Monday, May 18, 2009

5 out of 10 things you can do to fight world hunger

In the latest issue of The Nation, the monthly feature "10 Things" features ways to combat world hunger. Writers Walter Mosley and Rae Gomes give some good ideas here, you can find more by surfing to the full article.

1 Write letters to the editor and op-ed articles in your local paper calling on the government to cut or end subsidies that encourage large agribusinesses to overproduce grains and dump their surpluses on the developing world at sub-market prices. This ultimately places poor communities at the mercy of volatile global commodity prices. Learn more at The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy for more information.

 2 Ask your representatives in Congress to demand that more foreign food aid be in the form of cash and training rather than food. Farmers in the global South know how to grow food but lack the resources, inputs and tools to farm effectively, develop markets and compete in the world marketplace.

 3 Learn the specifics of what makes products "fair trade." Buy them where available. Download "Green America's Guide to Fair Trade" for a definition of "fair trade" and a list of organizations that follow these specifications.

 4 Conserve energy. With a reduced demand for fuel, global commodity prices--which spiked as the cost of fuel for shipping rose dramatically last year--can remain more stable. This is important because while sending food to poor countries is not the ultimate solution for ending hunger, Food Aid has a role to play due to the desire for variety in food supplies. And, more importantly, natural disasters or political instability will always cause humanitarian emergencies where the flow of aid is crucial.

 5 Pressure the Obama administration to come up with a renewable energy policy that does not stress ethanol and other biofuels. As demand for biofuels has grown over the past few years, farmers in the developed and developing worlds have set aside more and more land for fuel production, degrading the environment and reducing food for human consumption.

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