Of the world’s more than seven billion people, more than 840 million are counted as suffering from chronic hunger.
While shockingly high, this is a conservative estimate based on strict criteria that assumes a “sedentary” lifestyle with prolonged caloric deficiency lasting more than a year.
The number of people officially counted as hungry can more than double when “normal” and “intense” levels of activity are intermixed with the calculations.
The numbers of undernourished, food-insecure people increases further still when intermittent food shortages and nutritional intake are considered.
Children suffer the most severe consequences of our broken food system, with more than 6,000 dying every day of malnutrition and hunger-related causes.
With more than 250 children dying every hour, why is it so rare that global hunger makes the nightly news? In part, it’s because such extreme and widespread hunger and death are the norm. In part, it’s not on the news because it’s not “new.”
“The world is full of abuses beyond our control, but the immense, unnecessary, and unconscionable suffering of people and animals that results from our food system, is something that we can positively affect by making better food choices.”
Excerpt above is from “Hunger, Meat, and the Banality of Evil” an essay by Dawn Moncrief (2014) included in Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice (2014).
No Meat May recruits recognise:
- earth can produce enough food for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.
- our food system is at breaking point, and action is required to support our growing population.
- any viable strategy to provide long lasting hunger solutions and improve global food security must include reducing animal based food consumption as part of the equation.
“Poor countries sell their grain to the west, while their own children starve in their arms, so that we can feed it to livestock, so we can eat a steak”… right on Phillip Wollen, “the axis of evil does not run through Iraq, Iran or North Korea, it runs through our dining tables, our weapons of mass destruction are not nuclear, they are our knives and our forks.”
Global hunger results from a web of immensely complex factors, including BOTH food scarcity and distribution.
Food scarcity at the global level is an issue now with past surpluses being drawn down and it is fast becoming a critical issue as our seven billion population expands towards nine billion by 2050.
As our population increases, available land, water, energy and other finite resources decrease. So we have more people to feed and fewer resources to feed them.
Scarcity is further exacerbated by our appetite for resource-intensive animal-based foods.
Animals used for food (livestock) are highly inefficient converters of food, energy, and natural resources. In short, livestock consume much more than they produce.
Eating 1,000 calories of meat can easily use more than 7,000 calories in plant-based foods, plus the associated use of natural resources.
By using more than their “fair share,” animal-based foods are a form of redistribution that exacerbate food scarcity, especially in low-income countries.
- A Well Fed World: Scarcity versus distribution
- Global water crisis
- World Health Organisation: Water related diseases
- Compassion as action
- Circles of compassion
- A Well fed World: Global hunger relief
- Oxfams Grow method
Discussion from “Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks”
Debate: Animals should be off the menu