When it comes to the global food system humans can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. That’s the thought I had while standing in the biting cold of Somerset House in London at the launch of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign. Despite there being enough food for every human on the planet, millions of people go hungry every night while millions more have so much to eat we throw tons of it, literally tons, away. What a shambles.
Last year two million children died of hunger. That’s two million preventable deaths. Nearly 900 million people will go to bed hungry tonight. The numbers are so huge they’re hard to comprehend.
So the IF campaign, a coalition of over 100 charities and thousands of individuals, has identified four areas which if we could fix, would start to bring an end to hunger:
– If we ended the scandal of unscrupulous corporations dodging the tax they owe to developing countries;
– If we ended the practice of land grabs – poor farmers being kicked off the land they’ve farmed for generations;
– If we forced governments and corporations to be open and honest about their actions which affect the food system;
– If we gave enough aid to stop the poorest people dying of hunger.
This year the UK is hosting the G8 summit in June which gives us a huge opportunity to really make a difference. The Prime Minister will be chairing the meeting, and if he and his fellow world leaders can address these four issues we could smash hunger for good. These are complex issues but as actor Bill Nighy said this week, space travel is complex and we did that. We ended the transatlantic slave trade, we ended apartheid. We can end hunger.
Christians around the world say the Lord’s prayer, ‘Give us today our daily bread’ but how do we make this a reality for our fellow human beings? While we are able to gorge ourselves on almost every kind of food from around the world our global neighbours are dying because they can’t get enough. This year we have a chance to do something about this perverse situation. It’s going to be an exciting year with some big events at key points like the Budget and G8 meeting.
At the launch event Bill Nighy said: “We are electing not to forget, we are choosing to care.” Let 2013 be the year we choose to care and to act.
To find out more about the IF campaign, to watch the funky animation laying out the four IFs and join the thousands of people signing up visit www.christian-aid.org.uk/if.
Image by Tom Whitby via Getty Images.