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Last week, Kate Raworth of Oxfam International published an Oxfam Discussion Paper, titled "A Safe and Just Space for Humanity: Can We Live Within the Doughnut?" In the video below, Raworth uses illustrations to help explain the concepts detailed in her paper. Watch it, then continue reading below about how Heifer's work fits right into the doughnut.

Here's the part that really resonated with me:

Between the social boundaries and the planetary boundaries lies an area shaped like a donut, which is both safe and just space for humanity. And if global economic development is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable, it would bring humanity into this space and allow it to thrive here.

If you're already familiar with Heifer's work, I imagine you'll agree: This sounds just like Heifer.

Our mission isn't only to end hunger and poverty. It is also to care for the Earth. Our methods have proven to be both beneficial to our project participants and, at the very least, protective of the environment. We often go beyond protecting the environment when project communities live in landscapes in need of restoration.

To apply Raworth's illustration to Heifer: Heifer works to bring our participants and their communities up to the "social foundation" line without crossing the "environmental ceiling." It's all in our 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development, namely Sustainability and Self Reliance, Improved Animal Management, Nutrition and Income, Genuine Need and Justice, Improving the Environment, and Full Participation.

We know it's possible to live within the doughnut, because we have helped our participants do it for the past 68 years.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.