7.18.2011

You, Me, Malnutrition, and Food Dependancy


"Finish the food on your plate, there are starving kids in Africa!" Sounds familiar, right? We were all told this while growing up to entice us to eat the leftover asparagus on our dinner plate. Although I knew the food on my plate was not able to be physically sent to Africa to feed a starving child, it always reminded me of my privilege in the global food system. Especially now with the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, malnutrition and rising food prices are again back on the media's radar. 

Out of the nearly 7 billion people in the world, 1 billion are malnourished. Pretty astonishing, but when you think about the poverty that most of the world lives in, perhaps it's not that shocking. To me, what is more surprising is the fact that developed nations (the world's "North") have an abundance of food. You don't need an economist to tell you that - a simple walk around your local supermarket will show you the surplus. So why is that those in Africa and parts of South America and Asia have such a shortage of food while they live on some of the most fertile land in the world?

The video above does an excellent (and easy to understand) depiction of the food crisis and why some people starve while others have an overabundance of food.
 In only 9 minutes, the video shows the disparity between the world's rich and poor nations in terms of food distribution and access and gives us all a simple solution to make a difference (hint: it's eating less meat!)

I've been a vegetarian for 7 months now and not for the reason of fighting the food crisis, but this video made a compelling case for me as a vegetarian to perhaps change the main reason why I choose to stay a vegetarian (not that this video is asking for everyone to stop eating meat, but it does make you stop and think about the changing diets in developed nations). 

So sit back and relax for the next 9 minutes and learn a little bit about how we are culprits in the problems of the global food system and how we have the power to change it. 


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