Wow. So close. Almost there. As we turn this last corner and look Day 21 right in the eyes, I want to share some of my top reading and viewing picks along with key organizations that are helping to reduce world hunger.
When I get really stuck on a problem, I tell myself repeatedly every problem has a solution. If I say it enough, I believe it. Sometimes I go to bed with the thought, I’m going to wake up with a solution. It never ceases to surprise me how that intention – more times than not – comes to fruition. I believe in the vast capacity of the human mind to solve problems. World hunger is a monumental problem, no doubt. But in one way hunger is an unfortunate outcome of other obstacles: industrial agriculture, the corporate control of food, poverty, lack of education for those in need, disempowered women in developing countries, and corrupt governments exploiting citizens’ trust and ignorance.
Tomorrow I’ll discuss activism and actions consumers can take to help alleviate world hunger. Today’s solutions are all about knowledge and awareness building. I’m taking an educate then demonstrate (listen, learn, act) approach to sharing ways we, the global community, can save the world. Lofty goal? You betcha.
Below are a number of resources. Keeping in mind this is not an all-inclusive list, so please, share your ideas! I’ll add to it as well.
Population, Sustainability, and Malthus: Crash Course World History 215
by John Green
A review of history that answers the question, how many people can reasonable live on earth?
The Future of Food
The documentary, The Future of Food, highlights the disturbing changes occurring in the food system. Watching it will show (in easy-to-understand and enlightening ways) the issues around genetically engineered foods and the corporatization of food. If you want a good grasp on what’s happening to the environment and the skewed ethics of corporations who are gaining momentum on controlling your food, I suggest you watch this movie.
Food Inc. is another interesting and informative flick on our nation’s food supply. Check out their website to learn more about what you can do to take back control of your food, your health and the health of the planet including 10 simple things you can do to change our shared food system. http://www.foodincmovie.com/get-involved.php
Check out these 18 Food Inc. Facts everyone should know!
Forks over Knives
From the mastermind behind the movie Forks Over Knives, Brian Wendel writes, Many of us and our loved ones are medicated, sick and dying prematurely. Due to skyrocketing health care costs and an aging population, it is burdening our economy in an unsustainable way. This is arguably the issue of our time. Yet we have before us what could be a real solution to a real problem—if only we would take it seriously.
In this film, T. Colin Campbell in all his medicinal brilliance shares how humans can turn on and turn off cancer cell growth simply by changing the level of protein in our diets. This movie shares the research behind reversing your medical diseases. I recommend this movie only for you folks who care about your health or the health of someone you love. Otherwise, there’s no need to watch it.
What’s Wrong with What We Eat – Mark Bittman
Bittman in all his intellectual, articulate and entertaining glory, discusses how the fates of individuals and all of humanity are intertwined. He shares how our demand (not our need) and consumption for certain foods (that are no good for us) are what contribute to health issues. The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that plants promote health and we don’t need animal products or junk food for health (of course this doesn’t mean we don’t need some junk food for comfort – just a thought coming from a hungry writer). Both – animal products and junk food – are marketed heavily, supported by government agencies and create an unhealthy demand. Basically, those who believe they need these foods are simply buying into sophisticated and cunning marketing schemes.
He speaks of the death of family farms and how we arrived at our current state of food production. He adds how we have less variety of food now that we have moved away from a plant-centric diet and how farm subsidies are contributing to overall problem. The thing that nags at me about Bittman is his VB6 movement – Vegan Before Six. Either a person is or is not vegan. It’s not a part-time gig. I say that believing any reduction in the consumption of animal products is a good step for one’s health, the environment, world hunger, and the animals like it too. So, while I support much of what Bittman shares, I think his message is diminished by his behaviors. This video and Bittman would have more credibility if he were to go full on and practice the ethics of what he preaches.
Okay, I can expect some pushback from recommending this movie. I know. Michael Moore has some radical tendencies. If you can put aside his one-sided approach to movie production and simply listen to the message, this movie has a lot to offer. It answers how we in the United States arrived at this current place of inequities – financial crisis and tanked housing market. And it is entertaining in a sick, messed up sort of way. He details government actions aligning with corporate interests, bailouts, and who is winning and who is losing. As usual, it’s the regular everyday folks like you and I that get the big screw.
While the movie, War Dance, does not take a look at hunger in Uganda, it surely focuses on the poverty that has resulted from war in Northern Uganda. The focus is on the amazing children who have suffered at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and how they are striving to overcome the harsh reality of unforgivable violence and the absolute pain that accompanies being thrown into a state of fear so immense that they, themselves had to commit violence onto others to survive. I highly recommend this film especially if you don’t understand that some of the causes of poverty have absolutely nothing to do with the people who are living in destitution.
The True Cost
A riveting and heartbreaking movie, The True Cost (thanks to Nicole for telling me about it!), shows the very real and very sad connection of materialism in the fashion industry and how it contributes to the poverty and death of garment workers in Asia. This movie calls out human rights violations, suppression, and environmental destruction through water pollution and the proliferation of genetically modified (GM) cotton.
Cowspiracy is a must-see when you’re ready to see the destruction caused by animal agriculture. The filmmaker, Kip Anderson, uncovers a widespread refusal of environmental organizations to acknowledge industrial agriculture’s complicity in environmental degradation.
