Archive for October, 2011

Food Justice

In a world that produces enough food for everyone, why are some living with excess and others with nothing?  The seminar today presented the major challenges of fixing the world’s broken food system.  The three challenges were:  sustainable food production (feeding 9 billion people without destroying the planet), equity (to address inequities among producers and the consumers), and resilience (managing risks and reducing vulnerability to local and global levels).  They then gave suggestions for international reform followed by a call for action, in order to remedy this broken system.  Reforming the food aid system, regular inspections, and capitalizing on (or making the most of) the new global climate were among the suggestions given.  The actions called for were given in regards to the fact that hunger, poverty, and vulnerability are concentrated in rural areas. Thus, these were expanding social protection and developing comprehensive strategies to reduce hunger.  If we work together, we work towards ‘growing a better future‘.

‘We need to address the question of global hunger not as one of production only, but also as one of marginalization, deepening inequalities, and social injustice. We live in a world in which we produce more food than ever before, and in which the hungry have never been as many.’  ~Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food at the FAO Conference, November 2000

In this day and age, with an abundance of food,  it is unacceptable that so few have so much and so many have so little.  I believe that this inequality of distribution of food is an effect of the capitalist system, which is based on inequality and the assumption that there must be rich and poor for the system to function properly.  Therefore, if we want to live in a world where everyone has access to food we ought to oppose the capitalist system that creates poverty and contributes to the inequality of food distribution.

‘… nowadays when it comes to the rains sometimes you get too much and it destroys the crops. Sometimes you don’t get any at all and the crops just wilt. If that happens, you don’t have any food the next year. About the rains, I don’t know what we can do.’
~Killa Kawalema, farmer, Malawi


World Hunger

ACF International (Acción Contra el Hambre & Action Contre la Faim) is an organization that seeks to end hunger worldwide.  It aides those in areas of war, conflict, and natural disasters.  It focus on the following five areas:  nutrition (treatment and prevention), health (public health programs, immunization, prevention and training local staff, maternal health, etc.), food safety (resumption of farming, livestock, and other activities generating sufficient resources to families to feed themselves adequately), and water (the first food, without it there is no life).

Accordingy to the World Hunger Report of 2011, food prices are steadily increasing.  This is a major cause of poverty and food insecurity in the world today.  This is particularly true of smaller African countries who depend on imports from other countries.  Furthermore, it is making the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) even harder to reach.  Currently, the MDG is to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger in half by 2015, but this still leaves 600 million people without sufficient food.  Therefore, it is going to take much more than the work of a few NGO/NPOs.  Jacque Diouf of FAO, Kanayo F. Nwanze of IFAD, and Josette Sheeran of WFP insist that “the entire international community must act today and act forcefully to banish food insecurity from the planet.”  They go on to discuss what must be done, increasing farm productivity and reducing food waste in developed countries, for instance.

All problems related to inequality, such as world hunger, are effects of the capitalist system.  It is a system that needs rich and poor, satisfied and starving, slaves and masters, etc.  Therefore, to solve world hunger we must advocate for a different more equitable system not based on consumerism and over-consumption.   Factory farms are also a product of capitalism.  Factory farms are giant torture chambers for animals.  If you ever witness a video of what happens to defenseless animals inside factory farms you will never want to eat meat again.  The capitalist solution to world hunger is to increase production of meat via factory farming.  It is noteworthy to point out that many diseases come out of factory farms that affect humans (i.e. swine flu).  It is my belief that we can feed that world without treating animals as objects to be used by humans.  In short, capitalism is not the answer to world hunger.

The following video clearly, and concisely, interprets the worldwide hunger crisis:

Today’s seminar on ethnic discrimination resonated with me, especially when they were presenting the information regarding indigenous peoples. While the ILO Convention and the United Nations have set laws to protect these people and their land, many of them still need our help.

I receive weekly emails from an organization called Survival International.  Survival International works with the following tribes from around the world, helping to ensure their protection and fighting for their human rights.  Please take a moment to visit their website and join the efforts to preserve the basic human rights of these people.

The Americas


Asia & Australasia

One tribe in particular is in desperate need of our help, the Jummas tribe of Bangladesh.  Please visit this website, and send a letter to the Bangladeshi government, urging it to ratify ILO 169 immediately.
It is interesting to me that indigenous people have such a close connection to nature.  They do not separate themselves from nature like we do in modern society.  In fact, we have become so alienated from nature that we are even waging war on the environment on which we depend for survival.  We ought to look to indigenous people as an example of how we can live at peace with the earth and ourselves.