The average American wastes 25% of their food, contributing to the $162 billion in wasted food by Americans per year, and the 32 million metric tons of food waste that wind up in landfills. Yet, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2015.
Obviously, there’s a problem.
Besides the clear consequences of malnourishment, including stunted growth, vitamin deficiency, illness, and death, world hunger contributes to much larger scale issues on the world stage. Without adequate sustainable food resources, people are likely to struggle with poverty, inequality, and lower quality of life for their population. Too often, though, this issue is associated with foreign developing nations. In the United States, 13 million children live in food-insecure households. Children who go to school hungry are less likely to succeed in school and more likely to be at risk for homelessness, health problems, and committing crimes. Women experiencing hunger are more likely to engage in prostitution. Both sexes are more likely to experience mental health issues, succumb to drug abuse, and be involved in child abuse.
Sustainability through Education
In order to end world hunger, the solutions must be long term and sustainable. Giving food to a person in need will suffice for a few hours, while sharing sustainable food practices will feed them for a lifetime.
A New York City-based, grassroots non-profit, Peace Accelerators, recently hosted a performing arts fundraiser to provide sustainable farming systems and agriculture education for refugees.
Sustainability in agriculture is essential to long term solutions in food security. Since the 1900s, 75% of crop diversity has been lost from farmers’ fields. Protecting Biodiversity, or the variability of life on our planet, is another key aspect of achieving SDG 2. This can be achieved by preserving species of plant life and protecting pollinating organisms, like bees.
Green Peace has made efforts to protect bees, one of the world’s most important, but endangered, pollinators.
Reduce Food Waste
The millions of dollars in food waste that packs our landfills and pollutes our oceans shows how each sustainable development goal is linked to another. By reducing food waste and ending world hunger, we are also impacting climate change, poverty, and many other world issues.
Many companies are partnering to create sustainable packaging for food: using wasted food in order to reduce food waste.
Social media has made it possible for anyone, including you, to raise awareness and connect with people around the world to combat hunger. In early 2016, a campaign called Scraped Plate swept through social media, newspaper ads, and New York City billboards, raising awareness about food waste and inaccessibility to healthy foods by fooling (and then educating) the public. After watching a short video, people who went to their website found that their claim to pick up leftover and deliver it to a person in need is not a real service, but that the hunger issue is.
Feeding America has launched an awareness campaign called the “Hungry to Help” project. An ice cream truck is touring the country spreading knowledge about child hunger.
There has been a lot of progress: the proportion of undernourished people worldwide has declined by about 5% since 2002, but there is still work to be done. For the millions of children who rely on public school meals as their only healthy and adequate meal of the day, their health is at an even greater risk. The current administration’s rollbacks on Michelle Obama’s healthy lunch initiative allow schools to ease standards of healthy food choices for kids in schools across America. People need healthy food. This is not a political statement. So, in the words of the former first lady, “Why would that be political?”
Simple ways you can end hunger:
-Eat your leftovers
-Donate your birthday to feeding America
-Play online games!
-Realistic Shopping -do you really need that much?
-Donate unused canned goods and more to food banks
-Check out this list of 14 ways consumers can reduce food waste
-Call your state representatives and share your knowledge about the health standards we need in our country and around the world.