French Press Release
POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE : le vendredi 25 novembre
Dr. Robert Huish – firstname.lastname@example.org – 902-494-2979
Kyla Smith – email@example.com – 902-237-9458
Melissa Le Geyt – firstname.lastname@example.org – 902-789-8484
Sarah Koetsier – email@example.com – 902-488-4262
Marches pour la justice de classe alimentaire mondiale
Le vendredi 25 novembre, des étudiants dans le cours de développement et d’activisme à l’université Dalhousie seront en marche dans les rues d’Halifax afin de sensibiliser le public sur les injustices alimentaire mondiale.
Le Dr Robert Huish, professeur de la classe dit : « Les étudiants ont exprimé un intérêt pour renforcer la sensibilisation et demander des changements de politiques. Une manifestation publique, bien organisée, est l’une des meilleures méthodes pour y parvenir. C’est donc ce que nous avons fait, et nous allons montrer au public comment le faire correctement. »
Après des mois de recherche, les élèves vont protester publiquement afin de sensibiliser le public et d’engager les politiciens directement avec un message clair : « Nous ne pouvons pas tolérer un monde avec un milliard d’affamés, tandis qu’un autre milliard sont bourrés. » La campagne est concentrée sur les intérêts des entreprises qui animent l’industrie alimentaire mondiale et comment les forces du marché et la réglementation gouvernementale sont à l’origine d’un milliard de personnes souffrant de faim, alors qu’un milliard sont malades de surconsommation d’aliments malsains.
« Ce problème doit être abordé », explique Fiona Chetty, étudiante, « puisque nous produisons assez de nourriture pour nourrir le monde entier, mais il y a encore une grande différence entre ceux qui reçoivent trop et ceux qui ne reçoivent pas assez. »
Les étudiants ont préparé quatre demandes :
Au Dr Tom Traves, président de l’université Dalhousie, les étudiants demandent que Dalhousie devienne leader parmi autres universités en discutant le soutien indirect d’accaparements de terre en Afrique par Dalhousie, et ce que peut faire Dalhousie pour s’engager a la sécurité d’alimentation mondiale sur le campus.
À Peter Kelly, maire d’Halifax, les étudiants demandent un prélèvement pour les producteurs de soda qui utilisent l’eau HRM dans leurs produits, des produits qui contiennent un sirop de mais riche en fructose, et qu’on croit provoquent des conséquences a long terme sur la santé.
À Darrell Dexter, premier ministre de la Nouvelle-Écosse, les étudiants demandent que la Nouvelle-Écosse dirige le Canada en créant un programme d’alimentation scolaire en Nouvelle-Écosse concentré sur la nourriture locale et la nourriture de santé.
À Steven Harper, premier ministre du Canada, les étudiants demandent l’assurance qu’aucune société d’investissement Canadienne participe directement ou indirectement dans l’accaparement des terres africaines qui ont abouti a l’expulsion de dizaines de milliers de paysans en Afrique.
La manifestation en marche débutera vendredi a midi en face de l’édifice Henry Hicks (6299 Rue Sud [South Street]) sur le campus de Dalhousie et continuera en direction du centre-ville d’Halifax, afin d’arriver a la bibliothèque de Spring Garden et les jardins pub
2:55 pm • 25 November 2011
A poetic take on why we march…
Going Against the Grain to Question the Global Food Chain
When your mother used to say,
“Finish what’s on your plate!”
Did she ever explain
the global food chain?
It might seem insane
that while we gain
there are starving kids worlds away
but the inequality remains the same
still to this very day.
Our planet contains
two billion in pain:
Half are hungry and the other half are overweight.
It is inhumane!
A crying shame!
A real reason to complain,
stand up and demand change!
A market is made,
and a system is maintained
but who is to blame?
Since this planet contains
everything it takes
every belly and every brain
it is time to refrain,
to go against the grain,
challenge and rearrange.
The awareness gets raised
to the injustices made plain
by the imbalance at play
from two billion health claims:
Half who go hungry while the other half are overweight.
