World Food Day

Take a stand against Hunger!

I'm hungry. I really am. I woke up this morning, had my, now usual, mug of strong black coffee and settled down to learn about the wonders of Constitutional Law (insert unhappy emoticon here). As I turn the laptop on, it seems my feed into the world is suddenly alive. Amongst the many news clips about the X Factor and Strictly drama, I see an article that the United Nations food agency is 'celebrating' World Food Day, with meetings held in Rome. It was this organisation, founded in 1945, that was one of the world's first, to devote itself to the abolition of hunger.

The stats are astounding. The sheer enormity of the numbers staggering. Hunger and malnutrition are still the number 1 risks to health, worldwide. In a Food and Agriculture Organisation news release of September 2010, it was said that 925 million people do not have enough to eat. Just to put it relatively this is more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union all combined! Poverty, corrupt and poorly managed states, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment are key causes. But war and natural disasters, increasing in recent years are intensifying the already desperate situation, with a child dying every 6 seconds from hunger!

There is a danger, however, that it will remain just this, merely figures that initially shock us, and later, that we forget. The FAO and World Food Programme have various pages of hunger stats and it is easy to glance over them, feel guilty for what we have, and then move onto Facebook and stalk our ex partners and the bullies from school.

But how about we take it to the next, much needed, level? Let's unite against world hunger, and create a positive kind of hunger. One for change and development.

Let us build an insatiable appetite that both demands and creates change. Not the kind of change to happen overnight or to create media frenzy and hit the headlines of every newspaper, but the one that allows for consistent and gradual development that allows the work to be sustained.

Whether it be spreading and raising awareness, lobbying and signing petitions, attempting to change the way we live or take a more direct role in helping organisations like the World Food Programme, why don't we act and become a functional member of bringing about change, a positive change in the world.

The strange things is that there is a whole wealth of food available, despite economic hardship in the UK, most of the people I know, my family, my friends, peers and colleagues and myself all eat healthily and sumptuously. We are able to have basic meals of bread and vegetables, but also the option to treat ourselves and loved ones to luxuries like fancy beef steaks and over-priced indulgent, brightly coloured, cupcakes. Even more so, I too am guilty of indulging in something too much, to the point where my stomach cries out in pain from over eating. It is a wonder then, when we are able to have so much of a variety in such great quantities, yet some communities are happy and quite content with even a hand full of plain rice a day. It is not that we do not produce enough food, but actually a case that we are pretty shocking at distributing the food, both evenly and fairly across the world.

Maybe it's more of a case that we have become desensitised to the atrocities around us, unless they happen on our doorstep? When fundraising for various charities of different causes, a common retort of those who don't wish to donate has been: 'Charity starts at home, mate'. Well, maybe my interpretation is a little deluded, but I'm pretty sure the world is OUR home. Whilst looking after our family is a must, what about our global family? What about the young child suffering from malnutrition who has no one to call family? Who looks after them?

In the words of FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf: 'The world needs to act'. That world is us. We, who have more than we need, are required to act. Regardless of whether it is in your local area, your country of residence or on the other side of the world, in a place you have never heard of... WE need to help. Another saying which I learnt from a close and inspirational friend, and change maker, is just as appropriate in this context: 'service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth'.

So get hungry and work up an appetite for change, however little the steps maybe, and though it may not happen in our lifetime, our target is clear, END world hunger.

I am hungry.