Zero Hunger refers to creating a world free of hunger. That is goal number two on the UN’s sustainable goal list – zero hunger by the year 2030.
[Goal number one is ending poverty in all forms everywhere.]
But as we inch closer to 2030, it appears as if we’re heading in the wrong direction because the hunger crisis has grown and the goal appears as unattainable as becoming penpals with aliens living on other planets.
There is enough food being produced to feed every single person on this planet. And yet ~850 million people are suffering from malnutrition and starvation. To put it in perspective, add the population of the United States + the population of entire Europe and that’s how many people across the globe who do not have enough food to not be “hungry”.
The global pandemic is one of the reasons for the worsening crisis. Other ongoing reasons include a toxic mixture of prejudice, inequality and discrimination, lack of opportunities, education and access to resources, and border and ideological conflicts.
Climate change and natural disasters are also culprits. The increased frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires has created extreme and chronic hunger in millions by driving people out of their homes and or leaving them without a livelihood.
In 2021, when the World Food Program (WFP) chief David Beasley told CNN that only 2% of billionaire Elon Musk’s wealth could end world hunger, Elon Musk asked the WFP to provide a detailed plan for how $6B could do so. The plan he received outlined ways the $6B would support millions threatened with famine for just one year.
So money, billions of it every year, would certainly help, and can help alleviate emergency hunger situations. But unfortunately, money alone cannot end world hunger.
No one solution can work.
Also, ending world hunger is not just a problem for the rich to solve. We all share that responsibility.
It is also not a third-world or distant problem. People with lower incomes are less able to afford healthy food on a regular basis and so if we were to take a look within our own communities, we will find people who go to bed hungry.
And if you’re wondering how one person can make a difference, let me remind you of the tale of the starfish:
Walking along a beach, a girl comes upon thousands of starfish that had been washed up during a storm. As she walked along the beach, she began picking up one starfish at a time me and throwing it back into the ocean. When a passerby commented, “The beach is littered with starfish, you’re wasting your time, you can’t save them all.”
The girl simply bent and picked up another starfish, hurling it as far as she could. Then she turned to the man and said, “I saved that one!”
Upon hearing that, the man was inspired. He joined the girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon other people joined, and eventually all the starfish were saved.
We too can make a difference by reducing food waste, donating to food collection centers, using our skills to volunteer with organizations working on ending world hunger, and actively participating in advocating that human well-being is prioritized over personal gain and profit.
Are you ready? Let’s make zero hunger our goal too.
*Population of the United States: ~ 331 million in 2021.
**Population of Europe: ~446 million in 2021.