Thursday, 24 July 2008

stopping people starving because of our greed

The world fuel and food crises are bad news, but they're not insoluble. Here's a bunch of ideas on how we might do it, and what you and I can do.

The experts think the following are likely to be among the solutions:

  1. Science and technology may find a way. Ideas include developing genetically modified or other higher yield crops, even growing "animal-free meat" from animal stem cells. Improved on-farm technology which optmises water application and improves other farming techniques may be possible.
  2. Practical help for poor farmers, to assist them purchase better fertilisers, build water storages and improve techniques would not cost a lot and could improve yields significantly.
  3. We should look carefully at funding for biofuels, and ensure that their growth is in addition to food production and not in place of it.
  4. Improve how the world trade and economic systems work, by breaking trade barriers and curbing speculative investments which create uncertainty.
  5. Increase food aid to poor countries, which can possibly come from excess food in some rich agricultural countries.
  6. Reduce the amount of meat eaten and fuel used.

But is there anything you and I can do now? Well, yes, there is:

  • We can eat less meat and conserve fuel by driving less, more carefully and in more efficient cars. There is, and will be, strong pressure from meat producers to increase the amount of meat we eat, but this should be resisted - we'll probably be healthier and others will be less hungry.
  • We can donate to overseas aid organisations like Compassion, Freedom from HungerGlobal Giving, OxfamProject Concern, TEAR, World Vision, or one of the many organisations on
  • Support Make Poverty History and Jubilee Debt Campaign, and FairTrade products which guarantee growers receive a fair wage for the products.
  • We can be willing to allow our material standard of living to drop a little to support these initiatives.
  • We can support, and lobby, our governments to work together worldwide to bring about the solutions.

Read more about worldwide solutions - LiveScienceUSNews, Wikipedia on "Food vs Fuel" and Time.

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