The movie Fed Up is about the US Sugar addiction and how out of the 600,000 food items in the US, 80% have sugar, which is subsidized by the government. It’s predicted that by 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes.
Feeding Nine Billion Video 1:
Introducing Solutions to the Global Food Crisis by Dr. Evan Fraser
Food security expert Dr. Evan Fraser guides us through a cool whiteboard presentation (with a very fast drawer, I might add!) of his solution to the Global Food Crisis
Feeding Nine Billion Video 2: Science, Technology and GMOs
Food security expert, Dr. Evan Fraser, calls out the negative aspects of biotech and how it benefits corporations while wreaking havoc on the lives of farmers. He addresses the over 100,000 suicides of farmers in India who fell prey to the false claim of better living through growing genetically modified crops. Contrarily, he claims there is a place for science and locally appropriate technology.
Organizations Making a Difference
Below is a collection of sites that can help you learn more about world hunger. They are organizations and dedicated staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly to make a difference.
International Fund for Africa (IFA) connects compassion with a need: to help the children, the future of Ethiopia and of our global world, thrive. IFA operates on the principle of Ahimsa (nonviolence and respect for all life) and its founder’s deep and abiding belief in biocentricity and the interconnectedness of all life. IFA promotes non-hierarchical and non-exploitative relationships between human beings and all other life forms.
The Small Planet Institute
Founded by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, the Small Planet Institute, offers an “ongoing tool to explore and share our understanding of the root causes and—most important—the root solutions to environmental devastation and injustices throughout the global food system as well as the democracy deficit that this needless suffering reflects.”
Learn more about the correlation between health and food at the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.
Founded in 1975, WhyHunger is a leader in the fight against hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world. One of its founders was the musical genius Harry Chapin. WHY is convinced that solutions to hunger and poverty can be found at the grassroots level. WHY advances long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance.
Earth Island Institute
For 25 years, Earth Island Institute has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends.
Brighter Green is a non-profit public policy action tank that aims to raise awareness and encourage dialogue on and attention to issues that span the environment, animals, and sustainable development both globally and locally. Brighter Green’s work has a particular focus on equity and rights.
Food for Life
Food for Life is a nonprofit organization, bringing food and life to the needy of the world through the liberal distribution of pure food prepared with love. The project started in 1974 and today Food for Life is active in over 60 countries worldwide serving up to 2 million plant-based meals daily, FFLG is the world’s largest food relief organization.
United Nations Zero Hunger Challenge
This past July and as part of their sustainable development goals, the United Nations food relief agency launched this initiative to identify and nurture new technologies and business models which will contribute to the global goal of ending hunger by 2030.
I’m running out of steam here folks. These are my top book picks in progress. If you order any of them through my affiliate links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you. Win-win!
Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé
World Hunger: 10 Myths by Frances Moore Lappé, Joseph Collins, and Peter Rosset
The Food Revolution: How Your Diet can Help Save Your Life and the World by John Robbins
The 30-Day Vegan Challenge by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Written by my dear friend, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, animal activist extraordinaire, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge will guide you step-by-step through everything you need to know about transitioning to and thriving on a vegan diet.
The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health
Dr. T. Colin Campbell reveals sound scientific evidence of protein over-consumption and illness along with how the healthiest people on earth consume plant-based diets.
Well Earth Well Me! by Kenda Swartz Pepper
My Food Justice Diet Experience
Whew! What a ride. This morning, I discovered we were out of bananas. I made a special trip to the store to get some, because I was afraid to go to work and be struck down by hunger midway through the day. I forgot my banana. I realized it the moment I arrived to work. I wasn’t sure how to reconcile that loss. It was the first time since I began working (at a local gallery) that I didn’t bring food along. Was I going to survive? Seriously, that’s the question I asked myself. Our relationship with food can be so primal at times. By the end of the day, I was still standing and had no experience of shakes or weakness or headache. I came home to a delish and hardy bowl of basmati rice, beans, and avocado. The end.
Excuze any airors. This blog’s chief editor, the amazing Mr. Pepper, has gone to bed and so must I. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night.
Day 20 Food Intake
I had a cranberry juice this evening, and I forgot to add it into my spreadsheet. Too.tired.now.
Educate a boy, and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community.
Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.
~John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day
To read other posts in this series, click click click the links. Please share your comments!
Day 1: The Food Justice Diet
Day 2: Alarming and Curious Statistics
Day 3: Finish Your Plate, There are Children Starving in Ethiopia
Day 4: The Nameless Hungry
Days 5-6: “Where Does She Get Her Protein??”
Day 7: One Small NGO Making a Big Impact in Ethiopia
Day 8: The Language of Hunger
Day 9: Plenty of Soy Solutions in Latin America
Days 10-11: Can Small-scale farming feed the world?
Day 12: Why Organic Farming?
Days 13-14: The Have and Have-Nots of Southeast Asia
Day 15: Have You Eaten Today?
Day 16: Hunger in America
Days 17 & 18: Hunger’s Dirty Little Secret
Day 19: Eat Plants
Day 20: Watch This, Read That
Day 21: The Power of Activism