Ending World Hunger: A Moment With Bill Reflection
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Interesting words from a career soldier, don’t you think?
3.1 million children die each year from malnutrition. 13.5% of the world’s population is malnourished. The numbers are staggering but they are just numbers, too nebulous for most of us to wrap our brains around, and really just figures on the screen as you read this article.
Reading those figures we do not experience the pain associated with hunger. We do not experience the weakness or the decrease in cognitive skills. We do not feel the sensations related to the human body slowly eating itself, or the hopelessness as the organs shut down and death slowly but relentlessly wins a battle that was begun, for many, at birth.
Hunger has no political affiliation. It has no national loyalty and it knows no boundaries or allegiance to faith. It is the epitome of a democracy and it accepts all who qualify, and hundreds of millions qualify each and every day. It happens in the cities of the richest nation on earth and it happens on the Savannah of Africa. It visits Borneo and it visits Budapest, and it drops by for a cup of coffee and a burial in London, Seattle, La Paz and Toronto.
Is there nothing that can be done? Can’t we do something to end world hunger and give each person born a real chance at a good life.
The Causes of World Hunger
Interestingly, and sadly, there has never been, in the history of the world, so much food produced. There is literally enough food produced each year to feed all seven billion people, and yet over thirteen percent suffer from hunger. How can that be you ask?
This is such a complicated topic. The World Hunger Foundation lists the following reasons for world hunger:
- Natural disasters
- The poverty trap
- Lack of natural resources
- Poor farming practices
- Lack of an infrastructure
- Lack of needed social services
I had a chat with my wife, Bev, the other day about world hunger. She asked me if I thought it was possible to end world hunger and I surprised her a bit by saying no, I do not believe it is possible. Looking at the state of the world as it exists today, I do not see any hope that world hunger will ever be eradicated. That is purely a realistic appraisal of the situation; that is me looking at a very painful situation with logic and basing my answer on all factors involved….given the current state of affairs, we cannot and will not end world hunger.
Let’s take a look at one country and see if my haunting prediction is realistic.
The Kingdom of Burundi is a landlocked country in East Africa. It is considered to be one of the five poorest nations on earth, and it has been rated as the least global of any nation. It has a history of poverty, corruption, war, genocide and horrendous environmental conditions. It has no infrastructure and thus no way to manufacture products or ship them to the rest of the world.
End hunger in Burundi? You might as well flap your arms and attempt to fly.
And I can list at least ten more African countries that fit that same description.
So what do we do about those countries? Some will say we mount a massive relief effort, and that industrialized nations need to step up and do their share….but wait…..
Industrialized nations have been “doing their share” for decades with little or no effect and…..
There are people starving in the industrialized nations, and now we have that whole nationalism thing going and millions who will say we need to take care of our own and let the other nations worry about themselves.
Oh what a mess!
It’s Time for My Own Opinion
As a compassionate human being I hate the thought of children dying this very moment because of a lack of nutrition. I ache for them and there are times I weep for them.
As a citizen of the United States of America, I am incensed that people are dying in my country because of a lack of nutrition. Unlike some nations in Africa, we have an infrastructure here. Unlike some nations in Africa, we have the resources and the wealth here. I can live with the fact that people die daily from cancer, road accidents, heart disease and countless others. I cannot live with the fact that one of the richest nations on earth allows its people to live in abject poverty and yes, allows its people to starve to death.
A friend of mine, Mark Weller, has become an activist for the related issue of homelessness. On his site he raises awareness about the hypocrisy of the richest nation on earth unable to provide housing for its citizens and by extension unable to provide sustenance for the body and soul for its citizens.
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My own thoughts
Are There Solutions?
Of course there are, but realistically very little will be done for many nations. I do not believe for a second that some poverty-stricken nations like Burundi will ever eradicate hunger. A roll of the dice, a cosmic game of chance, call it what you will, but some human beings do not have a chance from the time they draw their first breath to the time they die much too young.
Are there solutions in the United States, or England, or France, Germany or Japan?
Of course there are, and there is no logical reason why hunger cannot be stopped in industrialized nations within the next ten years, but it will require a complete shift in priorities. I wish I could say I have faith in our elected leaders, that they will do the right thing, the humanitarian thing, but I do not.
I do, however, have faith in every one of you.
Whenever anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of H.O.W. to always be there, and for that, I am responsible.
Humanity One World (H.O.W.) believes it is the responsibility of every citizen to do whatever is necessary to help those around us who are in need. We take it upon ourselves to lead by example, and we take it upon ourselves to be the instruments of change.
Change happens in a city when determined citizens take the steps necessary to affect that change. They organize, they protest, they show up at council meetings demanding, they offer solutions and they refuse to give up. They become the little engine that could, and they become the fly in the ointment, but they do not go away until injustice is eliminated.
Is there a solution? Yes, most definitely, and the solution is you!
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”