I live in a country where there is an abundance of food. I can pretty much eat whatever takes my fancy, whenever I want. Food from all different countries. Sweet food, savoury food. Healthy food, junk food. Fresh fruit and vegetables. There are a variety of different grocery stores in my town that I can go and shop from and most are open twenty four hours for six days of the week.
Here’s a confession, I often throw food away that I have bought because it has gone past it use by date and we didn’t get around to eating it. Daily food goes in the garbage (actually compost bin) because someone didn’t finish their sandwich, apple, baked potato – you get the picture. I know many of you reading will do the same yourselves in your homes.
Fast food chains and some grocery stores in the country I live in, would rather throw uneaten food away in dumpsters, than donate it to soup kitchens or homeless shelters. This is not right.
Thousands of miles away mothers are watching their children die because there is a famine. This famine is caused by no rains, the inability to grow crops etc, but it was predicted before it happened and world leaders stood by and did nothing. Even now the media would rather report on a celebrity couple divorcing than the thousands that are dying in the Horn of Africa. Why? Probably, because it doesn’t affect us. We have food. It is Africa afterall. They have famines. It is a poor continent.
The thing is, whether Africa has famines or not, there is an abundance of food in this world. There is more than enough to go around. We could have helped eleviate the effects of this famine, far sooner than we have. We could have helped to save more lives than we have. But, as the ONE Campaign’s recent advertisement shows us, famine is the F-word.
Outside of the Horn of Africa famine, there are approximately 925 million people do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined. 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries. Two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in just 7 countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan (Source: The Hunger Project).
Poverty is the main reason for hunger. Food prices are constantly rising at the moment and that makes the situation even worse for those living on less than $1.25 a day. It’s a vicious circle when you are hungry, as you often get ill and can’t work to earn money for the food so desperately needed. Children miss school, if they are lucky enough to go in the first place. The video below shows what an Ethiopian can buy for $1 a day. Bear in mind though, the other costs people have, other than food costs.
Tonight, almost 1 billion people around the world will go to bed with familiar hunger pangs. In 2011, we have the ability to stop this. We just need to be motivated enough to do it.