Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Many More Must Die of Hunger?

Today, around 25,000 people will die of hunger (source). It is estimated that around 16,000 of them will be children. Look at that number again: 25,000. That's one person every three and a half seconds. Count slowly to three. Someone, probably a child, has just died. Do it again. And again. The number will be around seventeen over the course of a minute.

25,000 people. How many of you live in towns or cities smaller than that? Can you imagine your entire neighborhood literally starving to death? In some African villages, that is exactly what is happening. Can you imagine having to choose which of your children to feed, having to choose which ones will live and which ones will die? Today, thousands of mothers will have to make that choice.

Why? Well, there's a simple answer and there's a complex answer. But I'll just give you the simple answer: greed. That's it. There's nothing unfamiliar about it. It's the same thing that does a good job of making people's lives miserable everywhere. It's simply that some people think they are more deserving of the Earth's resources that everyone else. Some of those people are African dictators and warlords. Some of them are Western politicians who don't think they can justify sending aid to the hungry, they don't think their constituents will re-elect them and that would mean losing the political influence that'll get them cushy lobbying jobs when they retire. Some of them are CEOs of large corporations who would rather pay unsustainable wages than risk the bottom line. And some of them.... well, they're you and me. They're those of us who rail against any increase in taxes that might affect our comfortable way of life. They're those of us who think it's not the government's business to help people and we make that point when we vote, electing those who see the world through the same "us versus them" lens. We're the ones who buy the products made with cheap labor, furthering the exploitation of the poor.

So, what's the point? Am I just trying to make you feel bad? No. And do I think that America, or any developed nation, can solve the world's hunger problem simply by changing the way we do things, changing the way our system works? Of course not. But it's something to think about, at least. Those 25,000 lives, perhaps twenty or twenty-five since you began reading this article, are something to think about.

I am not a politician. I do not know all the logistics of sending food aid to poor nations. Yes, I know the causes of hunger are complex. Yes, I know those warlords and dictators steal food meant for the poor. Yes, I know it's mighty hypocritical of me to write about people starving to death as I sit here with a full belly inside my comfortable home. But I know wrong when I see it. And I know that by myself, I, as an individual, can do very little to bring an end to world hunger. But I also know that because of my writing I have quite a few people who follow me on social networking sites, people who read this blog. And maybe I can ask all of you to do one thing.

There is a website called The Hunger Site. You can read their information on the site but basically, they have advertising sponsors who donate money to provide food aid every time you click on the "Click Here to Give" button. You can click once per day and can also go through the tabs to support several other causes. It is important to note that this site is not non-profit but they are doing good work and last year (2011) 52.8 million cups of food were paid for by sponsors because of daily clicks by people like you and me. An additional 4.1 million cups of food were funded through purchases at the site's store.

This costs you nothing, only a few seconds of your time each day. If you are skeptical about the veracity of these claims, please read the Wikipedia article (here) and the entry (here). And please visit the The Hunger Site to help provide food for those who can't afford it. There is no reason 25,000 people have to die of hunger. But why haven't we stopped it yet? How many more must die of hunger? We have the resources to feed the entire population of the world. All we need now is the will.

The Hunger Site

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