According to statistics, the world produces enough food to feed everyone. The availability of food per capita has increased from approximately 2’220 kcal per person per day in the 1960s to 3’682 kcals per person per day in 2013. Depending on age, gender, metabolism and physical activity, for a healthy, balanced diet, a man needs around 10’500 kJ (2’500 kcal) per day to maintain his weight. For a woman, that figure is around 8’400 kJ (2’000 kcal) per day. This means that the world produces more than is actually needed for a healthy life of everyone on this planet.
Yet, according to the World Hunger statistics, out 9 million people die every year from hunger or malnutrition; which means that every day about 25’000 people die worldwide; more than the death toll for malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined in 2012.
The main cause of hunger in the world is poverty. The World Bank estimates that 10.7 percent of the world’s population, or 767 million people, lived on less than $1.90 per day in 2013.
This discouraging situation is still receiving too little attention and the world is far from finding the right solution. Even more, most people in developed countries are unaware of how their own ignorance and over-consumption affect the current situation. People keep buying more food than they could actually consume, and grocery stores are engaging in the most unethical actions - instead of donating unsold fresh food, they are throwing it all out after closing for the day - just for fear of loosing the next day’s profit.
Never short in justifications for such mindless actions and blaming population growth for excessive poverty, people are often unable to admit that the main is more of a short-sighted economy and greed for profit. Not only do humans over-exploit the Earth as if there were no natural limits, but they often believe to be powerless against the system or the market. Nevertheless, the market is built around demands and consumption, which means that each person actually defines the market and thus bears responsibility for every situation in the world. That also means that no one other than us alone is responsible for the unethical production and distribution of food. At the same time we also have responsibility and power to improve the situation.
By promoting mindfulness at every step from food production to consumption, people can greatly influence not only market conduct but also hunger in the world. Even more important is the cultivation of compassion. It allows people to learn to respect life no matter what form it takes: their own lives, the lives of others, or the lives of animals and plants they consume.
Unfortunately, most people do not grasp the deeper meaning and sacredness of life. They emphasise their own existence and with senseless consumption they ignore and destroy other forms of life and thus unbalance the whole cycle of life, the circle to which they also belong.
This circle of coexisting life-forms is developed through the constant and heartless evolutionary processes, which have balancing and optimisation function. These processes work as an accurate “account manager", without sympathy and corruption and regulate the expenditure of all recourses through the accurate calculation of Income and Outcome - the best and the most flawless accounting.
In blind ignorance, people believe that they are more relevant than any other form of life, and try very hard to override the laws of nature denying their own inclusion in evolutionary processes. But Life does not give much value to the human ego, does not sympathise with any particular life form and eliminates expensive and inefficient consumers and processes. And among all life forms on Earth, the human species became the most expensive one.
Something that began with the simple struggle to survive and overcome diseases, developed into an uncontrolled desire to accumulate resources, to possess material and immaterial goods no matter at what cost. Even science - a tool originally used to understand various levels of life - is slowly losing this function. Rather, it aims to control and emancipate human life from natural processes.
Instead of seeing Life as a continuous interconnected network, people began regarding it as a combination of isolated entities that could be mixed and extracted by personal needs – trees are cut or burned and animals are killed. Likewise, food and water are viewed mare as a property, as objects of transaction or profit and their true nature – a Life itself, is ignored. With the help of technology, people are taking this suicidal path and keep intruding, changing or manipulating the circle of life.
Even in the search for ways out of the problems, such as poverty or hunger in the world, the same approach is used. Rather than treating illnesses - identifying and eliminating obstacles that prevent life to unwind to its full potential - solutions that treat the symptoms are being pursued. And though symptoms should not be ignored, still without curing the cause of the disease, they will reoccur again and again. Therefore, the solutions offered, even with the best intention, often remain fruitless.
Hope that technology is the answer to all problems is not better than hope that prayers alone can eliminate poverty and famine. Both deny the power of Life. But when people forget or ignore the nature of Life, they also deny own nature. Without embracing Life in all its forms, compassion cannot be dispelled, hunger and poverty cannot be resolved, and our own suffering cannot transcend.
Only when we acknowledge the deeper nature of life can we see that one life form has no more value than another. Moreover, all forms are embedded in the web of life and so strongly interconnected that every action has the power to spread. Once we realise that we are not consuming some supermarket items that bear different plant or animal names, but life itself, we can understand its sacredness and stop overconsumption.
Than, and only than, poverty and famine can be conquered.