Hunger is an issue of dignity as much
as it is about food. You cannot give people free food and abolish
hunger, you need to work out schemes for involving the community
and creating opportunities for them to earn their food with dignity...
| Prof. Anil Gupta, speaking in a public forum on
"Is Freedom from Hunger an Achievable Goal"
|There is no shame in hunger. But there
is shame in knowing about hunger and doing nothing about it.
It's a disgrace for the richest nation in the world (USA) to have
35 million citizens going without adequate nutrition.
NY Times, Saturday, September 27, 2003
POVERTY IN US CONTINUES TO CLIMB
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 - The number of Americans living in poverty
increased by 1.7 million last year, and the median household income
declined by 1.1 percent, the Census Bureau reported today. It was
the second straight year of adverse changes in both poverty and
income, the first two-year downturn since the early 1990's.
The official poverty rate rose to 12.1 percent in 2002 from 11.7
percent the year before, bringing the total number of Americans
living below the poverty line to 34.6 million.
The median household earned income fell $500 over the same period
to $42,400. Per capita income declined by 1.8 in 2002 to $22,794,
the first decline since 1991.
Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the newest Democratic candidate, said of
Mr. Bush, "With a record like this he shouldn't be running
for president, he should be running for the hills."
The greatest myth about world hunger is that
it results from too many people competing for too little food. But overpopulation
is not the problem. Hunger is the problem. The truth of
the matter is that hunger promotes overpopulation. The better
fed people are, the fewer children they tend to produce.
Secondly, every nation in the world has the agricultural resources to
feed their own people. But poor people rarely have access to land. All
across the third-world the best land is used to grow expensive cash crops
fruit and flowers for export to wealthy nations and drugs
such as coffee, tobacco, opium poppies (heroin), cocaine, and marijuana.
Third, even the self-proclaimed "richest nation in the world"
the United States tolerates huge numbers of hungry citizens,
while developing nations like Vietnam include the abolition of hunger
in their domestic policies. And fourth, the argument that starvation and
hunger is an unfortunate but necessary result of evolution's natural
selection process fails to recognize that expanding consciousness
wisdom and compassion are evolving too.
Deciding whether you care about other people and want to help them
is a decision each individual must make for themselves. If you conclude
that you don't care about others competition and self-preservation
at the expense of the group you promote conflict, adversity,
and intolerance. Realizing that you do care cooperation
and preservation for the good of the group helps everyone.
The only real challenges to abolishing world hunger forever are
fear of change and the will to do it anyway.
- One billion people on earth (16%) experience hunger during a given
- Currently 840,000 people on this earth are literally starving to death.
Two-thirds of them are children.
- 40,000 people die each day from hunger-related causes.
- 24,000 to 30,000 people die each day from starvation.
- 1.2 billion people live on less than one-dollar per day.
- 1 billion people do not have access to clean water.
- More than 2 billion people have no access to adequate sanitation.
- 1.3 billion people, mostly in cities in the developing world, are
breathing air below the standards considered acceptable by the World
- 700 million people, mostly women and children, suffer from indoor
air pollution due to biomass-burning stoves, equivalent to smoking three
packs of cigarettes per day.
- Hundreds of millions of poor farmers have difficulty maintaining the
fertility of soils from which they eke out a meager living.
Data for Los Angeles:
- In 2003, 82,096 people (0.9%) in L.A. County were homeless, up from
78,600 (0.8%) in 2002.
- According to the 2000 US Census, 58% of L.A. County's
homeless population are high school graduates, and 10% have a Bachelor's
degree or higher.
- In 2003, 18% of L.A. County's homeless are veterans,
nearly double the number of veterans in the overall population (9%).
- 1,674,599 people (17.9%) are living in poverty in Los
- 640,145 children (24.6%) in LA County are poor.
- Statewide in California, the poverty rate is 14.2%;
nationally it is 12.1%.
- 584,000 LA County residents (nearly 6%) experience hunger every year.
1.5-million LA County residents (nearly 15%) experience food insecurity
at some time during the year.
Fully one-third (33%) of all single-parent families
in LA live below the poverty line.
84,300 people in LA County are homeless on any given
night. Up to 236,400 people are homeless in the course of a year.
Explore the following resources to
learn what you can do to Abolish Hunger Forever!