Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An inconvenient truth

The earth is filled with problems: war, terrorism, climate change, crime, starvation, etc. It can be very difficult to properly assess which problem facing the world is the most poignant and thus the most deserving of our attention and resources, however, food and malnourishment problems appear to be monumentally large.

I have been reading newspapers and political blogs on a daily basis for years and years. While I was always aware of the wide array of problems facing the world it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I discovered just how ridiculously severe one of the problems facing the world is; I would like to offer my opinion that the most poignant problem facing the world today is hunger / malnourishment. Of all the deaths in the world about 58% were of a malnourished person. Lack of food played a role in exacerbating these deaths. Now, trying to solve any of the world’s problems looks like a daunting task and no less so when we look at feeding the world’s 1 billion hungry souls. Societies such as the U.S., Canada, U.K. etc. invested massive amounts of money, resources and lives to bring an end to the Second World War (which claimed on average about 35,000 lives each day). At present there are 100,000 malnourished people dying everyday and although these malnourished people constitute less than one sixth (16.7%) of the world population, they account for about 58% of worldwide deaths! These people need our help! Their stories are not well publicized because these people are disproportionately poor citizens of poor countries who do not have the means to make their problems well known.

A few of the posts below look at this problem in more detail – I hope that my writings on this subject can change people’s opinions about what aspects of international assistance should be our collective focus. I wish I weren't broke - if I had some significant money I would use it to buy ad space in a big collection of the world's newspapers and print an article summarizing the world hunger points that I've made in this blog. Getting the attention of the world's decision makers could lead to this issue being addressed by provoking additional funding commitments. Or earmarking some climate change dollars to alleviating both problems simultaneously. For instance: if we planted many many many food bearing cacti (like prickly pear) in hot, dry and poor regions of Africa and Asia we should be able to significantly increase those regions' food supplies.

Jacob Levman