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  1. #1

    Hunger - Defining to Problem

    Hi everyone,

    The first prompt got us thinking about hunger and was inclusive to all types of hunger. It was meant as a way to remind us of how many different ways people can think about the same topic. Thank you to everyone who contributed, there was a great range to get us all thinking.

    Going forward we will be talking more in-depth about hunger specifically as it relates to a lack of food and literally people going to bed hungry, not knowing where their next meal will come from and some other related ideas that go with that.

    I would like to spend the next week or so looking at defining the topic. This will help us as we continue to move forward so we are all on the same page and understand the meaning of some terms which you might not have heard before.

    Below is a list of terms which you might want to look up and learn more about because they will come up as we continue to look at this topic:
    • Food scarcity
    • Food Insecurity
    • Hunger
    • Malnutrition
    • Undernourishment
    • Food Desert



    Please help the discussion by doing one or more of the following:
    1. Find and share articles which helped you define and understand the topic.
    2. Share how you define the topic and your understanding of the meaning.
    3. Did you learn something new that you hadn't thought about before? Share what it was and why it affected how you relate to the topic.
    4. Ask questions! Questions help us all talk about the topic and gain a better understanding.

    In a future week we will be looking at statistics so let’s leave those out for now. Instead focus on defining the topic for yourself. What is hunger and how does it affect the people around us?

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  2. #2
    Below are some resources on the topic. Most are academic, or from large non-profit organizations because these are the types of resources I like, but please find resources that you connect with best.

    This is a long paper, Chapter 3 has the concepts and definitions. If you like read academic texts:

    https://www.nap.edu/read/11578/chapter/5

    Food Insecurity:

    http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6877e.pdf - Report from the UN for Europe and Asia, if you like academic texts.

    http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/focus...786/index.html - Explanation from UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

    Food Dessert:

    http://americannutritionassociation....s-food-deserts

    http://www.foodispower.org/food-deserts/


    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  3. #3
    I saw this article a couple of days ago about Food Insecurity among college students and was surprised. It reports that 36% of college students are Food Insecure and a similar number have serious housing issues.

    I guess the issue can strike in unexpected places.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.a9fee10d5394

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shinshi View Post
    I guess the issue can strike in unexpected places.
    Shinshi,

    This statement rings so true for me. For me hunger was also associated with far off places, for a very long time I didn't realize what it really looked like.

    I found this article: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/hunger/ Which I feel like really exemplifies that fact that people going hunger is everywhere and hides in plain sight.

    This statement really hit me:
    Jacqueline Christian is another Houston mother who has a full-time job, drives a comfortable sedan, and wears flattering clothes. Her older son, 15-year-old Ja’Zarrian, sports bright orange Air Jordans. There’s little clue to the family’s hardship until you learn that their clothes come mostly from discount stores, that Ja’Zarrian mowed lawns for a summer to get the sneakers, that they’re living in a homeless shelter
    Often we judge the problem by appearances alone, but we don't realize that there is a huge problem hiding right under the surface.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Shoka View Post
    Shinshi,

    This statement rings so true for me. For me hunger was also associated with far off places, for a very long time I didn't realize what it really looked like.

    I found this article: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/hunger/ Which I feel like really exemplifies that fact that people going hunger is everywhere and hides in plain sight.

    This statement really hit me:


    Often we judge the problem by appearances alone, but we don't realize that there is a huge problem hiding right under the surface.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    sattoday
    That is a really great point Shoka. Hunger/Food Insecurity isn't obvious. We might think a person doesn't need help because they "look" fine. In some ways the person trying to normalize their appearance might well be decreasing their likelihood of getting help.

