Buy less food, help starving

Katya Curran
Katya Curran
It might be reasonable to expect the death of more than 20,000 people on a single day would make for the most horrific story of the year.

Imagine it - dramatic headlines, extensive coverage and pages full of reader feedback.

The shocking reality is that more than 20,000 people die of starvation every day. Yet this news gets pushed aside by the "Royal Wedding of the Year".

Although the hunger problem is complex, it would be incorrect to infer there is nothing we can do to break the cycle.

At present, the Global Food Crisis is a major cause of poverty and we do have the means to transform this situation.

The knowledge and the resources are at hand - we just need the action.

Recently released statistics show food prices have increased for the eighth consecutive month, reaching a record high.

For example, the price of rice, the staple food for millions around the planet, has increased by 150% in the past year.

As prices rise to dangerous levels, more and more people are finding food is out of reach.

In developing nations, more than 70% of each family budget is spent on buying food.

Due to their tight, unstretchable budgets, when prices increase, the poor are forced to eat cheaper, less nutritious food, and less of it.

As a result, since June 2010, 44 million people have joined the group living in extreme poverty.

Nevertheless, I believe there are things we can do globally to address this.

In the words of Nelson Mandela: "Poverty is not natural.

It is man-made and can be overcome by the actions of human beings".

The reasons for the Global Food Crisis are many. But one cause we can all tend to is food wastage.

Each year, the household sector in our country dumps more than one million tonnes of waste into landfills.

Wastage is a major aggravator of the hunger crisis. The more we waste, the greater the demand for more and the higher the worldwide costs.

Thus, in feeding landfills rather than hungry mouths, we are indirectly part of the dilemma.

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that you ship your leftovers to the starving or deprive yourself of your Sunday brunch.

The solution does not require any form of deprivation. It simply involves becoming aware of the worldwide crisis and buying only what you will eat, so demand and prices stabilise.

Mahatma Gandhi articulated the solution by saying: "If only everybody took enough for themselves and nothing more ... there would be no-one dying of starvation in this world".

We are well within our rights to do absolutely nothing about the Global Food Crisis. But if we do nothing, nothing will improve.

The challenge now is for each of us to adapt our lifestyles regarding food wastage just a little.

We will hardly notice, but the lives of others will significantly improve.

Katya Curran. Year 13, St Hilda's Collegiate School

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