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Global Hunger Revelations
Over the past few months, I have been boldly, pretentiously, and arrogantly preoccupied with exploring the worlds of health, lifestyle, and entertainment. On Friday, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (“FAO”) threw a big and much-needed bucket of ice-cold water right in my face with an incredibly surprising and disturbing report on world hunger. For the first time in the world, the number of hungry people exceeded one billion people, i.e. 15% of the population of our planet. Very sobering and chilling news! Before I go any further, I want to go back 15 months and re-think something I wrote:
How we approach and solve the questions below, and how effectively the world works together, will ultimately define and shape the next hundred years. These issues are increasingly at the forefront of the agendas of many nation-states, and I hope they will only grow in importance as we journey into the 21st century.
– Explosive population growth
– Accelerating technological development
– An unprecedented change in the world economic balance
– Depletion of fossil fuels
– Deadly virus strains and diseases
– Terrorism and social unrest
Believe me, these issues will occupy the news more and more, and people will gradually realize their importance and direct consequences for their own lives as we move further into the 21st century.
Yes, that’s right. Another doomsday prophet. It doesn’t affect us. We’ve heard it all before. We are more concerned about the economy and the difficulties it is causing us now. We can’t even buy a new car this year, and we will have to deal with the three cars we already have, one of which is almost five years old. And we can’t afford to upgrade our TV to the latest 50-inch HD offering. We are inundated with grotesque amounts of food every day, spend tens of billions of dollars on various ineffective weight loss programs in a losing battle against growing obesity, and annually throw away enough food to feed tens or hundreds of millions of people. While a billion people go hungry every day. What’s wrong with this picture?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the findings of the FAO report. 93% of the world’s hungry live in Asia and Africa, and an incredible third of the African population, mostly in sub-Saharan countries, is hungry or at risk of starvation. One in three people! The number of hungry people has increased by more than 100 million compared to last year, largely due to the global economic downturn and higher food prices. Rising prices of staple foods such as rice and corn are fueling unrest and unrest around the world. The goal of the World Food Summit is to reduce world hunger to 420 million people by 2015. We’re not even close! There is no way to achieve this goal as we are unfortunately headed in the opposite direction without any real counter-initiatives.
Unfortunately, it will only get worse. UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura reported at the Fifth World Water Forum in Istanbul earlier this year that we are heading irrevocably towards a global water crisis unless we take immediate action. The path we are following will lead to acute water shortages for half of the Earth’s population within about 20 years. Think about that for a moment and consider the unimaginable global implications! Accelerating population growth, environmental pollution, higher living standards, increased meat consumption and the sharp rise in biofuel production all contribute to the growing water shortage. Poor health, disease, environmental disasters, political and social unrest, and even wars (water problems sparked riots against the government in Khartoum six years ago that escalated into the current conflict in Darfur, with an estimated 400,000 dead ) are the direct consequences of water scarcity. A lack of political support, a leadership vacuum and chronic underinvestment contribute to making the global water outlook virtually hopeless.
It doesn’t affect us either, right? It’s always been that way and there’s nothing we can do about it. And these reports are, of course, self-serving, alarmist propaganda and have nothing to do with reality. Right? No. The situation is escalating and poses a serious, long-term threat to the peace and prosperity of our children and future generations. Spend a few months in sub-Saharan Africa, tell us about your experiences, and you’ll find your outlook on life changed forever. We all can and must do something to prevent this imminent (20-30 years is not that far away!) global catastrophe that could ultimately trigger a complete Global Reset with immeasurable consequences.
I urge the multitude of environmental groups looking for good cause to immediately stop making the fuss that Obama swatted a fly; forget about bailing out the bastards in California, which will put tens of thousands of people out of work; and drop all your other meaningless matters. Please put your resources and energy into something that really matters to the world we live in! We are all better off.
Only by being aware of this extremely critical global issue can we better understand and focus on it; by negotiating and mapping a long-term direction and solution; by mobilizing the necessary resources, making significant commitments and investments, perhaps we can reverse the deadly path we are on. This is an extremely complex issue that requires global cooperation and clear, long-term action. I believe the situation will get much worse before proper steps are taken and the problem is seriously addressed. But when that happens, I’m sure we’ll find a sustainable solution.
On a final note, I would like to acknowledge a friend of mine, Carol Anne Levy, who is actively doing something about what we discussed above and has made it an integral part of her life’s global journey. This is how you help our world:
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