    Another example of don't judge a book by its cover.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  6. #6
    Eishuu
    Guest
    Levels of poverty are rising quickly in the UK. There is a problem with children turning up to school malnourished and unable to concentrate. I found this article from last year about child hunger in the UK. https://www.theguardian.com/society/...f-rich-nations

    and another on malnutrition https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a7687091.html

    Also the number of people depending on food banks has gone up, apparently one of the reasons is people having to wait months and months for benefits. We experienced this a few years ago when we had to wait 7 months for certain benefits, and although we didn't end up using a food bank we did have to sell quite a few possessions to buy food. Here's an article relating food bank use and the benefit delays in the UK. While they are talking about 6 week delays with Universal Credit, PIP benefits for disabled people have had waiting times of over a year recently. https://www.trusselltrust.org/2017/1...ars-across-uk/

    I also know that many people in the UK have to choose between heating and food and with heating and food prices going up, and benefits being frozen, every year there is more of a squeeze.

    (added) I've been thinking about what I wrote, and it makes me think that while we may help with donations and volunteering, the roots of a lot of this hunger and food insecurity in the UK and probably elsewhere too are political. There are other ways to effect change, by putting pressure on the government to stop harmful benefit and policy changes going through and to not turn a blind eye to their effects.

    Gassho
    Eishuu
    ST/LAH
    Last edited by Eishuu; 04-13-2018 at 07:32 AM.

  7. #7
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Hi folks,

    I'm sure the planet is capable of producing enough food for everyone. So why are people starving? I think its in a large part economic. Were just not organized in such a way as to promote the well-being of everyone. I just read an article below where the folks at Goldman Sachs as if curing patients is a sustainable business model. Imagine asking that question shamelessly? It's these people who have large influence over our politics and economies.

    I just started reading State and Revolution by Vladimir Lenin which was written just over 100 years ago. I'm only a few pages in and part of it could have been written today. So I guess I'm saying I don't know what can be done on a large scale but I think that's what a solution like this would require.

    Just some thoughts.


    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/gold...ess-model.html

    Gassho

    Hoseki
    Sattoday/LAH

  8. #8
    Here is an article about food insecurity in Japan, another very rich country that has trouble to get food to the people who need, and suffers great economic inequality with a poor social safety net.

    https://foodsecurityfoodjustice.com/...ongs-to-visit/

    It should be a fundamental human right that people have access to a basic level of nutritious food (among other things like safe housing, education and medical care).

    The concept of food desert was new to me, thank you.

    You know what will help fix this problem? I am not kidding: Developing a chemical to put into the water supplies worldwide that will make people more altruistic and empathetic toward their fellow human beings by activating our "altruism" genes within.

    https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/art..._altruism_gene

    The opposite of "Terrorists" who might poison a water supply, these "Altruists" would conduct midnight raids to "unpoison" our minds and hearts from excess desires arising in selfishness, our violent tendencies and the like. Then, Altruist followers would take leadership of countries worldwide. Yes, it sounds like an SF novel, but I actually think that something like that will be our only hope. By the time we naturally evolve past our selfishness, it may be too late.

    I can dream, can't I?

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    You know what will help fix this problem? I am not kidding: Developing a chemical to put into the water supplies worldwide that will make people more altruistic and empathetic toward their fellow human beings by activating our "altruism" genes within.

    https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/art..._altruism_gene

    The opposite of "Terrorists" who might poison a water supply, these "Altruists" would conduct midnight raids to "unpoison" our minds and hearts from excess desires arising in selfishness, our violent tendencies and the like. Then, Altruist followers would take leadership of countries worldwide. Yes, it sounds like an SF novel, but I actually think that something like that will be our only hope. By the time we naturally evolve past our selfishness, it may be too late.
    Jundo,

    Your suggestion scares the willies out of me. I have far less faith in human beings ability to solve our problems by more science especially anything as drastic as what you suggest which is the involuntary manipulation of people’s behaviours. It reminded me of a book I read years ago where the scientist did something similar but had unintended results. Author: Spider Robinson Book: Telempath

    You can get the gist of the book here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telempath

    Yes it is science fiction but the point of the story is that, even with the best intentions, the interconnectedness of the universe is far too complex and the unintended side effects can be far worse than the original problem.

    Keep in mind that more than just humans drink water. The other residents of this planet are not the problem. How do you intend to ensure they aren’t caught up in the solution?


