Did you know there are almost 370,000 global conversations under the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems every year?
It’s an often-trending topic that sums up how we feel when our day is interrupted by trivial – but annoying! – problems. We’ve all done it – complained about our bus running late for the second day in a row, or not being able to find a new TV show to watch, or the socket that is just that bit too far from the bed for our phone charger – only to add the disclaimer #FirstWorldProblems to show we know how we sound.
Using the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems is fun. A universal “in-joke” that allows us to laugh rather than cry when we feel frustrated.
But have you ever stopped to think about what it really means?
Using the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems is a good reminder that we’re all aware there are bigger – and much less trivial – problems facing people around the world.
But it can suggest that those problems are removed from our lives here in Ireland or indeed the global north – unwittingly creating the idea of “different” or “other” worlds when in reality we’ve never been more aware of how connected we are as one global community.
Everyone finds unreliable public transport or running out of phone battery annoying, whether you live in Ireland or Malawi.
And everyone is affected by the biggest issues facing our world right now: poverty, inequality, discrimination, conflict and climate change.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the reality of this interconnectedness more than ever before, how at any moment all of our lives can be turned upside down by factors beyond our control.
The only solution was to come together as a global community. That has always been the only solution.
There aren’t any #FirstWorldProblems. Just #OneWorld facing global issues that affect us all.
And we’re all part of the solution.
Every day you are part of Ireland’s efforts to tackle poverty, inequality, discrimination, conflict and climate change worldwide. Through Ireland’s overseas development programme, Irish Aid, the Irish people contribute a small portion of their taxes to support development and humanitarian work carried out by organisations like us at Oxfam Ireland.
Our small island might sit at the edge of Europe but Ireland is firmly at the heart of the global community. Throughout our history, we have experienced what many countries continue to suffer today – hunger, poverty and forced migration – and we also see the universal impact of inequality, discrimination and the climate crisis at home and across the world right now.
Our turbulent past has given us a unique insight into the needs of others, making us both generous of heart and pocket. Through this generosity, we stand in solidarity with vulnerable communities around the world.
We know that together, we can create a better, fairer, more sustainable future for all.