• Eva El Haddad

Break New Grounds – Part I

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

If I would ask you, what is your basic need in life, what would your answer be? I know, COVID19 pandemic crisis took this question to whole new dimensions, didn’t it? But let’s (try to) ignore global pandemic crisis for now…

I have lived in 3 different cities, travelled to 30+ and made friends from 100+ and I can safely say that our basic needs are inherently different. Where we were born, how we were raised or how wealthy or poor we are, all affect our basic needs in life.

Nearly 75 years of research in psychology, neuroscience, and sociology beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, led us to identify the 6 basic modern human needs as food, water, shelter, sleep, connection (physical and emotional) and novelty. If you already have all this, you are definitely part of a very lucky minority!

The truth is that, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 820 million people “Do Not Have Enough to Eat”. Indeed, in their 2019 annual report on the “State of the Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, the FAO estimates the “Prevalence of Undernourishment” as a percentage of the population at 10% worldwide and at double this figure when looking at Africa alone.

Also, according to the World Health Organization, 785 million people “lack even a basic drinking-water service”. Even more alarming, at least 2 billion people use a contaminated drinking water which is suspected to be responsible for nearly 485 thousand deaths each year with the least developed countries being naturally the most affected.

But does that mean that people in developed countries have all what they need? Far from that. It is just that their basic needs are different.

Indeed, more than one fifth of US adults claim they have felt lonely or socially isolated for more than 10 years. Another almost 40% claim they had this feeling for more than 1 year. More than half of US adults experiencing this loneliness and social isolation have claimed that it has affected their mental health, physical health, and/or personal relationships; 33% have claimed it affected their ability to do their job. This loneliness and self-isolation, lack of physical or emotional connections has also caused 31% of US adults to have thoughts of self-harm and 15% to have thoughts of committing a violent act.

You see where I am going here? We do not live in a perfect world and we still have so many problems to solve. We all want to make a change. We all want to make the world a better place to live, a world where our human needs are met.

But, before making a change let us start by identifying and understanding what it is that we want to change.

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