Join the campaign
for a healthier, sustainable, just and better way…
1:13 pm • 25 November 2011
Why are we marching? A Two Billion Project Essay
In 2011, approximately one billion suffered from undernourishment and malnutrition while another billion suffered health risks linked to obesity. These problems do not exist in isolation from the other- they are very closely linked. The cheap production of staples such as corn, wheat and soy, processed into unhealthy food products and sold throughout industrialized nations has lead to a number of grave health problems. Meanwhile, the very system that is causing obesity in the north is driving hunger and poverty in the global south. Undernourishment and obesity are both major health concerns that threaten the world population. A new global food system is necessary in order to improve food security in the developing south, and decrease health risks linked to over-consumption and obesity in the north. The essay reveals the systemic nature of world food distribution, and how it is failing billions.
Undernourishment and obesity are both major health concerns that threaten the world population. A new global food system is necessary in order to improve food security in the developing south, and decrease health risks linked to over-consumption and obesity in the north. The essay reveals the systemic nature of world food distribution, and how it is failing billions.
The combination of industrial farming techniques and billions of dollars in subsidies for corn, wheat and soy gives the global north an overwhelming advantage over third world countries in food production. Far more grain is produced by Canada, America and the European Union than the people of those countries could ever consume. The surplus gets dumped in countries of the global south, labeled “food aid.” In reality, it is far from it. Grain dumping disrupts local food markets as farmers are unable to compete with the cheaper foreign grain (Patel, 2007). Those farmers that are not driven to bankruptcy are trapped in poverty and debt, while others are faced with no option but to sell their land to multinational agribusinesses and work for starvation wages on newly-corporatized mega farms or in urban sweatshops. This process of food dumping discourages local food production and limits varieties of foods that people have access to (Shiva, 2000). Further, the methods of food production are energy intensive and deplete soil quality by growing the same crop every season. By emitting tons of greenhouse gasses, destroying carbon-absorbing forests and causing desertification, industrial agriculture is responsible for a third of the greenhouse gas emissions causing global climate change (Roberts, 2008, pg. 14). This in turn leads to floods and droughts that make famines even worse when they happen. Overproduction of cheap grains in the north has led to a simplified, low-nutrition diet that is making people obese, diabetic, and prone to other diet-related health problems. Dumping the surplus of these overproduced grains in the third world is causing people to lose access to local food and dependent on imports of these low-nutrition staples, contributing to malnutrition and starvation.
The World Health Organization estimates that the total number of deaths due to hunger is around eight million annually (Falcon, 2005). An alarming 98% of these people can be accounted for within developing countries (FAO, 2010). Food Security, which is defined as the access by all people at all times to sufficient food to meet dietary needs for a productive and healthy life (USAID), is a growing concern. A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi, a Professor at Trent University, argues that the amount of food in the global sphere can currently sustain the entire global population. The issue is a matter of who is getting this food, who is not getting this food, and why so much of it is going to waste. There are many socio-political factors affecting the disparity in diets between the North and the South. One of the major factors is that much of the grains produced by farmers are used to feed livestock, rather than for human consumption. This is so that food producers in the Global South can meet the demand for cheap meat in the North. In order to produce even one calorie of pork, the farmer must feed the animal 8 inputs of grain (Akram-Lodhi, 2011). Much of the agricultural production in the third world is devoted to cash crops such as coffee, cotton, and bananas. The multinational agribusinesses that direct this production have no interest in producing food for the local population because the profits are to be found in northern markets. There could be a famine occurring but in order for a farmer to make enough money so they can purchase food for themselves, export remains the highest economical choice. Not only do poor countries stay hungry due to the demand for cheap meat in the Global North, but in order to produce it food grains are being depleted, which could be used to directly feed more families in underdeveloped countries. The developed countries are staying in profit and staying stuffed from the heavily processed meat products.