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tairin View Post
    Jundo,

    Your suggestion scares the willies out of me. I have far less faith in human beings ability to solve our problems by more science especially anything as drastic as what you suggest which is the involuntary manipulation of people’s behaviours. It reminded me of a book I read years ago where the scientist did something similar but had unintended results. Author: Spider Robinson Book: Telempath

    You can get the gist of the book here https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telempath

    Yes it is science fiction but the point of the story is that, even with the best intentions, the interconnectedness of the universe is far too complex and the unintended side effects can be far worse than the original problem.

    Keep in mind that more than just humans drink water. The other residents of this planet are not the problem. How do you intend to ensure they aren’t caught up in the solution?


    Tairin
    Sat today
    Well, actually, although I was just spinning my wheels ... we are now in the age of gene manipulation. If we can choose to eliminate a hereditary disease, or give someone blonde hair, we might be able to create human beings that are more altruistic. Genetically engineered nice people!

    Don't blame me (Jundo) for what may be scientifically possible! I am just pointing out what might be possible.

    Of course, anything human beings do may have unforeseen effects: New bacteria can appear at any time thanks to our use of antibiotics, our future technology may lead us in new directions, newly engineered crops or imported species can impact the food chain, one never knows what the ramifications are. (Even without our own human actions, nature may have surprises). However, if the human race will have a chance to survive, we may have to attempt at some point to change our inner drive to harm each other through overt violence or (as with hunger) neglect. Yes, a world of genetically engineered humanitarians would be a good place to live.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-14-2018 at 03:36 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Hi,

    Educating/awareness aimed at the financially elite is helpful. Once I taught philosophy at a private school where students were from mega-affluent families. One requirement was that they spend several weekends in settings such as hospital ERs, homeless shelters, food banks, and riding with cops on the beat. Students were shocked at the level of misery they witnessed. Years later some of them went on to be community leaders with much power. It was gratifying to see how they integrated altruism into their professions. One person, a young woman who graduated from Stanford, wrote that the weekend cultual awareness experiences had convinced her as a high school junior that "something needs to be done." She was later responsible for helping to establish an international relief organziation.

    At least one liberal arts college I know does this as a part of their regular curriculum for all students.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat Today LAH

  12. #12
    Many years ago I became keen to reduce my carbon footprint and as such we adopted a meatless day a week. That slowly expanded to the point where we now are largely meatless.

    https://theconversation.com/how-to-m...tainable-90583

    This article was of interest to me because of my interest to the impacts of moving to plant based diets but it also makes some good points about a better more equitable distribution of food if we don’t invest so much into the feeding of livestock.


    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  13. #13
    As long as the human population grows we will be challenged to feed everyone. Even if waste is reduced, distribution is enhanced, and more land brought into agricultural production (even if converted to cropland not grazing) it will continue to be a race. In the middle part of the last century alarms were raised that we were headed towards famine in many parts of the world because of exponential growth of the human species. However we had a “green revolution” where science and technology increased agricultural output thus getting our species over the pending calamity and postponing a major famine. Sadly the green revolution did not save everyone and hunger whether is caused by unequal distribution or carrying capacity or both it still remains that many are hungry today.

    Having spent my life working in agricultural landscapes I often hear the arguement that there is so much empty space to put people in and grow crops. Even if we had enough water to irrigate those lands it should be remebered that those empty spaces are watersheds, carbon sinks and reservoirs of biological and genetic diversity. So what seems empty, not being utilized by humans, has value. Value to many other species and the sustainability of our species.

    My experience in agriculture has been focused on efforts to lessen the environmental impacts of existing agricultural and working to develop policy within my country (United States) to preserve some of the remaining natural ecosystems and their inherent biological diversity. That same effort was undertaken by many others throughout this country and the world. However during my career there has been a major degradation of wildlife. Several studies publishd in the last decade indicate that about half of worldwide wildlife numbers (note I said numbers not species here) during the period of my career have been lost. It continues as our species proliferates.

