Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on January 25, 2008
Filed Under Green Report / Media
I admit it. I have listened to the argument that starvation is the world’s way of cleansing itself of overpopulation, and there is a part of the argument that makes sense on a broad, systems level. What the argument doesn’t take into account is that there is plenty of food to go around. In fact, the food glut is so bad in America that farmers are paid to leave productive fields fallow in order to stabilize prices on overproduced crops such as corn and rice.
Food is taken for granted in industrialized nations where the question is not “Is there anything to eat?” but “Hmm… What should we eat?” Delicacies abound and food is so cheap that obesity rates for lower-incomes exceed those for the more affluent, adding a tragic irony to world food problems and due in large part to multi-national food chains such as McDonald’s.
According to Poverty.com, the problem for un- and under-developed countries is that the hunger is a vicious cycle. People get sick from lack of food, which makes them less able to provide food for themselves and their family, which makes them sicker, and so on. Another insidious problem is that, as world weather becomes more extreme (droughts, floods, storms, etc.) hunger problems reach a point of no return. The people hardest hit by bad weather are those in already poverty-stricken areas with little infrastructure to overcome natural disasters.
What is being done? The UN’s World Food Programme is designed to combat many of these problems by providing “work for food” programs that build needed infrastructure, buying food from developing countries whose farmers struggle to compete in a global market, and airlifting food to victims of natural disasters. WFP sponsors a host of other vital programs that are helping, so get involved if you can.
The hunger issue shines a bright and revealing light on a significant side effect of globalization: global pricing erodes local sustainability, especially for the poor.
Click here for a map of the most vulnerable hunger areas.
More information and avenues for getting involved can be found at the WFP’s website.