On April 15, 2019, Paris' gothic cathedral known as the Notre Dame was destroyed in a massive fire. Within 48 hours, the church received nearly 1 billion dollars in fundraising to help towards its rebuilding and renovation. The support and money raised for this historic building in such a short period of time was truly shocking. While I am very happy that people wanted to come together and rebuild the cathedral, I'm astonished that it took a catastrophe in order for people to open their wallets.
Meanwhile, other places in the world like Yemen and Haiti have been suffering from starvation for countless decades. These sort of places can hardly get more than a couple thousand dollars in support. Where is our support then? More importantly, where is our humanity?
French construction economists estimated that the rebuilding efforts of Notre Dame will cost between $330 million and $670 million. Notre Dame didn't even need a billion dollars to be rebuilt and already has way more money than it needs. France's 3 richest families alone contributed $700 million in fundraising. There are people out there in the world with more money than they know what to do with, and they decide to put it all towards a cathedral?
This conversation isn't meant to be directed towards the wealthy, but to everyday citizens as well. Millions of families with a range of incomes and salaries contributed to the Notre Dame. Our world would be a better place if people treated global problems like they did a building. Maybe we'd actually be able to solve world hunger, allow children all over the world to have an education, and lower climate change rates.
It was crazy to me how quickly all of that money was raised for Notre Dame. Yes, I do understand the importance of the history and architecture behind this cathedral, but at the same time, I also understand the global problems happening in the world today. The economic and environmental issues that are occurring across the earth require global cooperation among nations.
Many individuals may think that the current problems the globe is facing don't affect them. What societies forget to realize, is that people could end poverty, world hunger, and other global problems if every individual could give small donations. However, it saddens me to know that repairing a cathedral is more of a priority than putting our money towards these other causes. I wish that our world was more able to spread compassion amongst all of humankind and to focus on charitable and environmental needs rather than materialistic things.
The cathedral is a masterpiece and important symbol to not only France but to many societies as well. People had every right to shower the church with donations and support, but the rapid amount of donations that were given sparked a lot of backlash and controversy. I can only hope that the extra money raised for Notre Dame can be distributed amongst the globe to fund issues that actually require immediate assistance.