and World Hunger
Worldwide, nearly a billion people suffer from chronic hunger. 24,000 people per day or 8.8 million per year die from starvation and other hunger-related causes. Three-fourths are children under five. Chronic hunger causes stunted growth, poor vision, listlessness, and susceptibility to disease.
10% of hunger deaths are attributed to catastrophic events like famine
or war. Most are due to chronic malnutrition caused by gross maldistribution
and waste of food resources. Most of the waste is due to non-sustainable
agricultural practices, such as depletion of cultivable land, topsoil,
water, energy, and minerals, and the conversion of plant to animal protein.
of Animal Agriculture
meat-based diet requires 10-20 times as much land as a plant-based diet.
Nearly half of the world's grains and soybeans are fed to animals, resulting
in a huge waste of food calories. The extent of waste is such that even
a 10% drop in U.S. meat consumption would make sufficient foodstuffs
available to feed the world's starving millions.
animal agriculture has been devastating the world's agricultural land.
The process begins with clear-cutting of forests to create cattle pastures.
Eventually, the pastures are plowed under and used to grow animal feedcrops.
Depletion of topsoil and minerals begins soon after the trees are cut
down and escalates with tilling. Without the plant growth to hold it
in place, topsoil, laden with minerals, fertilizer, and organic debris,
is carried by the runoff of rain and melting snow into nearby streams.
The insatiable demand for animal feed crops leads to the use of sloping
land with greater runoff and arid land requiring irrigation. Irrigation
accounts for more than 80% of all water available for human use, leading
to widespread water shortages.
agribusiness interests, faced with saturated markets and increasingly
stringent environmental regulations at home, seek to export factory
farming practices and to expand the demand for their products in developing
would bring a number of disastrous consequences. It would exacerbate
the mal-distribution and waste of food resources. The resulting drawdown
of grain supplies would precipitate major famines. The public health
impacts would impose an intolerable economic burden. The impacts on
soil, water, and wildlife would threaten fragile ecosystems.
cultivation of plant foods favored by developing countries offers a
safe, nutritious, and affordable solution to hunger and malnutrition.
Vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits can be grown in most climates
and on small plots of land. Such crops require minimal investment in
equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, water, and energy, and they cause
negligible soil degradation and water pollution.
| Diet & Health | Diet
Diet & World Hunger | Diet
& The Environment | Diet & Animals