now here’s something that will really mess you up good. well, it got to me anyway. see, i was sitting in a series of talks some time ago and we’re all talking about saving the world. usual business. deforestation. coral bleaching. the plantations controversy. and we thought we were actually going somewhere with all the big players looking to put in fat dollars into reducing greenhouse gasses and all that jazz.
and then the last speaker comes up. and totally breaks my heart. he was from the world food programme. he goes to the stand, takes the microphone and tells us this: hunger is the face of climate change.
and suddenly, i realise that we have been making it all cool to save the environment and all, but who’s saving the people? and i know the whole chicken and egg story. save the environment and we’ll save all of life as we know it for everything on earth. and i feel that this is mega important. but the thing is, climate change is happening now. and despite projections that things can only get worse from here, with what ‘little’ effect the weather is having on us now, there are people out there who are dying because of this.
and what’s worse is how people are dying as a result of climate change. they are starving to death. and if you ask me, this is the absolute saddest and most unfair way to die. when you look at the rest of the world and see people eating like there is no tomorrow, wasting food, becoming unhealthy because they eat way too much; and then you see people clawing each other over a cup of rice – you know that there is something very wrong with how we’re managing the world.
and the reality is this, it is not that we don’t have enough food to go around. i seriously absolutely refuse to believe this. all i got to do is stroll over to the canteen downstairs and wee how much leftover there are, and how much half eaten food there is wasted on every other plate to see this proven again and again. and this habit of wasting is not just a local thing. see this blog, i have travelled all over the world and i can tell you that people throw food away everywhere. and if only, IF ONLY we control our own consumption, we really would not waste so much, and seriously people, we would not be so unhealthy.
because i know what it is like to be hungry and it is not cool. at all. i have undertaken fasting for a full month every ramadhan for years. but more than that, i have been that poor backpacker venturing into the big bad world out there. that poor backpacker who set out to see the world, but could only afford one meal a day, with meals so simple, i go to sleep with grumbling stomachs and wake up to it filled with air.
and i look around me, colleagues and business partners with blank looks on their faces because suddenly, they’re stuck in between. who do we save now? the environment? or the hungry people?
and here’s another reality bite: there is no glamour in saving hungry people. there is a new glam to saving the world and going green. but you score no publicity points really, for sharing a meal with a hungry person. no carbon credits earned for donating food to a welfare home. and that puts us on a bridge, doesn’t it? why pledge to help hungry people?
the answer is simple: because you know what it is like to be hungry. we all business suited corporate people know what it is like to skip breakfast and/or lunch, for whatever reason, and be hungry at the end of the day. and because of this, we all know that giving to help people who need food to eat, is the right thing to do.
we all want to save the world. we are the world. the trees, nature, the environment. but closer to our hearts, the people, our brothers and our sisters.