Undernourishment is defined as the deficiency of protein, energy, and micronutrients in one’s diet and the adverse health effects that can occur as a direct consequence of this malnutrition (WHO, 2011). It should be noted that undernourishment does not necessarily mean a lack of food, but rather a lack of adequate nutrients. In this sense, it is common for people in developing nations to follow a diet rich in saturated fats and sugars. While people in these areas may be fulfilling their required daily calorie intake, the nutrient-poor foods that they are likely consuming in large amounts is not enough to satisfy the necessary requirements for a healthy diet. When a person reaches a severe state of undernourishment (common for those living in developing nations), the immune system’s ability to fight off illness declines dramatically and the risk of diarrhea increases. As a result, the body is no longer able to fully benefit from the foods that are being consumed as the nutrients are eliminated too quickly. The World Health Organization claims that three nutrient deficiencies are linked to the top 10 causes of death in developing nations: Iron, Vitamin A, and Zinc (WHO, 2011). The WHO’s director of Nutrition for Health and Development claims that “worldwide, malnutrition accounts for 11% of all diseases and causes long-term poor health and disability” (WHO, 2011)
Certain areas around the world are more prone to malnutrition. Seven countries can account for approximately two-thirds of the world’s undernourished population: China, Ethiopia, India, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh (FAO, 2010). China alone accounts for 40% of these people (FAO, 2010).
Children and women are not only the most susceptible to, but also the most affected by undernourishment. More than half of the deaths among children worldwide are a direct result of being malnourished (WHO/UN, 2011). Inevitably, infants still in the womb and young children suffer the most from the effects of hunger because they are at a critical age for not only normal physical growth and development, but children are at the most crucial stage in their lives in terms of their neurological capacity for cognitive development. Thus, undernourishment puts a child’s education at risk as well as the future development of some of the world’s most at risk nations. (WHO, 2011). Getting an adequate iron intake in particular is critical for cognitive development and physical activity in children, and thus young children who are iron deficient have a higher chance of delayed development and mental retardation (WHO/UN, 2011).
An estimated 50% of pregnant women in poverty-stricken countries are anemic, and this contributes to 1/5 of all maternal deaths (WHO, 2011). Undernourished pregnant women are also more likely to give birth to infants with lower birth weights and consequently these infants have a much lower survival rate.
Globally, proper nutrition is necessary for adequate development and healthcare among people. The reality that a near billion people in poverty-stricken areas around the world are categorized as undernourished is overwhelming and signifies the deeply rooted link between poverty and undernourishment.More than enough food is produced in the world to sustain the global population, yet the number of malnourished people in the world is overwhelming. The problem thus revolves around the ways in which food is distributed.
Following the Second World War the worlds agricultural system saw dramatic changes. Technological advances allowed for improved crop productivity and world-wide output increased. Cereal production skyrockets, growing from 877 million metric tons in 1961 to 2 352 in 2007 (Pardey and Alston. January 2010). The improvement in agricultural productivity has resulted in decreased rates of hunger, however as previously stated hunger, malnutrition and poverty continue to play a pivotal role for peoples living across the greater Global South. While one billion are suffering from the adverse effects caused by undernourishment, 1 billion succumb to negative health effects caused by obesity and over consumption of unhealthy food products.
The past couple of decades have seen a rampant increase in rates of obesity across industrialized nations. According to Seiders and Petty (2004) obesity rates amongst Americans have almost doubled in the last 18 years according (Seiders and Petty. 2004) which can arguably be correlated to an “average [intake] of 3 900 calories a day per capital, an amount roughly twice average need” (Nestle, 2002. Pp, ix).
Obesity has become a leading epidemic across industrialized nations and it has become of absolute necessity to challenge the current food system in order to decrease mortality rates and improve the over-all health of industrialized nations. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada “obesity increases the risk of a number of chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancers” (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011). Cases of obesity are being documented at continuously younger ages as ‘westernized’ health education diminish and caloric intake of unhealthy, processed foods increase. The health, social and economic tolls related to obesity are quickly becoming epidemic and must be dealt with immediately. “It has been estimated that obesity has cost the Canadian economy approximately $4.6 billion in 2008, up to $735 million or about nineteen percent from $3.9 billion 2000 (Public Health Agency of Canada. 2011).”
