Politics & Media
Dec 10, 2014, 07:04AM

What's For Dinner?

The shame of world hunger.

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Recently, when most Americans were eating Thanksgiving dinners, the United Nations’ World Food Program announced that food vouchers to over 1.7 million Syrian refugees were suspended due to a cash shortage. Funds from the U.S. were enough to cover November, but as winter approaches in the makeshift tents and camps, other donor countries have failed to fulfill their financial commitments.

These people have no access to the labor market and, due to war and displacement, their lives have been destroyed. People around the globe go to bed hungry every night. One in eight people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment and children are the most affected, often suffering up to 200 days of illness each year.

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. In fact, world agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person than it did 30 years ago. Despite all other causes, an unequal distribution of resources and control over income is the primary cause of hunger. Most of it is due to military, political and economic power that typically ends up favoring a minority of people who live well while others barely survive. We should be ashamed that world redistribution hasn't happened yet.

You don’t need to look halfway around the world to witness hunger. Just last year The Washington Post ran an article about school buses delivering lunches to children in Appalachia during the summer months when their free school lunch programs had come to an end. The children would sit under trees on the roadside waiting anxiously for what would be for some the only meal of the day.

Our country needs to put food problems higher on our agenda. Forty percent of America’s field corn goes to biofuels because of subsidies that are offered to farmers. This drives up food costs and impacts water and land.

The conversation could go on forever about the causes and solutions to world hunger but people can look into their own lives to see what changes can be made. Being conscious of our food choices, which often lead to waste and poor use of resources, is one. The number of obese people suffering from their own health problems is roughly equal to the number of hungry people. Taking care of our bodies indirectly affects those who suffer. 

  • Blaming fat people in America for food shortages on other continents and remote areas on this one is total BULLSHIT! Get a clue and a fucking sandwich!

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  • @Texan, I am not assigning blame. I only mention the two to highlight one of the underlying causes of hunger: unequal distribution both w/in our country and between countries. Roughly 1.1 billion people suffer from hunger and for the first time in history, an equal number are overweight.

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  • kathy, I notice that you stay respectful and level-headed when commenters are rude to you. Do you really feel calm or do you just rein in your feelings? (BTW, I respect your approach though I'm not tempted to follow it.)

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  • According to the AMA, one of the major causes of both obesity and chronic undernourishment is poverty It can be relatively expensive to eat a healthy diet. ( a point you make several times although indirectly) Your last sentence does blame the obese by saying their state causes suffering (even if indirectly). Since this is the first time in history ( a dubious claim at best) that the two have occurred in the same number further suggests the lack of a correlation. The 1.1 billion people without potable water would be a much better metric. That all said, I'm glad that fat shaming was not your intent. C.T. what is rude is blaming a class of people for the ills of another. In this case fat-shaming. There are 1.1 billion Chinese people, For the first time they roughly equal the number of obese people, they must be a cause of obesity. Or would you prefer to blame obesity on the 1.1 billion Hindus in the world? If you consider fat-shaming respectful and level headed, then you too can get a clue and a fucking sandwich.

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  • @C.T.May I do try to be calm and nonjudgemental and respect others opinions. When I am frustrated or upset by a person or situation I try to remember that i'm not reacting to the person or the situation but to my own feelings about it. When you can understand and recognize this completely, it frees up alot of our personal energy

  • That's admirable. You sound like a heavy meditator; if you are, then maybe I should get back to that stuff.

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  • I am the worstt meditator although i do practice it...hope you get back into that stuff!! :-)

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  • You're the second-worst meditator. ... Yeah, I'll just get out the old eggtimer and get back to it.

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