1.1 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day (World Bank). Using this measure, global poverty is decreasing; as of 2004 “only” about 1 in 5 people world-wide lived in poverty (but almost half of the world’s population lives below $2 per day). 850 million people, right now, are going hungry.
Unfortunately, the world just can’t afford to feed these people. After all, it would cost over $24 billion per year for 10 years to end hunger (Food and Agriculture, UN, World Food Summit: five years later, in June 2002).
Oh – but wait – let’s put that $24b in perspective.
Worldwide, there are over 15 billion cigarettes sold – about $2.25b – per DAY. Plus, smoking adds huge costs to healthcare ($76b per year in the US), drops productivity, and increases waste (World Health Tobacco Atlas)
In 2002, the US spent $22b on potato chips and salty snacks (World Watch Magazine, March/April 2005).
And the “first world” throws out far more than $25b/year. For example, the UK alone uses 8,000 tons of wrapping paper each Christmas (Guardian).
So if you’re keen to make a New Year’s resolution – consider this: While 1.1 billion live on $1/day, many of us spend over $100/day. If all of us in this category were to put just 5¢ per day into a fund, hunger could end in under 10 years.
It’s not a financial problem – it’s problem of will. Again – emotional intelligence needed here!! Maybe it’s time for us to be hungry for change.