That was the headline of a 9-15-12 article in the New York Times.
In Chapter 6 of our book, we summarized the sad dilemma of world hunger. It boils down to three things: a finite amount of land, a growing population and a steadily increasing preference for the highly inefficient western diet by entire cultures of people coming out of poverty for the first time.
As for the finite amount of farmland; actually it’s not finite—it’s shrinking. Each year the world loses (to degradation and erosion) a chunk of land about the size of South Carolina. And as for the growing population, the net daily gain is 197,000 people. It’s like adding a new Grand Rapids, Michigan every single day. From the 9-15-12 New York Times article (see link below), Tyler Cohen writes:
THE drought-induced run-up in corn prices is a reminder that we’re nowhere near solving the problem of feeding the world. The price surge, the third major international food price spike in the last five years, casts more doubt on the assumption that widespread economic development leads to corresponding gains in agriculture.
In the United States, there is no general consciousness of the precarious state of global agriculture. Even in the economics profession, the field of agricultural economics is often viewed as secondary in status.
On this blog, I frequently write about why our elected officials and world leaders never seem to address crucial problems like global warming, water shortage, loss of species and world hunger.
Cohen writes: “Today, we have two presidential candidates who both look a bit short on grand vision and transformational change. Perhaps they could look to helping solve the food problem — and making a big dent in global hunger — as America’s next beneficial legacy.”
The United Nations has made their position public on these kinds of global issues. But without serious leadership from officials from the most powerful nations, nothing is going to happen.
United Nations. “A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change,” according to a UN report, June 2, 2010. “As the global population surges towards a predicted 9.1 billion people by 2050, western tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable,” says the report from United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.
As for the United States, addressing the obvious solution (as described by the U.N. above) to world hunger would be political suicide for any presidential hopeful. By the same token, members of Congress would not be re-elected in most states if they started talking about the need for eliminating meat, dairy, and eggs from our diet.
The Bottom Line. We cannot depend on our world leaders to tackle some of the most urgent global issues. As Gandhi said, “We must be the change that we wish to see in this world.” Since our current diet-style is simply unsustainable, it is inevitable that change will eventually come.
And by making the right choices sooner rather than later, we will help to ease the transition for all concerned. And, in the meantime, our efforts will be rewarded with vibrant health. Please take a look at the source article as well as a few of my earlier blogs on this topic.
- Source article. World Hunger, the Problem Left Behind – NYTimes.com
- Earlier blog. “Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism”
- Earlier blog. Why are the “world’s greatest thinkers” missing the boat…
- Earlier blog. Unhealthy, unfair, and unsustainable. Yet still ubiquitous.
- Earlier blog. World hunger, energy, water — and the “obvious” solution
- Earlier blog. Todd Akin, David Letterman and the dearth of true leadership
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.
—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation