Blog Action Day and Fair Trade Month

Today is Blog Action Day, which is why you’re getting a news post on a Wednesday. To make up for it, tomorrow will be a review day. I participated in Blog Action Day last year, when the topic was the environment, by posting about organic and fair trade candy. This year’s topic is poverty, which is a bit more difficult and rather darker to address in relation to candy. I could go the lighthearted route and post about how we all need to buy generic brands or dollar store candy now that our economy is struggling, but I won’t. That belittles the plight of the many truly poor and hungry people in the world.

This semester, I’m taking a course entitled “The Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food,” taught by the highly esteemed Kelly Brownell of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. All of our lectures are being filmed and will eventually be available for all to watch through Open Yale Courses (probably next calendar year would be my guess). We recently had a lecture on hunger, so I thought I’d throw a few facts out there.

A person dies of hunger every 3.6 seconds.

75% of these are children.

That’s 16,000 children per day.

1 billion of the world’s 2.2 billion children live in poverty.

Even in today’s modern world, when America’s biggest problem is overnutrition, food insecurity, malnutrition, and hunger are serious issues to be mindful of.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the World Bank’s International Monetary Fund are two key organizations trying to end world hunger by attacking poverty, preventing disease, changing agriculture policy, and getting the world to care.

The goal of the UN’s Millennium Development Project is to get developed nations to donate 0.7% of their Gross National Income to help them eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. How are we doing on that so far? While Norway and Sweden are giving 0.93 and 0.92 percent of their GNI, respectively, the U.S. is giving a paltry 0.22%. Out of all of the nations on the UN’s chart, only Portugal gives less, at 0.21%.

Think about that in comparison to how much money we’re spending in Iraq or in Afghanistan or in bailing out Wall Street. And the next time you buy a candy bar, think about how lucky you are to be able to indulge in those excess calories. If you want to learn more or learn about how you can help, check out the resources on the Blog Action Day website.

On a related note, we’re now about halfway through Fair Trade Month (aka October). Fair Trade strives to pay people living wages for their work, purposefully above market value, which is a big help to those trying to make their livings in their developing nations. I’ve reviewed several Fair Trade products on the site, and I highly recommend that you try out one of them or another Fair Trade product.

Sorry today’s post was a downer. But I hope that, even if I made you sad, I also made you think.