    I do not know the answer, at least an answer politically acceptable and ecologically workable. I agree that more equitable distibution is possible, more efficient production may be possible (science and technology will continue progress there but there come a time of diminishing returns) and some new lands must be converted to cropland. Those efforts towards the future must be coupled with a reduction in human population growth.

    From a personal perspective I interpret my vow to save all sentient beings to include all species. No matter the good efforts and progress made by many compassionate humans to reduce hunger that will surely be made, I am glad I was present during the last seven decades where natural ecosystems and biodiversity still were substantial and greatly enriched my being. I see a continued loss of species to minimize growing hunger and for that my heart is saddened.

    Gassho
    Doshin
    St
    Last edited by Doshin; 04-15-2018 at 05:01 PM.

  14. #14
    From a personal perspective I interpret my vow to save all sentient beings to include all species. No matter the good efforts and progress made by many compassionate humans to reduce hunger that will surely be made, I am glad I was present during the last seven decades where natural ecosystems and biodiversity still were substantial and greatly enriched my being. I see a continued loss of species to minimize growing hunger and for that my heart is saddened.

    Tairin
    Sat today
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  15. #15
    Hi Shoka,

    This topic makes me sad because I got very sensitive about hunger because I once worked at a philanthropic organization. I was the head designer for the communication department. Several times a year we made campaigns to help end hunger in Mexico, which is something almost no one would talk about, but it's a big problem, especially in the native Mexican communities.

    In this job I had access to a lot of journals, reports, statistics and other documents on how bad the problem is. This is how I learned how deep and complex the problem is. But since hunger mostly affect native communities and since Mexico is a super racist country, the problem is ignored.

    Speaking only about my country, I can say it's a problem shared by conquered countries like most of Latin America and South Asia. Most people would try to mimic the life style imposed by the foreign nation and that includes ignoring natives. We neglect native peoples as much as we neglect their needs and rights. So it's a very deep cultural problem that only bubbles up when strong marketing efforts are made... but they are not enough. At least here.

    Now even more sad is the fact that there is food. Lots of food here. But it mostly goes to cities and factories. The people suffering hunger can't afford it and have to rely on Coca-Cola, Nestlé and other industrial foods.

    So there is hunger here, but at the same time we are the most obese country in the planet. People is hungry but fat. How is that? People have to eat whatever they can afford, even if it's food with high amounts of sugar and chemical stuff.

    Complex topic indeed. Last year here at home we began giving away food away whenever we can and we are also starting to teach people how to cook for super cheap. It's a little project that we have no idea where it will lead us, but it sure is better than to keep on ignoring the problem.

    Thank you for this topic.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  16. #16
    Thank you everyone for the replies.

    One of the things that really jumps out at me is how diverse the definition of the problem can be.

    Some points:
    • Benefits taking too long, so people are suffering while they wait
    • How hard it can be to get help if you “normalize your appearance”
    • Since we have enough food, why can’t it be distributed to everyone?
    • Making people nicer so they will help (wait I have seen that movie… Serenity. It didn’t turn out so good).
    • Teaching the children of affluent families about these topics, so they will make a change in the future.
    • The perils of population growth
    • Teaching people to help themselves with cooking lessons.


    Something I think is very important to remember when you are trying to understand why something happens is that there are so many contributing factors. And for every one you can think of, there are even more that you would never consider.

    When we talked about hurdles this concept was brought up, with many feeling like they didn’t know where to start or what was the most effect way to combat something.
    Hopefully you can see from all the variations we got in just defining and unedifying the problem that there probably isn’t a do this to solve the problem. There are many facets and many different ways to approach the problem of hunger, engage with it and help be a part of the solution.

    As we go forward, I hope everyone will keep that in mind. One of the goals of this approach to the engaged center is to get everyone to think about how they can help. That doesn’t mean we are going to say go give food or give money or do X. Nope instead we will continue to explore the topic and look at all the ways we can help. And then I hope each person will make a commitment to do something (that works for them).

    Thank you again for everyone’s reply.

    Gassho,

    Shoka
    Sattoday
    Last edited by Shoka; 04-28-2018 at 07:18 PM.
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

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