A starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture
This picture was taken by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter in 1993. It won him the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1994. Two months after receiving the award, Carter killed himself. (All about it HERE).
From time to time, one needs a reality check – a reconnection with the things we wilfully block out of our consciousness.
Food is getting progressively scarce in the world.
Twenty-eight countries will suffer a food shortage in 2008. It is the poorest of the poor in these countries, with the smallest ecological footprint, who will bear the brunt of our collective irresponsibility to the planet and its resources.
The Ecological Footprint is explained HERE.
According to the 2006 Living Planet report, on a global average, every person has a footprint of 2.3 hectares. However the available productive area on the earth for each of us is only 1.9 hectares. By 2050 humanity will demand twice as much as our planet can supply. In the UK, the average footprint is 5.35 per capita, in the US it is 9.70, in China it is 1.5, and in Mozambique, just 0.47.
So the man or woman in Mozambique, who has an ecological footprint of 0.47 hectares will starve, while we use 9.7 hectares to sustain our hip lifestyles.
It’s not just the poor in the developing world who are affected. About 30% of Americans live at the basic subsistence level.
The hungry will bear the brunt of climate change, the World Food Programme warns. Hundreds of thousands of people in Somalia face starvation because of crop failure. The reason? Poor rainfall.
Our lifestyles and choices far far away, have contributed to this.
Human-induced climate change has influenced global rainfall patterns, making Northern America and Europe wetter, and parts of Asia and Africa drier.
It’s also time to face the harsh reality of a burgeoning population and a dwindling amount of fertile agricultural land. Net food production has decreased.
Global food abundance is a myth. We do no have the resources to feed six billion people. Excerpts from THIS ARTICLE @ The Telegraph, London.
Global corn stocks have fallen to the lowest level since modern records began
as ethanol plants gobble up output and demand balloons in China, early evidence
that the era of global food abundance may be nearing an end …
In New Zealand, the central bank cited a 60pc rise in milk prices as the
chief reason for the latest increase in interest rates to 8pc …
"Fundamentals have been tightening ever since 2001, but
now we’re hitting critically low levels of stocks. We’re seeing very big
structural shifts in the world and this is going to make farmland much more
expensive in the future," he said.
"Shortages are emerging in places like India, which has
become a net importer of wheat for the first time since 1975. We expect China to
become an importer of corn by late 2008."
A big part of this has to do with dwindling water resources. The most precious natural resource in the world today is water – central to the existence of all life forms. Millions of lives have been affected in the wars to control this disappearing asset.
In this context, it is just not acceptable to ignore the connections between our lives and how it affects those elsewhere. It is also not acceptable to waste food.
Growing our own vegetables helps us realise how much water goes into nurturing plant life in the quest to sustain ourselves.
A very small portion of most vegetable plants are consumed, with the majority of their edible parts being thrown away. We have been attempting to use every edible part of the plants we grow and the produce we buy. Watermelon rinds, radish leaves, cauliflower leaves have all found their way to our dinner table in surprisingly delicious forms.
The Earth invests a lot of itself in nurturing and producing these sources of food for us to enjoy. It would be a shame to waste them.
How we can make a difference
** By reducing our Ecological footprint (see the Ethical Man’s top ten tips for Ethical Living)
Some of the measures he suggests may sound too drastic, but if half the world can survive that way, why can’t we?
** By stopping to think when we want to throw away the broccoli stems and use only the florets, or the crusts from the bread slices, ‘cos someone at home won’t eat them. Think about the child in Somalia who would consider broccoli stems a luxury.
** By donating to the World Food Programme. They reach the hungriest, and serve them without strings attached.
** By voting out political representatives who ask ‘what global warming?’ (while catching a breath between bouts of gay-bashing). Deport them to Somalia. On second thoughts, no. The last thing the Somalis need is a bunch of fundie, homophobic, rabid wastes of oxygen who believe that “God says, “Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.” ‘
PEA (pod) and MINT SOUP
Green Arrow Pea from our garden
A pea plant is almost completely edible, from the vines, to the pods, to the pearls inside, but the section most of us consume comprises barely 5 percent of the plant.
We’ve tried to incorporate pea shoots/leaves in our diet, as also the pea pods, which are absolutely bursting with flavour if they are fresh and tender.
Of the three varieties of peas we grew, the bush peas had the most flavoursome and tender pods. We ate most of them before the peas matured, with a yogurt dip, or by themselves.
On maturing, the skins tend to become tougher, and very fibrous, yielding huge, very sweet peas. Paired with homegrown mint and yogurt, the pods and peas make a soothing chilled soup.
Any variety of pea pods will work for this soup. Just make sure to wash them with a drop of dishwashing liquid and water to remove some of the residues from fertilisers and pesticides if they are not organic.
Serves 2 to 3
4 packed cups pea pods (strung and chopped)
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup chopped shallots or spring onion whites
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2-3 green chillies
1/2 cup plain yogurt or soy yogurt
1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1 tsp oil
mint leaves to garnish
Fry the shallots, ginger and chillies in the oil.
When the shallots turn transluscent, add the pea pods and mint leaves.
Stir for a minute or two, then add 1 cup water and the fresh peas and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Cool it and blend it in to a fine puree with salt and the yogurt. Add milk to thin it out to the desired consistency.
Strain it through a mesh if you wish (we didn’t).
Chill and serve, garnished with mint leaves.
Sending this to dear Meeta for her Earth Food event @ What’s for Lunch, Honey?