It’s a fact, too many people in the world die of hunger
Perhaps this year as we sit down to that traditional meal, we might bring some facts to the table as well as our appetites.
Fact 1: Although the problem of hunger is often dismissed as simply an issue of overpopulation, we should be aware that our children consume 17 times more natural resources than children in India. This means your three kids devour as much as 51 children in Calcutta. Before we start pointing our fingers elsewhere to find the solution, perhaps we need to be doing some serious evaluating right here at home.
Fact 2: It takes five pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef.
Fact 3: We are one of the largest consumers of beef in the world.
Fact 4: One can enjoy a well-balanced meal without meat or with far less than we now consume.
Fact 5: The problem of hunger is not one of absolute shortage but unfair distribution. According to the World Hunger Education Service, “The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.”
Fact 6: The average annual intake of grain in the third world is 400 pounds per person. The average in America: 2000.
Fact 7: The United States ranks 22nd out of the 22 richest nations in terms of the percentage given to foreign aid. We give, as a nation, 0.12 percent (that’s a smidgen more than one-tenth of 1 percent) of our gross national product to assist others. Can you imagine how many billions of dollars we could use to help eradicate hunger in this world if we were to rearrange our governmental spending priorities by even a fraction?
Fact 8: 40,000 children under age 5 die every day from hunger and preventable diseases. (That’s 24 children a minute; equal to three 747s crashing every hour, every day, all year.)
Fact 9: The loss of human life from hunger is greater than if an atomic bomb were to be dropped on a densely populated area every three days.
Fact 10: One in every five people in the world is hungry.
Fact 11: More people have died from hunger in the past two years than were killed in World War I and World War II combined.
Fact 12: 70 percent of childhood deaths are associated with malnutrition and preventable diseases.
Fact 13: 70 percent of people in Asia live in extreme poverty. (Source: National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness).
Fact 14: 40,000 children died today from hunger; 40,000 died yesterday; 40,000 will die tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and on and on and on and nobody seems to give a damn.
Fact 15: What is really shocking is that most of us are more concerned about the word I just used than the facts that I was sharing.
Maybe this Thanksgiving we should leave the table still hungering for more more justice for others, more mercy for others, more food for others and just plain more for others.
I believe it would mean more for us as well.
Rich Mayfield writes a
Saturday column for the Summit Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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