Peshawer, Pakistan -- An Afghan refugee child picks up lentils that have been spilled during distribution in Shamshatoo refugee camp. Food aid is distributed only once a month by the World Food Program in each refugee camp in Pakistan. The aid each refugee receives is limited to 15 kgs. of flour, 1 kg lentils, 0.75 lt. vegetable oil a month. 10/13/01 Photo by Bikem Ekberzade.

Peshawer, Pakistan — An Afghan refugee child picks up lentils that have been spilled during a distribution in Shamshatoo refugee camp. Food aid is distributed only once a month by the World Food Program in each refugee camp in Pakistan. The aid each refugee receives is limited to 15 kgs. of flour, 1 kg lentils, 0.75 lt. vegetable oil a month. 10/13/01 Photo by Bikem Ekberzade.



World population keeps increasing.

From a feeding perspective, according to UN’s World Food Program, there is enough food today to keep each individual properly nourished. However the number of those going hungry are astounding. Despite the availability of it, access to food seems to be blocked somewhere along the line. Today, and mostly in the developing world, 870 people are going undernourished or in plain and simple words: starving. And this is without counting the occasional anorexic supermodel, mind you.

So if it is not Kate Moss, who are these people? According to WFP:

They are of all ages, from babies whose mothers cannot produce enough milk to the elderly with no relatives to care for them. They are the unemployed inhabitants of urban slums, the landless farmers tilling other people’s fields, the orphans of AIDS and the sick, who need special or increased food intake to survive.

Above all, children, women and rural communities are on the frontlines of hunger.

What is more:

Around three-quarters of undernourished people live in low-income rural areas of developing countries, principally in higher-risk farming areas. However, the share of the hungry in urban areas is rising.

Maybe because we are taking their aerable land, building fancy condominiums in their place? Or driving them off their land with war and conflict so the area can be later mined for profit? May that be oil, or gold, or diamonds…

WFP, take it from here:

Today, one in eight people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life, making hunger and malnutrition the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

So.. With the world population increasing at such a fast rate, the money and resources being hoarded by the privileged few, and guns changing hands faster than the blink of an eye, are we creating our doom? At this rate it seems we may not need Marduk after all, as we are so fantastically great at making sure the world does not see another living day (you think I am exaggerating? Read on urbanization, loss of farming ground, fight over waterways. Or be patient as I will soon start writing about them.)

So, I wonder, if what I think (and therefore say) is true, and if there are as many people (and more) everyday, are we not depleting what this planet has to offer to us by consuming at a fast rate? (consider the technological advances presented on a silver plate for creating items for mass consumption: yes, I mean that pink sweater you purchased the other day, which thanks to globalization, was produced at a Vietnamese sweatshop, where people make in a year what you spend over a fancy dinner out with your new outfit.)

I may sound a bit bitter on globalization. Quiet the contrary. I love the fact that we may one day (with a heavy brick, or another nuclear bomb (hopefully the former) falling on our heads) come to our senses and use the tools of globalization to better life on this planet: produce cures for neglected patients (#fatalneglect), scientifically aid the farmers in the Sahel where they can produce crops that fit the geographical challenges (for there are crops suitable for land less arid), discover what the diminishing marine reserves hold answers to which questions, experience, challenge ourselves, and just make better.

You think I am utopic? Perhaps. But perhaps not. Could we not knock some sense into our small lives (and brains) that make up such a huge presence on this planet (us, not so much the brains, sizewise,) and instead of mindlessly consuming, being hoarded, bullied into buying more, spending more, borrowing more and the whole cycle over, just focus on creating, producing more intellectual property, or other intangible yet valuable matter (no, not religion, we have enough of that already. I don’t think this world can stand expectations of another anti-christ-to-come or another end-of-the-world theory. If we finish, we are done for anyways, so why bother? Simply, what I mean is science!)

Not everyone of us is a genius, or a scientist, but that does not mean we can not contribute. If we only invest just a tiny winnie part of our lives everyday over our morning coffee (one moment, two minutes), and think of all the unnecessary material burdens we accumulate over time because they glitter and glow, so much so that we think our happiness depends on them: the IKEA candle holder, or the gold laced napkins which you cannot bring yourself to serve on a dinner table, as they are just too beautiful to be wiped on; and then think of a child going hungry in a part of the world which is too far away, too forgotten, too unimportant to care in the craze of your everyday home-to-work life.

StilI, I don’t mean think of these and make yourself feel guilty and then turn on your internet and find a “make-a-change” link and click on it, hoping that someone out there will feed a kid, plant a tree, fight the dolphin killers, or pick off trash from the oceanside. No, what I mean is, be pro-active for god’s sake (and do I have to tell you everything?) Cook, find the homeless, deliver the food, employ one of them for a few hours a week to trim the lawn. Do any of these, and then next year maybe go to Cameroon and work voluntarily on a development project instead of a jam-packed week in Acapulco, and see how that will sooth your soul (and I bet you, it will!) And if you are still feeling inadequate, then quit your brain melting job, move away to Cameroon, maybe first to volunteer, then work and actually get paid to work full time on a development project: after all you need to make sure you don’t starve in the process, right? Oh, and yes, you can change Cameroon to Congo, to Afghanistan, to Myanmar, to Iraq, yes, why not?

Are you afraid of conflict? Well then.. Let me ask you this. If, like an ostrich you bury your head underneath the covers every night and day, do not turn on the TV and hear about the wars and famine and drought and pestilence around the world and think if you don’t know, they will not hurt you? Well, think again. Think 9/11. Think Newton, Ct. Then think Hiroshima, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Korea, Rwanda. Depending on where in the world you are I’m sure, no matter how deep you bury your head, there has been some massive disturbance in your backyard. And you would hope it was the hedgehogs. Remember, where we, as human beings, stop killing each other, the nature steps in: hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes.

So, start thinking. Start acting. And please, stop watching…

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