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United Nations: 1 Billion Going Hungry Worldwide

Posted on Oct 14, 2009
global hunger

Global hunger is a “world emergency” now, if it wasn’t before, with the number of hungry people rising to a record 1 billion, according to the United Nations. Given this scary statistic, it’s not looking good for a goal, set in 2000, to reduce the number of people going hungry worldwide by half by 2015.  —KA

The Associated Press via Google News:

“It’s actually a world emergency that calls for action from both developing and developed countries,” said Otive Igbuzor, the head of international campaigns for ActionAid International.

“We know a child dies every six seconds of malnutrition,” he said.

Spiraling food prices have added to hardships, especially in the world’s most desperate countries where the poor could barely afford a single daily meal to begin with. The inflated prices — which caused riots across the globe last year — have stabilized but remain comparatively high, especially in the developing world, Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told AP Television News.

In Somalia, ravaged by violence and anarchy for almost two decades, the monthly expenditure for food and other basic needs for a family of six has risen 85 percent in the past two years, said Grainne Moloney of the Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 20, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

James responsibility for the self or others depends on ones compassion. You have some people who run off to Argentina to get laid and abandon their families and others who take care of their families.  Your have the people like Marten Luther King who seem to care for others and Cheney who cares only for number one.  People decide their own responsibilities!

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By Alex Lim, October 20, 2009 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Parents in some of Africa’s poorest countries are
cutting back on school, clothes and basic medical care
just to give their children a meal once a day, experts

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By stcfarms, October 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Responsibility is not the issue, survival is. If you do not care if billions of
humans die off then you do not have to do anything. Most people will do
nothing to help so you will be in the majority. Wars for food may become
common and just south of the US are hundreds of millions of folks that might
head north if they run out of food.

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By James, October 19, 2009 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s not ‘fair,’ true, but are are each of us responsible for all people?

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Travis F. Smith's avatar

By Travis F. Smith, October 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Certainly not what I expected.

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By stcfarms, October 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

A mere ten feet from my property there is nothing in the soil, you can see
where the chemicals miss the crops as they are a quarter of the size of others.
One bad year in the midwest and a billion people will die around the world,
from 1933 to 1938 they had five bad years in a row…

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 19, 2009 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

Suspect your points may be valid and may we live to see them realized.

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By stcfarms, October 19, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

It has never been about profit, I can produce all that my girlfriend and I need
so in a sense I am already wealthy. As the cost of machinery increases the
small organic farms are increasing in number. My river rafts will be growing
heirloom seeds organically above the shops and water wheels. The land that is
used for the monoculture corn and beans is dieing (no worms, nematodes or
nitrogen fixing bacteria) and chemicals are becoming more expensive so they
may need to rethink industrial farming in the near future.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 19, 2009 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

As one paves the way with innovation, success defined in the minds of opportunists will determine if they wait and watch or create hardships, similar to what happened to the organic small farm movement.

In a sense if your project is successful you may be back in the mainstream, an amusing prospect! Speculation of course! Awareness would be prudent, you seem apt at being aware, wish you well!

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By stcfarms, October 19, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Thank you. That is the reason that I have turned down donations because
people want answers that no one has. The idea of living on the water is recent
enough that there are no experts to consult. There is however a large body of
knowledge on the simple technologies that seem to work for most
applications, it is mostly a matter of seeing what works best.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 19, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

STCFarms, wish you well on your endeavors, yes setting things in stone does provide little wiggle room and paints one into a corner. Absolutism’s as many people prefer handicaps enlightenment, maybe the only thing set in stone should be ones head stone?

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By stcfarms, October 19, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

One thing that I have learned as a jack of all trades for 45 years is that plans
chiseled in stone usually fail due to inflexibility and cost over runs. A more
logical approach is to set a goal that allows flexibility from the start. No one
person knows every thing, that is why I started the river rats group. The group
supplies answers and opposing points of view that are useful in decision

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By stcfarms, October 17, 2009 at 9:36 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, good questions, I will try to answer them to your satisfaction. The
larger the island the more seaworthy it will be as each segment helps support
the other segments. The Flying Neutrinos in NYC are building ocean going
rafts from styrofoam coated with resin, they seem to last years. Richard Sowa
in Mexico uses plastic bottles and his island had a house, trees and a beach. It
survived a hurricane undamaged. You can find links to their methods at http:/
/ My raft is under construction and will be
a factory to produce rafts on the Mississippi river. I will use undershot water
wheels to produce energy and my flotation will be from 60 gallon plastic
barrels. Storms will not be a problem as the rafts will have thousands of water
tight compartments and present a low profile to the wind. I have encountered
pirates many times while serving in the Navy (1965-1977) and they depend on
light craft and small weapons because they need speed to outrun military
ships. My other invention, the infinitely variable solar furnace can create
ultraviolet light that can be concentrated and focused up to 20 miles. Blind
pirates will be lucky just to find land again much less be a problem to us. The
segments will be connected by hinges rather than lashed together. There are
huge areas called doldrums where wind and sea currents will hold the islands
stationary, the Sargasso Sea and the trash vortex in the Pacific are two well
known examples.

Shenonymous, thank you. My efforts will be a drop in the bucket to what is
needed but you can help spread the word. The website listed above is where I
am trying to get others to start similar projects. It is primarily about the
factory raft on the river but is also a good source of information about other
raft building sites.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 17, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

Stcfarms, your island program though interesting, begs many questions, how large are these islands and how sea worthy are they? Floating trash is not an issue for me, we have all read about the huge piles in the oceans. What of storms and pirates, rain water may not be an issue, but sometimes it does not rain in the ocean. I previously managed boat docks which constantly needed to be maintained from movement, it took much time and energy to keep them lashed to together and we used both Styrofoam and plastic floats secured with steel and they needed replacing on an annual basis for they would fill with water and become water logged and I was on a lake not the ocean.  Are these islands anchored or do they float with the currents? Your proposal offers more questions than answers, again I find it fascinating though questionable.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

stcfarms I’m glad you care and will do something about it.  It is all of our obligation to live as healthily as we can, keep vigilant about our waste, do not over use our natural resources, recycle as much as we can, and take Care of one another as well as other animals and our planet, and finally to do our best to make this a Manifesto for Human Life.  Imagine a world where everyone did this.  The world is fortunate to have individuals such as yourself.  I do not think you wasted any time and energy making posts here.  One of my very good friends makes geodesic domes and has great interest in preserving the planet.  For myself, I thank you.  I will look for your incredible islands.  Let me know if I can help.

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By stcfarms, October 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Good advice is like a pregnant cat, you cannot give it away. Perhaps KDelphi
was right, I should not waste time posting as I have an island to build, adios.

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By stcfarms, October 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

It is not that nothing can be done, it is that nothing will be done. The powers
that be make a profit from anything that is necessary and in short supply. If it
is not naturally in short supply they will make it so. There is a way to end
hunger, poverty, drought, climate change and homelessness but the powers
that be will not do it. If you want something done right, do it yourself. Do not
trust your leaders, your clergy, your corporations or an imaginary being to
save you, it is not in their best interest.

My proposal to build floating islands from the plastic barrels, bottles and
styrofoam is met with derision even though the technology is proven. The
islands would be unsinkable and safe but people cannot get past the idea that
they would be made from trash. The islands would create land where none
now exists and collect rainfall that would normally fall in the ocean. Crops
grown on the ocean would need no pesticides or herbicides and would remove
billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The excess water
collected could make the deserts bloom and end drought on land. Fresh water
would be available for everyone on earth.

The islands would cool the sea beneath them and if built in large open
centered rings could create artificial Sargasso Sea environments in the center
to further reduce global warming. The Sargasso Sea environments would
provide breeding areas for marine life. Windmills, solar furnaces et cetera
would provide all of the energy that the planet needs. The powers that be do
not want the islands built but the people of earth should take a good hard
look at the idea.

By Jean Gerard, October 15 at 12:42 am #
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s probably not such a good idea to keep throwing enormous problems out
online like this and say nothing about what can be done. 

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 16, 2009 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

It seems most sad this topic, 1 billion going hungry,receives so little attention as this, compared to continuous contrived bickering of politics and religion, such seems the pecking order of humans.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 16, 2009 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

Jean Gerard, the name is Shenonymous.  Well of course we wish to remain.  I
suppose that was a moot question.  Can we be anything other than human?
Another moot question.  Of course the earth doesn’t care. It is simply a planet. 
It has neither care nor not care.  It has no emotional feelings. It is utter
nonsense to assume it does.  Yes it is we that has emotions and can care or not
care.  I assume most people care about their planet, their home, but most
people are not the problem.  It is corporations and governments.  There are
those groups like the Greens, Sierra Club, et al that do care and do attempt to
influence corporations and governments.  And there are those groups that care
if people starve such as you mentioned. 

I am quite sure I had said earlier petty much what you already said so I am not
sure what is the force of your comment to me.  I did make a couple of sarcastic
remarks but most people would recognize that.

Being intimidated by the problem doesn’t help Annie.  Donate more money if
you personally can’t do anything else.  There might be organizations in your
own community that you could check out if you really wanted to do something. 
Or contact the big ones online. 

Having enough to eat is a human right and all this business of letting people
starve is about as crass and immoral as humans can get.

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By Jean Gerard, October 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For Shinonymous:  1.  Do we wish to remain?  2.  Do we wish to remain human? 
  As you know, it isn’t that the earth doesn’t care.  It’s that we don’t care for the earth.
  As to the U.N. question.  The U.S. government is so heavily influenced by the Right that it has difficulty even remaining in the UN and participating.  UNICEF manages to do a pretty good job, and so far as I know, US is still in that. Also UNRRA. AID?  I think so. Private organizations are always begging, however, and what money they get, they use carefully and wisely for the most part.  No big salaries etc. Especially Quakers and Brethren.  CARE, too. There are others. You know this, of course, but I put the names out there again for those who would like to help some kid stay alive somewhere today.  Of course stopping government waste on war, corporate heartlessness, huge lobby funds, etc. etc. would help, but those people don’t seem to have their heads screwed on right.  In their way of thinking, their being on top depends on millions of little kids being on the bottom. That’s the bigee.  But meantime, when 450 kids die of malnutrition every hour, or whatever the horrendous figure is, I’m for helping what’s out there already.  If it was my kid .... well, you know . . . . .

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By Annie, October 15, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m with Jean Gerard, completely overwhelmed and
intimidated by the problem. I’ve donated some money to
Heifer, but it’s a drop in the bucket. And things never
seem to get better in poor countries. One thing is
sure, basic food, shelter and health care seem like
something everyone should be able to get if the world
were a better place. I am not sure how to get there

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By Jim Yell, October 15, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A lack of responsible reproduction is largely at fault for all this misery. The outrageousness of the attacks by the religious against people taking responsibility for their reproduction is an outrage that probably deserves punishment for people like the Pope who refuse to allow birth control and even encourage the poor to have more children creating more poor.

Feed the hungry but include birth control as part of the deal, otherwise any effort to be concerned and human will fall before the math of multiplication.

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By montanawildhack, October 15, 2009 at 8:05 am Link to this comment


Yes they have mountains in Michigan!!!!... Way up in the northwestern part of the Upper Peninsula there is a range called the Porcupine Mountains…. The Upper Peninsula is a beautiful area populated mainly by deer flies, alcoholic white trash and Indians we didn’t send to their just reward during the purges of the 19th century…..

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 15, 2009 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack, they have mountains in MI? 

Maybe the greatest country on earth,(at least in some peoples minds) could send their legions to these countries and bomb the hell out of them, sort of like planned collateral damage,  so the starving wouldn’t have to continue dieing from starvation. Well! Since they will be dieing anyway. So the noble compassionate and prudent thing to do, is g use some capitalistic vision, for this could be a profitable venture.

Instead of constant Mindless wars, this could provide a purpose or goal for the military (making fertilizer)  and keep the Hallaburtans and Monsanto’s of the wold plush at the same time.

Opportunity knocks!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 15, 2009 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

Do I hear an echo?  A couple of them.  Interesting. 

With turkey day inexorably on its way, turkey farms could be started in all of
those starving countries.  Just think of the millions of turkeys that will be
slaughtered so that Americans can give thanks that they are not the ones
starving. I don’t think Europe has a thanksgiving so they are exempt, right? 
Least I’ve never heard that they give thanks for anything.

What if McDonalds, Sonic, Jack-in-the-Box, Burger King, et al, sent a nickel for
every hamburger they sold to a World Food Fund via the UN?  There would
easily be billions of dollars enough to pay the salary of the person who kept
track and managed the fund, and provide the money needed to buy and
distribute the food for starving people.  Ah, we think it is that simple, don’t
we?  It isn’t.  Those are sovereign countries that have starving people, so
negotiations have to take place even if it is a UN foundation.  So while the
public is made aware of the enormity of the problem, the public is stopped
before they start by bureaucracy and politics.  It is a kind of crazymaking. 
This problem has been known for decades and has been anticipated for more
years than that.  Why the UN hasn’t done more is the big question?

How exactly are Monsanto, and friends to be regulated, controlled, influenced
to protect the public?  Since I know of one group in northern California who
did prevail, it will take thousands of the same kind of legal action to make any

Here is another hypothesis.  This is one that is not going to be liked at all
because there is no fairness or justice involved.  Since the Earth takes care of
itself, what if starvation is its way of controlling the planet?  The Earth doesn’t
care that and where starvation of the innocent takes place, it only cares that a
billion people be eliminated.  Shocking isn’t it?  It is the same effect that war
gives the planet.  Does the Earth and Monsanto have a symbiotic relationship?

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By montanawildhack, October 15, 2009 at 3:16 am Link to this comment

We’ve got lots of food… The trouble is that we feed it to animals….  Something like 90 percent of the grain grown in this country is fed to animals which are in turn slaughtered and turned into Happy meals…  I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years and a vegan for the past five so I’m proof that a homosapien can survive on a diet of nuts and berries….and weed and gin.  But the real question is do we want to feed everyone???  There’s too many of us now!!!  What is the answer??? Simple…  Make me supreme Lord and Dictator of this rock…  Sure hundreds of millions (maybe billions)  will have to be liquidated but they were all gonna die sooner or later anyway..  This will be the one time in history when the end will truly justify the means… A glorious Utopia awaits….  Send your check or money order to Montanawildhack-Supreme Lord and Dictator Fund PO Box 1995 Grand Rapids, MI..  Thanks…

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By Jean Gerard, October 14, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s probably not such a good idea to keep throwing enormous problems out online like this and say nothing about what can be done.  People get overwwhelmed, and are de-motivated, made hopeless, impotent, whereas the facts are that there are things to do to help the situation, and far more could be done.  Organizations like Oxfam and the Heifer Project, CARE and others (on a small scale) and UNICEF have been working tirelessly in many places with some success, but not enough.  They could use more funds.Also huge corporations like Monsanto and ADM need to stop making profits out of measures they say “improve” agriculture, but actually harm it. Anyway, my point is, people need to be activated at the same time they are informed.Also, just stop the wars and give the money to starving children via the U.N., for example. The whole world would be made glad.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, October 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

The right to enough sustaining food must be a human right.  The powerful
corporate food distributors control too much of the world’s food supply to
ensure a robust global food supply.  The high increase in food prices is given
as the main reason behind the intensifying crisis.

In those countries of starving people, mothers must make gruesome choices
of what their children will eat, and often choose which children will eat and
which will die.  One child dies from hunger every six seconds, another report
says.  Food riots occur more and more frequently around the world.

There are those who do work to help.  One group produces an energy packed
peanut butter food that is easy to make, store, preserve and distribute

Seems like if Americans can bail out Wall Street to the tune of hundreds of
billions of dollars, when just previously there wasn’t enough money for
highways and bridges and education, a genuine and authentic resolve to
eliminate hunger is required.  It is a horrible feeling to starve.  I have never
experienced starving but I have gone hungry as I’m sure many who read these
forums have as well.  It is frightening to know you don’t know where your next
meal is coming from.  One’s humanity disappears not only for the one starving
but the ones not doing anything to stop it.

Raj Patel, who made a study of global hunger says that 2008 was a record
harvest year.  There was more food per person last year than there has ever
been in history. The problem is not food, it how it is distributed.

More causes for the inexorable increase in global hunger are documented in a
CNN report as surging oil costs that make it more expensive to harvest,
fertilize, store and deliver food.  An increase in global droughts and hurricanes
wipe out crops and make farming more difficult.  Desperately needed to keep
the food system intact, raw materials like water, oil, decent farmland are
running out.

Another author and researcher, Paul Roberts writes that “Every time an
American bites down on a steak or hamburger, they’re contributing to global
hunger and as other countries become more affluent, they’re copying the
American meat-heavy diet. The problem is that it takes even more grain and
other resources to produce meat.

Fixing the American eating habits will take innovation, heavy business
involvement and changes in public policy, meaning involvement by the
government.  He doesn’t say, however, what the diet would substitute.  And
the more well off will not change their eating habits, so ordinary people won’t
either.  Changing a whole population’s eating habits is generational, a long
time acoming.

More practically, humans have to figure out ways to grow food with less
fertilizer and water, and use less energy to store and transport food and
business, that is corporations, have to drive this effort since activists will not
be able to do it as the job is too enormous. That means it will have to be
“profitable” since money is almost the only thing that drives men.

It is also said that what could help immensely is to teach local farmers in those
countries with starving people how to produce their own crops.  Providing
them with the resources to start farming is almost a no-brainer good first
step.  Problems like precipitation and terrain might be obstacles.  But if they

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By Inherit The Wind, October 14, 2009 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

I guess this means Monsanto’s stock is up…the more starve, the more they can make.

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