In the years following the Second World War and advent of the Green Revolution, agricultural practices have undergone drastic changes. A major change in agricultural production commonly connected with increased rates of obesity revolves around the addition of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) into the majority of food products in America. According to Bray et al. (2004), sixteen percent of total caloric intake by the ‘typical’ American came from HFCS and between 1967 and 1990 the consumption of HFCS increased by over 1000 percent now representing approximately more than forty percent of caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages in the United States (Bray et al. 2004). An increase in HFCS coupled with decreased consumption of proper nutrients have been argued as key factors increasing obesity rates.
Insufficient health education coupled, lack of proper nutritional labelling on food products and marketing schemes have all lead to the increase in consummation of high-caloric, unhealthy food products. A lack of health education and awareness has resulted in mass numbers of people over-looking the health concerns associated with being over-weight. Seiders and Petty (2004) argue that maony no longer associate health risks with being over-weight, rather they concentrate primarily on the cosmetic aspect of weight-gain. This mind-set has led to an overlook of the long-term adverse health effects associated with obesity (Seiders and Petty, 2004).
The entirety of the global food system can be scrutinized for it’s unequal food distribution and the corresponding effects on both the hungry and the full. As numbers, at both extreme levels, continue to rise it is essential the food and health education, worldwide, be instituted for all. Members of the Global North must ask for educational improvements, demanding for increased access and availability to the health effects and causes of consumed products. While industrialized countries must limit their caloric intake and begin eating healthier foods, members of the Global South must begin to work together to limit the adverse negative effects of industrial farming. Countries will have to work together to limit the economic repercussions caused by current systems and work together to find new methods of agro-buisness that will both decrease threats of food security while promising economic success.
The current food regime is perpetrator of the vast nourishment inequities between the North and the South, the poor and the rich. Many great changes must be made, but a good and easy way to start is for consumers is alter purchasing habits to favour local, organic, and fair trade products. This ensures that fair wages are being paid to the producers, so they can eventually profit and grow to be able to meet the demand for export, and local consumption. The problems of both northern obesity and southern hunger can be reversed by ending industrial agriculture and developing a network of small-scale agro-ecological farms under local control. Though much of our food problem is a global issue, there are many solutions to be found locally.
Akram-Lodhi, A. (2011). Hungry For Change? Farmers, Agrarian Questions and the World Food System. SUST1001 Night Lecture. Dalhousie University. Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Bray A., Nielsen S., Popkin, B. (2004). Consumption of high fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 79(4)Pages 537-542.
Falcon, W., Naylor, R. (2005). Re Rethinking Food Security for the Twenty-First Century. American Journal of Agricultural. 87, 5: 1113-1127. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3697686
FAO News Release. (2010). Global Hunger Declining But Still Unacceptably High. Economic and Social Development Department. Retrieved from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/al390e/al390e00.pdf
Nestle, M. (2002). Food Politics: How The Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Universisty of California. Berkeley Los Angeles London. Retrieved from: http://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=qW8wED5dtU4C&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=American+food+system+flaws&ots=NRb2exj1Qi&sig=t5SCW0pPh4jXopv0ZpgF0IE7e48#v=onepage&q&f=false
Pardey, P., Alston J. (J2010). U.S Agricultural Research in Global Food Security: A Report of the CSIS Food Security Project.
Patel, R. (2007). Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System. Great Britain: Portobello Books Ltd.
Roberts, W. (2008). The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food. United Kingdom: The New Internationalist Publications Ltd.
Shiva, V. (2000). Stolen harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Sieders, K., Petty, R.D. (2004). Obesity and the Role of Food Marketing: A policy Analysis
Issues and Remedies. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 23(2)
World Health Organization. (2011). WHO, nutrition experts take action on malnutrition.
World Health Organization & United Nations Children’s Fund (2011). WHO child growth
standards and the identification of severe acute malnutrition in infants and
children. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publication
1:12 pm • 25 November 2011