The Generation to End Hunger
Currently, 870 million people in the world do not have enough food to eat (WFP Statistics, 2013). In the United States, hunger exists for more than 50 million people, which translates to one in six Americans (Feeding America, 2013). The problem is connected to multiple causes, including, but not limited to, poverty, population, violence, racism, gender discrimination and inequality, and vulnerability of children and elderly people (Cohen & Reeves, 1995). Hunger statistics expose a devastating reality, but with this despair comes a sense of hope that Generation Y, or the Millennial Generation, is the generation to end the war against hunger.
This generation has the knowledge to end hunger. Leading researchers in global health have contributed a substantial amount of information to the hunger knowledge portal. Based on extensive research, it has been determined that enough food exists to provide everybody in the world with sufficient meals for the next three decades (McGovern, 2001). This generation has the technology to end hunger. Developments in technology have assisted the war against hunger through two different routes. First, agricultural productivity growth allows farmers to produce more food using the same amount of resources, in effect making food more available and less expensive (FAO Report, 2013). The second aspect of technology is the media’s ability to reach extensive audiences with a newfound immediacy. The media has served as a convenient and interactive form of technology to gain attention and raise awareness of hunger-related issues. This generation has the political will to end hunger. Food aid and the financial aspect of ending hunger are both hot topics in politics. Globally and domestically, leaders in the political realm have stepped up and placed overarching hunger issues, including malnutrition, obesity and stunting at the forefront of campaigns.
The solution to ending hunger is within reach and I propose a threefold solution based on common research themes. The primary step toward alleviating hunger must be accomplished by political leaders—world leaders must take a stand in this fight by prioritizing hunger as both a national and an international goal. The second step is to promote productive and sustainable agriculture. For as long as new technologies are emerging, technology should continue to be part of the solution. Modern science is necessary to discover how to stretch a small amount of resources over a long period of time. The third step is to continue the movement to empower women until gender equality is achieved. Globally, women-led farmers make up a significant portion of the agricultural labor force. Increasing the power that women have in agriculture can increase their profits and benefit the economy. A program should be set in place worldwide to provide food, nutrition counseling and health services to high-risk individuals, including low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children (McGovern, 2001). Hunger cannot be solved overnight, but given the proper balance of knowledge, technology and political will, preventing and ending hunger is entirely possible.
Written by Lauren Fletcher, Auburn University Graduate Student 2013