A World Wide Famine
In The Works?
it just seven years ago that the new millennium dawned? I remember all
the talk about how this new era would give us a chance to escape from
all the follies of the 20th century. Well, it didn't take long to realize
that all the old follies were still with us, waiting to be repeated.
is one of them. The last century was dotted with mass famines, all of
them man made. Surely the UN and the leading nations of the world would
not let that sorry record repeat itself?
however, that they will. The UN is doing its part to help prevent famines,
but the UN can only do what the leading nations, represented on the
Security Council will allow it to do. We must remember that any criticism
of the UN is in reality a criticism of the five permanent members of
At any rate,
the UN has warned us that a famine of Biblical proportions may be on
the way. Tuesday's New York Times has the story. "World Food Supply
is Shrinking, U.N. Agency Warns," by Elisabeth Rosenthal (12-18-07).
Here is the gist of it.
who runs the UN Food and Agriculture organization has stated that there
"is a very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food"
in the coming years. That doesn't sound very good at all. Rosenthal,
reporting from Rome, says his reason for announcing this is that because
of "an 'unforeseen [?] and unprecedented' shift, the world food
supply is dwindling rapidly and food prices are soaring [good old supply
and demand] to historic levels."
to be only 12 weeks worth of wheat and 8 of corn left in storage (based
on world wide consumption levels.) to feed the world in case of an emergency.
One reason for this is that it is more profitable to grow non food crops
than food crops. There has been "a shift away from farming for
human consumption to crops for biofuels and cattle feed" [more
McDonald's burgers for the First World obese]. And, don't overlook the
fact that "the early effects of global warming have decreased crop
yields in some crucial places."
of the World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, is quoted as saying, "We're
concerned that we are facing the perfect storm for the world's hungary."
Other experts are equally glum. A major, crop disease or climate change
in an important area would put the hungary in "a risky situation."
This has already happened in Australia (lack of rain) and In Ukraine
change) with less food being produced.
Diouf thinks the advanced countries will have to come up with new ideas
to reflect the new economic and environmental realities. New ideas are
in the works, but they may be based on putting people before profits.
When has the US done that lately?
But not to
worry here in the USA. We will be able to ride it out. Ms. Sheeran noted
that, "In the U.S., Australia and Europe, there's a very substantial
capacity to adapt to the effects on food -- with money, technology,
research and development. In the developing world, there isn't."
It's comforting to know that if disaster strikes it will be the poor
of the Third World who die off while we will continue to pollute the
atmosphere, destroy the climate, and have all the junk food we need
to see us through.
Riggins is the book review editor for Political Affairs and
can be reached at email@example.com or at
Thomas Riggins Blog.
Share Your Insights
it! And spread the word!
Here is a unique chance to help this article to be read by thousands
of people more. You just Digg it, and it will appear in the home page
of Digg.com and thousands more will read it. Digg is nothing but an
vote, the article with most votes will go to the top of the page. So,
as you read just give a digg and help thousands more to read this article.