Blog Action Day 08 {my little contribution…}

a little bit of moxy on poverty

What is poverty? Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. Any reasonable definition of poverty or hunger implies that significant numbers of people are living in intolerable circumstances where starvation is a constant threat, sickness is a familiar companion, and oppression is a fact of life.

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Mondays with Marjie {malnutrition}

Do to my California siesta we had no Mondays with Marjie last week. We’re making up for it today with this amazing link Marjie sent me to an Anderson Cooper article featuring a nutritional breakthrough and the research of Doctors without Borders relief group.

It’s cheap, easy to make, and even easier to use. What is this miraculous cure? As CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports, it’s a ready-to-eat, vitamin-enriched concoction called “Plumpynut,” an unusual name for a food that may just be the most important advance ever to cure and prevent malnutrition.

This inexpensive, peanut butter flavored, non-refrigerated miracle paste seems to be the answer to one of the world’s largest problems of malnutrition.

My heart beats for solving global poverty and hunger, so reading about this wonder plumpynut-potion makes me want to donate every tub of Jiff in my cupboard to Doctors without Borders. [I wonder if they can do anything with my extra navy beans?]

Here’s the UNICEF video of the wonder paste, aka “plumpynut”

a little bit of moxy on poverty

What is poverty? Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. Any reasonable definition of poverty or hunger implies that significant numbers of people are living in intolerable circumstances where starvation is a constant threat, sickness is a familiar companion, and oppression is a fact of life.

what does hunger feel like?

So, my blog not only serves to open the crevices of my brain and let it air out for the world to see, it also serves as an opportunity to get up an do something about issues attacking our beloved earth…yeah, this floating greenish/brownish/blueish thing that is suspended in the middle of the milky way galaxy…yep, that’s her.

I’m a part of several online social justice programs, but that doesn’t mean a glob of gook if I just read the cries for help and do nothing else about the pressing feeling inside that calls me to action. It’s kind of like a person who falls in love and refuses to show it. So, here’s my plight taken from several of my recent social justice emails…

The shocking recent headlines have created major concerns…our world is facing a hunger crisis. Not an “issue”, not a “problem”, but a crisis. In just three years, the price of staple foods like wheat, corn and rice has almost doubled. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions.”

Well, I’ve guided you through writing your congress person in a previous post…so here’s another one for that “bucket list” of yours.

This summer, the leaders of the eight wealthiest nations (known as the Group of Eight or G8 ) will gather in Japan to set a global policy agenda. That agenda must include emergency action against hunger and long-term commitments to tackle the causes of this crisis.

By clicking this link, you’ll add your name to a petition from the ONE organization, calling on the G8 to take action to break the cycle of hunger.
http://www.one.org/hungercrisis/o.pl?id=293-3777267-hgt1l3&t=3

The hunger crisis is a critical part of the anti-poverty agenda, and your name on the petition says that you too are asking the G8 to take action.
The hunger crisis is not going away…
Prices will keep rising…
More people will go hungry…
…UNLESS we make historic investments to help impoverished countries grow more food.

Food assistance needs to be matched with investment in agricultural development to break the cycle of hunger. A comprehensive approach is needed to increase agricultural productivity in poor countries including infrastructure investment, improved technology, and better access to water, seeds, tools and fertilizer.

Now, thanks to good ol’ wordpress, I can see how many amazing citizens we have visiting here on cathistegall.com who end up clicking the above link…I’d love to see at least 1/4 of my readers petition to help fight this war on global hunger.

Just a question…are you hungry? What have you eaten today? Did it cost you a month’s salary? How does a guilt complex taste to you?

{UPDATE: In the 1st hour, 5 people clicked the link! Rock on people. Rock on!!!}
{hour 2: +3}
{day 2: + 18}
{day 3: + 14…kudos to the peeps!}

ring-ring: wake up call to the World Bank

The World Bank and its sister organisation, the IMF have held a weekend of meetings that addressed rising food and energy prices as well as the credit crisis upsetting global financial markets. [4/13/08 bbc news article]

Well, according to my research, the United Nations met in 1970 and established the following priority, “Each economically advanced country will progressively increase its official development assistance to the developing countries and will exert its best efforts to reach a minimum net amount of 0.7 per cent of its gross national product at market prices by the middle of the Decade” (U.N., 1970). Even though these targets and agendas have been set…look at the stats, and you’ll see that year after year almost all rich nations have constantly failed to reach their agreed obligations of the 0.7% target.

BBC News just posted this article today, saying that

The rapid rise in food prices could push 100m people in poor countries deeper into poverty, the head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has said…

…”We have to put out money where our mouth is now so that we can put food into hungry mouths,” Mr Zoellick said. “It’s as stark as that.”

He called for more aid to provide food to needy people in poor countries and help for small farmers. He said the World Bank was working to provide money for seeds for planting in the new season.

Please tell me how this differs from the initial World Bank and UN meeting in 1970 and why it took a global crisis to actually re-address this critical issue?

entitlement

When talking to a friend about the other day’s post, her retort to our messed up priorities was that these joys of life are rewards for a hard days work. So, does this mean that our 9-5 carries more weight than the miles families have to walk for a clean glass of water or proper sanitation? So maybe this resistance to relinquish even the smallest part of our comfort comes from this wonderful word called “entitlement”. You see, we tend to feel that since we have worked hard and played by the rules, we have earned the right to enjoy the rewards of our efforts. That’s one way to look at it, but it ignores the pure luck involved in being born into a society that provides the opportunity for such decadence in the first place.
It all boils down to a simple matter of priorities. As much as we’d like to place the responsibility our governments; we have the wherewithal to make the world a more just and equal society. At the moment, we’re placing a higher value on ring tones and ice cream than human life. That’s our choice.

my ears are ringing…

Americans spent more than $57 million on ring tones in 2003, up from $16 million in 2002… Most sounds cost between $1 and $2.50 per ring tone (Hamilton, 2003). As of 2008, the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 982 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1 a day or less (Worldbank.org).

I’m working on a paper on global poverty and huger and this is my introduction. This is a policy brief discussing past policies and current trends to reduce this worldwide problem. These stats make me sick. I’ve heard the $9 million stat on America’s consumption of ice cream to the $9 million that could feed every human on the planet, but as I researched, I wanted to bring it a little closer to home…
I think it’s time for us to reconsider our priorities. just maybe.

Hamilton, Anita (2003, December 29). Ring in the new year. Time Magazine. Retrieved on April 5, 2008 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1006551,00.html
Worldbank.org (2008). Understanding Poverty. Overview. Retrieved on April 5, 2008 from http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/0,,contentMDK:20153855~menuPK:373757~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:336992,00.html