become at turning our heads away from beggars at the traffic lights, waiting the requisite few seconds and then driving off?
The recognition that there are too many deserving charities and too few donors is a similarly inconvenient moment - we just try to ignore it, and move on with our lives.
Is it right though? If we were to rank all the possible charities in the world - right from 'Preventing mother to child HIV transmission' to 'Save the lesser-spotted dodo' - what would you rank at the top?
My gut-feeling is that people should always put other people first: it's the natural order. You look after your own kind first. If the situation was reversed, would rhinos first feed starving rhinos or try to save humans who were being poached?
In a perfect world, we'd have money for everything and there would be no rhino poaching, animal cruelty, domestic abuse or starvation. Unfortunately, this one is not that world, and we need to ask ourselves whether we're better served by donors spreading their money thinly across an array of charities, or whether we're going to focus all possible effort on alleviating problems one at a time.
My proposal is this: charities should first be ranked by necessity to saving or preserving life, and then by whether they're working with humans or animals. Isn't human life more important, ultimately, than a poached rhino? And isn't it pretty insulting to humans in need when somebody drives by with a red rhino nose on their cars, proudly proclaiming, "I think that the plight of an animal is actually more important than you and your life-threatening needs."
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