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What is poverty? As described by the World Bank, “Poverty is hunger … lack of shelter … being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future…. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom.”

Poverty is economic and social injustice; it is violence; it destroys.

There are many, often complex, reasons why human poverty continues. They include lack of title to land and land rights, the lack of suitability for human occupation and crops, weather trends, political freedom, local access to markets and infrastructure, the availability of power, and access to knowledge, financing, and technology. These barriers can be overcome. Changing our personal behaviors / human ecology can remove barriers to ending poverty. The closer humanity gets to achieving any of the Seven Results (link) the closer we will be to ending poverty.


Every one of the Seven Results is related to the rest. As for poverty, growing human populations increase the chances they will destroy the carrying capacities of ecosystems. Impoverished ecosystems then deepen human poverty. This stresses social stability and chances for economic and social justice. In a downward spiral, poverty destroys the ecosystem, and the defeated ecosystem can offer only greater poverty. If we fail to solve a single issue—population, poverty, ecosystem destruction, sustainable consumption—all Seven Results are threatened.

If we are able to stabilize and then decrease our populations, there are still billions of people, the have-nots and the have-somes, who want to achieve a higher standard of living. Unfortunately for ecosystems and individuals from other species, their otherwise just quest for economic justice is too often based on an unsustainable and inhumane carnist model of human ecology.

Gathering firewood, Afghanistan – (Will Anderson photo)

Like the haves, the have-nots strive within the same material culture models that have already taken us beyond Earth’s carrying capacity for people and biodiversity. While billions of people remain mired in poverty and consume relatively little, the rest of us push ecosystems into bankruptcy. This is where the ecosystem-friendly and climate change-dampening vegan new human ecology will benefit the poor. 

Every gain, every human success, everything we have comes from ecosystems. We cannot end human poverty in the midst of impoverished and broken ecosystems and the predatory economic systems, human overpopulation, animal agriculture, and our passive acceptance of injustice. Green Vegans advocates for a new human ecology based on achieving Seven Results that can end poverty.