"Mommy, Im Hungry!"
ARE WE LIVING in a time of increased famine? The World Bank reported in September 1996 that more than 800 million people go hungry every day, and more than 500 million children do not get enough food to fully develop mentally and physically. "Some 40,000 hunger-related deaths occur every day, mostly in rural regions," according to Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin.Lester Brown, president of the Washington think-tank, Worldwatch Institute, said, "Ironically, in an era of high technology, of space exploration, the World Wide Web, and organ transplants, humanity was suddenly struggling in 1996 with one of the most ancient of challenges how to make it to the next harvest." Noting increased crop failures in 1995 and the current fragile state of world food reserves, he warned, "We have definitely turned a corner."
Like many experts, Worldwatch blames global warming for much of the hunger in the world. Its "Vital Signs 1996" report notes that insurance industry payouts for weather-related crop damage during the first half of the 1990s reached $48 billion, compared with $16 billion for all of the 1980s.
Sir John Houghton, a climate expert and chairman of Britains Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, warns that we have yet to see the ravages that global warming will wreak: "Forests will die, diseases like malaria will spread and starving refugees will wander across borders as weather becomes more extreme."
If you read at an average speed, since you picked up this booklet, at least 200 people have died of starvation. Conservative estimates say unless things drastically improve, over 4 million will die each year.
While it took all of human history until 1830 to reach a world population of one billion people, it only took one hundred years to add a second billion (1930), thirty years for the third billion (1960), sixteen years for the fourth billion (1976), and eleven years for the fifth billion (1987). The worlds population is expected to reach 8.5 billion by the year 2030. As the number of people increases, per capita availability of arable land decreases.
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