Thursday, April 17, 2008

As Hunger Rises

Via In These Times:

As Hunger Rises, Chew on This

By Terry J. Allen

A diet of bread and water used to be emblematic of poverty. Now a global food crisis is transforming that meager meal into a luxury for much of the world.

The prices of the world’s three main grains — corn, rice and wheat — more than doubled last year. The causes include poor harvests linked to climate change, diversion of cropland to biofuels, population increases, rising meat consumption, emerging diseases and soaring fuel prices.

In a globalized economy, issues of food scarcity and inflation should be a matter not only of humanitarian concern, but also of national security. A food crisis is exploding.

Another vast diversion of world grain is animal products. One pound of meat requires up to 40 pounds of grain input. Not only does the earth have more mouths to feed every second, but more of them are chewing meat as rising living standards in China and India make it affordable. China’s per capita meat consumption jumped from 44 pounds in 1980 to 110 pounds today — still half the U.S. average. According to the Sierra Club, “America could feed most of Africa with the grains we feed to livestock.”

Please go take a closer look at the full article over at In These Times.

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