Life and Times Blog

Munch on…

Thanks to Ashfaaq Carim for the stats below. This post is also aided by a post by Bilal Randeree @ http://tiny.cc/73NMz
Much has been said about the global food shortages, and it is indeed an immediate problem of basic human welfare. However, further than that it will also have a deep and lasting impact that could set back affected nations by generations.
Without appropriate nutrition, an entire generation will be subject to a lifetime of deficient health, hampered in their crucial physical AND mental developmental years.
This food shortage will then result an in an increased polarisation between the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’ nations of the world. Nations affected will experience a set back in their human resources which will inevitably affect their ability to sustain any level of material wealth.
If lacking in human capital (as a result of an entire generation not having been given the chance to fully develop in light of poor nutrition) , there will be no choice but to increase reliance on stronger and more developed nations for skills as well as aid. On the point of an entire generation suffering, our country is a good example of that. Generations were deprived, and a deficiency in one generation flows over to the next, maybe two or three times. Children develop in most part because of their parents.
This above and beyond the very human tragedy of being deprived of a most basic need. Food.
What do we do? For one we can scale back in our meat consumption (see article by Bilal). For more http://tinyurl.com/6pbtct

On the topic, the whole organic food debate has always been something I took lightly, possibly even disdainfully, writing it off as one more new age fad, full of pretention. I now no longer take it lightly. Health issues aside (as there has been no concrete evidence that there are any issues with GM foods, that I know of), there is an upside of GM foods in the face of this food shortage. GM produces better yields and hardier crops, but it creates commercial ownership on food. Now this is fine, as long as it does not exclude organic farmers from harvesting their own crops freely. (By organic farmers I don’t mean those that supply Woolies, I mean those in the developing world who grow their own crops.) Once it does do these it becomes an unacceptable situation that requires firm resistance. So long as it doesn’t, I am undecided, Organic or non-Organic, what is better on a global scale, from a humanitarian perspective rather than a personal health view.

Links: http://tinyurl.com/63ylmu
http://tinyurl.com/5az95x

Some facts to munch on:
UN REPORTS PUT THE NO. OF HUNGRY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD AT 963 MILLION

40 MILLION MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE LIST OF HUNGRY PEOPLE SINCE 2007

IN 1992 THE NUMBER OF HUNGRY PEOPLE WAS AT 843 MILLION PERSONS

UN GOAL, IS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF HUNGRY PERSONS TO 420 MILLION PERSONS BY 2015

HUNGRY PERSON: ONE WHO HAS AN INABILITY TO PURCHASE/OBTAIN BASIC SUSTENANCE

ESTIMATES SHOW THAT THIRD OF COUNTRIES WERE ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE UN GOALS UNTIL 2003-5

BETWEEN 2003-5 AND 2007 75 MILLION MORE PERSONS FELL INTO HUNGER

20% OF WORLD’S POPULATION WERE REGARDED AS HUNGRY IN 1990-92

BY 2003-05 THAT FIGURE WAS DOWN TO 16% OF WORLD POPULATION

SINCE 2005 % OF WORLD POPULATION LIVING IN HUNGER HAS RISEN TO 18%

RISING FOOD PRICES AND FINANCIAL CRISES AMONG REASONS FOR LACK OF PROGRESS

INCREASED FOOD PRICES MEAN POOR ARE PROPORTIONATELY WORSE OFF THAN RICH

BY MID 2008 REAL FOOD PRICES WERE 64% HIGHER THAN 2002 LEVELS

RAPID RISE IN FUEL PRICES UNTIL MID 2008 EXERTED UPWARD PRESSURE ON FOOD PRICES

FERTILIZER PRICES NEARLY TRIPLED & TRANSPORT COST DOUBLED FROM 2006 TO 2008

INCREASED DEMAND FOR BIO FUELS CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASING FOOD PRICES

100 MILLION TONES OF CEREAL (4.7% OF GLOBAL PRODUCE) ARE USED FOR BIO FUELS YEARLY

2003-5 FIGURES SUGGEST THAT 97% OF WORLD’S HUNGRY LIVE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

1 IN 3 PEOPLE IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA LIVE IN CHRONIC HUNGER

IN DRC NO. OF HUNGRY PERSONS ROSE FROM 11 MILLION TO 43 MILLION FROM 1992 TO 2005

76% OF ALL PEOPLE IN THE DRC SUFFER FROM CHRONIC HUNGER

GHANA IS ONLY COUNTRY OF 32 IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA TO BE ON TARGET FOR 1996 UN GOAL

POLITICAL UNREST, CIVIL DISORDER & WAR ARE BIG CONTRIBUTORS TO FOOD INSECURITY

IN 2007 A RECORD 47 STATES FACED FOOD CRISES & WERE IN NEED OF EXTERNAL AID

FOOD IMPORT BILL OF POOR COUNTRIES FOUR TIMES HIGHET NOW THAN IN 2000

WEALTHY COUNTRIES INCREASED CEREAL PRODUCTION BY 11% IN LAST YEAR

POOR STATES INCREASED CEREAL PRODUCTION. BY ONLY 1.6% IN LAST YEAR

143 MILLION CHILDREN UNDER 5 IN POOR COUNTRIES ARE UNDER NOURISHED

53% OF CHILDHOOD DEATHS HAVE UNDER NUTRITION AS A CONTRIBUTING CAUSE

December 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Identity

Pulled off a website, inviting thoughts?
Human Rights undermines Muslim identity
The secularist discourse on Human Rights undermines Muslim identity by negating, in the name of universalism, the right of Muslims to any cultural specificity. To prove their respect for human rights, Muslims are told they must board the boat of modernity. The price they are expected to pay for this ride is to re-think their religious convictions or re-interpret their sacred texts so as to conform to international standards and universal values.

What is greatly appreciated, and should in all fairness be recognised, is that the Western human rights tradition, has enhanced both the dignity of the human being and the value of human civilisation. Four major contributions are accredited to this tradition. Firstly, it has endowed the individual with certain basic rights such as the right of free speech, the right of association. Secondly, it has strengthened the position of ordinary citizens against the arbitrariness of power. Thirdly, it has expanded the space and scope of individual participation in public decision-making. And fourthly, it has forced the State and authority in general to be accountable to the public.
However, in spite of the positive contributions, there are serious misgivings. Some of these misgivings relate to the attitude of the West, both past and present, toward the issue of human rights. Historically, the “human” the Europeans referred to when they spoke of human rights was none but their own citizen; the French human, the English human or the Western human in general. While human rights expanded among “whites”, European empires inflicted horrendous human wrongs upon the coloured inhabitants of the planet. Native populations in the Americas and Australia were eliminated and Millions of Africans were enslaved. Millions of humans throughout the world were suppressed. Much of this violation involved undermining other people’s cultural and religious identities.

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment