Today October 16th is 2011’s Blog Action Day. Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all. (source: http://blogactionday.org/). This year’s topic is food.
How does food relate to this blog? Where does Technology, Innovation, Creativity, and Sustainability fit with the topic of food? Well, quite simply, we could address the current problems of food shortages and the related problems of world hunger. Looking at some broad statics on the state of hunger and food shortages around the world, we can see the following disastrous statics:
- Hunger is the world’s No. 1 health risk.
- One in seven people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.
- One out of four children in developing countries are underweight.
- There are more hungry people in the world than the combined populations of USA, Canada and the European Union.
- 925 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of them live in developing countries.
- Undernutrition contributes to five million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
A good question to ask is whether there is shortage of food today that could account for the state of world hunger that is reflected in the stats above. The answer is yes and no. Yes, there are shortages of food. Some which are transient and caused by natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and droughts. And no, the shortages of food should not account of the complete state of hunger in the world today. The argument could be made that there is enough food to go around today. The issue is not the shortage as much as it is the distribution of the food, and the inequality of distribution between the rich and the poor , and the developing and developed world.
The bad news however is that the issues of real shortages of food will be a symptom of the future. With imploding population growth, shortages of farm land, depletion of fertile soil though the use of GMOs and pesticides, extreme weather conditions and global warming, and the degradation of nature services, it is very likely that the world will face food shortages in the future.
So back to our original point on how Technology, Innovation, Creativity, and Sustainability could be used to address the current inadequate food distribution and prevalent hunger, and the future realities of food shortages. In the current situation, technology can go a very long way towards facilitating the distribution of food to the needed parties. From detection of food needs through communication and the social media, to the transportation of food, to the accountability of distribution, technology can save the day in getting the food where it is needed. Innovation and creativity play a role in food production and distribution. Sustainability of course plays a role in sustaining our farm land and food resources, as well as socially facilitating the sharing of food to fight hunger.
In the future the same solutions for our current situation apply. In addition, more innovative ways of producing and distributing food need to be developed. Vertical gardening to solve the shortages of farmlands, and efficient transportation and distribution of food jump to mind as potential areas of technological innovation.