Monday, April 28, 2008

What Can We Do?

A bit more reading reveals the scope of the growing crisis. Aid agencies are able to purchase less food, which sends more of the poor to markets in near-famine areas, which push up prices and reduce supplies.

On short notice, what can we (Americans, mostly) do? North America is the world's breadbasket - we export 105 million tons per year on net, about 40% of all world trade in grain. If we go on a diet, will that ease supplies noticeably? Cutting out meat (which uses much more grain than grain does) might be a way to go. What about switching to cheaper local foods for the summer, cutting out the fuel costs of transport?

Alternately, is it much more cost-effective to give directly to aid agencies? Or should the entire crisis be allowed to work itself out - maybe the run on grain is just that, and when the harvest comes in prices will drop back to 2007 levels. After all, famine is a danger in many countries right now; the threat has yet to materialize.

I'm interested to read any ideas you may have or resources you may be aware of!


Carol L. Douglas said...

Salim, we are planning on having a garage sale May 31-June 1 to benefit World Vision International, in response to their recent announcement that they will be forced to scale back food aid by roughly 1.5 million people.

While market forces are beyond our control, we still have to recognize that the reality is that innocents will die without our help.

To quote from WV's website:

“This pricing crisis is likely to take at least two years to stabilise. That is far too long for the millions of children under five who need sufficient levels of nutrition now to develop properly. Without enough healthy food children under five can suffer irreversible, impaired brain development and stunted physical development. This has tragic implications for a child’s education and future employment potential.”

Let me know if you or any of your pals want to help.

Carol L. Douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chops said...

Awesome, Carol, thanks for letting us know.

Chops said...

So I found one thing we can do. See this post from May 2 for details.