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Hunger-A World Dilemma
Hunger is a problem, not only in third world countries, but in the Untied States as well. During the time that the United States experienced one of its longest economic growths, one in every ten households experienced hunger by a lack of food (Nutrition Concepts and Controversies). According to a 1995 national survey 4.1 percent, or 4.2 million, of all United States households experienced hunger (Could There Be Hunger In America? 1). Of the 4.1 percent of these Americans, 300,000 are hungry children. In September 1997 the United States Census Bureau released data that indicated that 36.5 million Americans, or 13.7% of the American population, had lived in poverty in 1996 (Could There Be Hunger In America). Often families that live in poverty are also families that live with hunger. Living at or below the poverty line puts a strain on the family’s food purchasing power. Often money that should be spent on purchasing food is used to pay rent or utility bills. If the Untied States, during times of such economic growth, could experience such hunger, how is hunger affecting third world countries?
There are 800 million people in developing countries that don’t have enough food to eat (The State Of Food Insecurity In the World). Of these 800 million people two-thirds of them live in either Asia or the Pacific. Most of the 800 million people in developing countries that suffer from malnutrition are women and children. Many of these malnourished women and children die from either infection diseases, or parasitic. Developing countries children are the most vulnerable groups that suffer from hunger. These children suffer from low height for their age, low weight for their age, and low weight for their height. With so many humans suffering from hunger and starvation what can one person do to eliminate this suffer? What kind of solution do we need to prevent an increase in the number of hungry people? Are there solutions at the present time that could reduce these numbers? How can we feed so many hungry people and still protect the earth?
Controlling the population
According to the population division of the United Nations, the human population will increase in the year 2025, to reach 8.47 billion people (Eco World). One can only assume that by the year 2025 the human population will exceed the earth’s natural resources and its capacity. The number of humans on earth will greatly threaten the human race as a whole, by placing increased pressure on the environment with more people using more resources. With the population growth increasing so rapidly can we control it, or will it control use?
One must first understand that the population growth is a great contributor to poverty and hunger, and vise versa. As the populations grows so does the hunger, and so increases the poverty level. The first step is to control population growth, by doing so we can start to relieve poverty and hunger. What can be done to slow the population growth, which in turn will help to lower the numbers of hungry humans?
There are several contributing factors associated will the population growth rate, and poverty. The first step in slowing the population growth is to start to eliminate poverty. One way of reducing poverty would be to improve the standard of living of people that live in poverty. There are several factors that contribute to poverty such as, lack of health care, lack of education, and lack of family planning. All of these factors greatly increase a person, or family’s change of living in poverty.
As families receive better access to health care, this in turn will help to keep the number of children that are born into the family down. Also, with better health care families will have access to family planning, which will help to decrease the number of children that need to be cared for by the family. Both family planning and better health care are important requirements for families that live in poverty. Existing members of the family will have increased health, and the family can forgo the experience of unwanted children. In families that experience poverty, family planning is one of the last things that is thought about, the family is more worried about were the next meal will come from, not how to plan not to have children.
One of the greatest ways to reduce the poverty level, and consequently reduce hunger, is to increase the education levels of people that live in poverty. As society educations both male and female
children, the fertility rate begins to decrease. The education of both males and females also increases the wealth of families, which in turn can greatly help to reduce the poverty and hunger levels within families. As young women become educated they learn how to plan for families, how to improve their nutrition, and how to better care for both themselves and their family. All of these improvements will help to improve the family’s standard of living, and thus will decrease the poverty levels, and lower the population growth rate.
The rate of population growth in the developing world is a very real concern and will have consequences long into the future. While population problems are more serious in the developing countries, the impact of each birth on the planet must be a primary concern for all humans. A child that is born in a country where energy and material usages are high thus places a greater burden on the Earth’s resources than a child born in a poorer country. The pressure to grow more food and crops leads to improper clearing of land. This improper clearing of land can result in degradation, loss of topsoil, and erosion of land, as well as atmospheric and climate changes (Nutrition Concepts and Controversies). There is a powerful and growing force that is threatening the quality of life on earth, that force is people. The more people the more materials and resources are used, attacking the environment with ever more machines, waste, and chemicals. Are there ways to improve our methods of producing our food, or improving the machinery we use to produce that food?
Producing our food supply is one of the greatest strains that we place on our earth. In order to grow crops of food, farmers clear forests and wetlands, which in turn changes the Earth’s eco system. This clearing of land endangers the Earth’s animals, birds, and vegetation. As more and more food is need, more and more land is cleared to grow needed crops of food. These crops are fertilized to assist the farmer in growing a high-quality crop. As farmers fertilize the soil this fertilizer runs off into streams and rivers, which in turn pollutes these rivers and streams, and endangers the aquatic animals and plants in the rivers and streams. With the demand for more food comes the demand for more crops and so to will more and
more fertilizer be used to grow these crops. What technology can be used to enable our farmers to grow and maintain crops and fields in a more environmental friendly manner?
One form of technology that farmers can use to assist in safer and more environmental friendly crops is integrated pest management (Nutrition Concepts and Controversies). Through the use of integrated pest management, farmers rely on crop rotation, and natural predators, rather than chemicals and pesticides. Our great-grandfathers used some of these methods, before chemicals and pesticides were widely used. By greatly reducing the amount of pesticide that is used in growing crops, so too are we reducing the amount of pesticides that run off and pollute our streams, and rivers. Another method of agriculture technology is the rotating of crops. By rotating crops this improves the quality and quantity of the crop. Alternating nutrient-devouring crops with nutrient-restoring crops reduces the amount of fertilizer needed by farmers, which in turn reduces the price of crops.
These technology changes will not only improve the environment, but will also improve growth in farming. This growth can reduce food prices while increasing farmer’s incomes. Agricultural development and growth can reduce the poverty level by providing gainful employment to rural areas, were jobs are needed. Technology can help, but how can all people make a difference in the fight against hunger?
Making a Difference
Over the years the United States government has instituted programs geared to help ease hunger. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the United States government implemented programs such as the Food Stamp Program, Women Infants and Children (WIC), Community Food and Nutrition Program, and several other programs to help the fight against hunger (Hunger And Food Insecurity). Of all these programs, one in every six Americans received some type of assistance to feed either themselves, or their family. Every though the United States Government spends $40 billion annually there are still people that suffer from hunger. How can each and every person make a difference?
There are several ways in which Americans can help to ease hunger and make a difference in the life of a hungry person. One way for a community to make a difference is for a community to establish a local food pantry. By establishing a food pantry, families in need of food would have a place to receive much needed food. Local food pantries are designed to assist families in need of food. A family can receive food from a local pantry whether the family receives food stamp, or other government assistant programs, or not. Several times a year our local Boy Scout Troop conducts a local food drive. The Boy Scouts go from door to door to collect donations, either in the way of food, or money. These donations are given to the local food pantry, to help and assist members of the community.
Along with Boy Scout Troops local Super Markets greatly help to supply these local food pantries with food. Around Thanksgiving, and Christmas, most super markets have food barrels, or bins set up in the front of their stores. The food that is collected, by these markets, is donated to food pantries and other food assistant programs to help fight hunger. Although Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when food supplies are low, it would be nice to see markets have food bins out all year long for people to donate food to. Food is needed all year long, not just during the holiday season. Just think what a difference it would make if every time you went to the market you purchased one or two extra items and placed them in that food bin for the hungry. Now just think what a difference it would make if every person, that had the ability to do so, made this same donation weekly, now that could make a difference.
Nutrition, Eight Edition “Concepts and Controversies”, Frances Sienkiewicz, Eleanor Noss Whitney
Klein, Bruce, W. Ph.D. Could There Be Hunger In America?
Nutrition Insights, Insight 8, September 1998
Cason, Katherine L., Ph.D., R.D. “Hunger And Food Insecurity”
Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, Vol.91, No.1, 1999: 49 – 55
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The State Of Food Insecurity In the World: Press Summary 1999
ECO World. An Integrated System
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