This article in on Impakter (as usual, under my real name Claude Forthomme, the one I'm known by in the United Nations) with some great visuals, don't miss it, see here.
Another United Nations World Day? How boring! But this one isn't. This one, in spite of its bland name - World Food Day - is not about cooking for foodies, masterchef techniques and filling yourself up. On the contrary, it's about fighting hunger.
Fighting hunger has become the Number One objective of the United Nations: Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, gives top priority to the elimination of hunger and has launched the Zero Hunger Challenge, calling on all partners, states and non-state actors, to scale up their effort and "turn the vision of an end to hunger into reality".
A key part of this effort is World Food Day.
Celebrated every year since FAO was created (16 October), it focuses every year on a different aspect of the fight against hunger. For 2014, the theme is "family farming, feeding the world, caring for the earth". In developed countries we think of farming as an industrial endeavour. But that's not the case in the rest of the world. 98% of farms in the world are family farms - some 500 million farms and they feed most of the world...but not enough. FAO estimates there are 805 million hungry people in the world, some 800 of them in developing countries. Compared to the 1990s, that's an improvement (it used to be over one billion) but much, much more needs to be done. And much of the planet's resources needed to do this are at risk, from soil degradation and urban sprawl to overfishing.
Yet family farming if it was allowed to function better could deliver the needed food. What is required is well-known and can be summed up in 4 points...Wonder about those 4 points? Read the rest on Impakter, here.
On October 16 - tomorrow - take time to learn more about what farmers do and why they are essential to achieving Zero Hunger, and see if there's something you can do too. All the info on Impakter.
UPDATE: Today, October 16, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands came to the celebration in FAO. Here she is on the podium (at the centre):
And here she is up close, with the Director General of FAO:
Yes, that's what future inequality will look like: access to new technology and round-the-world travel will be reserved to the rich and likely to be denied to the masses. Why? Too expensive.
Another NYT article
from The Upshot suggests that we may all be stuck in rut: there is evidence that in climbing the social ladder, geographic
location matters. The chances that a child raised in the bottom fifth
will rise to the top are lowest in the "old South", around 4% in places
like Atlanta and Charlotte. Conversely, they are much better in the North, for example
33% in Willinston, North Dakota. Clearly, parental and school
Does this sound depressing to you? To me, it does. Yet, I believe it's important to know where we're headed as a civilization. The 20th century saw the rise of the middle class, and that rise continues around the world, as people in developing countries are climbing out of poverty. But the middle class has stalled in America and the on-going (triple dip?) recession in Europe is not helping. It looks like the happy days of the middle class are over in the developed world...
Personally, I hope I'm wrong about that. Still, I did try to imagine our future on the basis of such trends and the result (as all those following this blog already know) can be found in my latest book "Forever Young". My goal was simple, I did not want to write fantasy science fiction, I wanted to take a "hard" look at what our future would really be like. I only wish this NYT study had come out sooner, as I was writing my book, but at least I feel vindicated: this is confirmation that my premise is sound...Nevertheless, I still hope the trends towards inequality that we see today - especially in a book like Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" - will ultimately prove wrong.
Can the Millennials get us out of the inequality rut?