Amid all the progress we have made in this technologically marvelous century, the human family, as a whole, has grown poorer! More precisely: "Some 1.5 billion people . . . — more than one out of four human beings alive today — are living in 'absolute poverty.' That is, they do not regularly drink fresh water, eat enough to stay healthy and spend most waking hours gathering firewood for fuel." Forty million persons die each year from hunger or hunger-related causes; fourteen million children die every year before the age of 5, mostly of diseases that are preventable in Europe and North America. More than two million deaths a year are linked to polluted water and poor sanitation. One adult in four in the world is unable to read and write.

Paul F. Knitter, One Earth Many Religions