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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hunger – Caused by People, Solved by People.

Previously, we noted that hunger rarely shows up uninvited.

More often than not, people invite hunger into their lives and the lives of others.

Sometimes the invite is issued unknowingly. A lack of knowledge, for example, can result in hunger appearing on the scene in a home or village.

Other times, hunger appears because of greed, or for the gain of the powerful.

Further discussion of hunger, however, must include some consideration of our perception of nature’s role in the prevalence and persistence of hunger throughout the developing world.

At first glance it would appear easy, if not convenient, to blame nature for much of what ails the developing world.

Upon closer examination, however, it becomes evident that blaming nature may be both unwise and disastrous, especially for the poor.

Without a doubt, nature has the ability destroy lives. A tsunami or earthquake, for example, can end life in a heartbeat. Prolonged drought, on the other hand, ends life slowly and agonizingly.

Yet if we take a moment to look beyond the obvious, the fury of a killer storm or the silent death caused by drought, we find, yet again, people.

Choices made before a natural disaster occurs have as much impact on a post-disaster outcome as the choices made in response to a disaster. In fact, poor choices, made by impoverished families through a lack of knowledge or resources, or by knowledgeable people for their own advancement, are the real disaster, and put multitudes more people at risk than any disaster.

Our daily inaction against the root causes of hunger, for example, is massively amplified in the aftermath of a disaster.

The fact that it often takes an act of nature to force issues of chronic hunger into our consciousness is a sad testament to the human condition these days, especially when you consider that the hunger we are concerned about existed long before the disaster happened.

In essence, hunger has been hiding in plain sight all along.

Yes, we can blame nature. In fact, we can blame whomever or whatever we choose. In the end, however, hunger is most often caused by people, exacerbated by people, and allowed to persist by people.

And therein lies the hope. If people, through the choices they make, invite hunger into their lives, they can, with the right knowledge and resources, send hunger packing.

You can help the poor learn to make choices that make them both self-reliant and resilient.

The question is, will you?