Monthly Archives: January 2012

Hunger in the World!

Hunger is a major problem in the world. Many are hungry without awareness from parts of the world where food seems not to be a problem, is even thrown away without anyone attempting to consume it. Parents –or rather– my mother would tell me to think of the starving children in Africa,as if that would make me clean my plate.

The Huffington Post reports Hillary Clinton as saying this about hunger.

This morning, one billion people around the world woke up hungry and tonight, they will go to sleep hungry. This issue has not gotten the attention it deserves, and it is a personal priority of mine and of the Obama Administration to address the challenge of chronic hunger with a very high level of focus and dedication.

Hunger is not only a physical condition. It is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education reform, and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work from sun-up to sun-down every day to produce a harvest that often doesn’t meet their needs.

Today at the World Food Prize ceremony at the State Department, I am honoring Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, who has transformed farming in many parts of the world and saved millions of lives by identifying varieties of a key African crop resistant to drought and specific types of weeds.

We have the resources to give every person in the world the tools they need to feed themselves and their children. So the question is not whether we can end hunger. It’s whether we will.

The Obama Administration is committed to providing leadership in developing a new global approach to hunger. We will look to 7 guiding principles to support the creation of effective, sustainable farming systems in regions around the world where the current methods aren’t working:

We will seek to increase agricultural productivity, by expanding access to quality seeds, fertilizers, irrigation tools, and the credit to purchase them and training to use them.
We will work to stimulate the private sector, by improving the storage and processing of food and improving roads and transportation so small farmers can sell the fruits of their labor at local markets.
We are committed to maintaining natural resources, so the land can be farmed well into the future. That includes helping developing communities adapt to climate change, which has had a major effect on the world’s farms.
We will expand knowledge and training by supporting R&D and cultivating the next generation of plant scientists.
We will seek to increase trade so small-scale farmers can sell their crops far and wide.
We will support policy reform and good governance, because sustainable agriculture flourishes in a clear and predictable policy and regulatory environment.
We will support women and families. 70% of the world’s farmers are women, but most programs that offer farmers credit and training target men. This is unfair and impractical. An effective agricultural system must have incentives for those who do the work. And it must take into account the particular needs of those whose futures will shape our world: our children.
These seven principles will guide us and help us set benchmarks to measure the impact of our efforts. We are committed to collecting data, assessing our progress, and when necessary, correcting our course.

Supporting sustainable agriculture won’t be a side project of the Obama Administration. Attacking hunger at its roots will directly impact whether we meet our foreign policy goals and I invite each and every one of you to join this effort.

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However, knowledge alone has not/will not/can not save us.
Knowledge includes religion.

If hungry people know more about agriculture, that knowledge may help alleviate some of their hunger. Seeds, fertilizer, maybe even soils may be needed to improve who, where, and how food grows. What, however, will make these agricultural areas sustainable? Does this idea take into account what may be happening? say, if global warming is in progress now? Are not polar bears running out of space to live as they are accustomed to live? in the north, meeting once again the grizzlies that may be responsible for the emergence of polar bears —ancestors of polar bears? The grizzpos, and polies that result from some of these meetings, new breeds forced into existence as the earth warms to temperatures not exactly hospitable to humanity, closer to the ways to was before humanity emerged, eventually to dominate for a while.

How far north will insects travel? Will birds that currently migrate south during northern winters stay in Michigan year-round? Will we take more interest in eating what presently is not considered food? Food is not universal anyway; what’s eaten in one location may not be (readily) eaten in another location –I think a bit of Bourdain, and Zimmern
We do tend to be food snobs.

And Then there’s the matter of our own star, the sun that will stop shining one day, (not scheduled till long after anyone alive now is gone).

Still Here & Hungry!

I’m still here, mystifying doctors, baffling them and other concerned parties, especially those with some say as to whether I can (or even should) try to keep my teaching job (I’ll post some info about what happens) –for now: I celebrate that I’M still here! –and wondering (a bit) what I must do to merit this elongation of my time on earth –how do I earn what I’ve been given (by whom? and WHY? –I Wasn’t Supposed to be here, almost died at the end of the summer of 2011, YET I’M HERE! (and glad about it –perhaps this is the time that I should renew spiritual beliefs, but then I read about M-theory and black holes (especially the black hole at the center of the Miky Way, and I confess to wondering about other supermassive engines, and I’m left with enough uncertainty to make me think a return to the earth via burial is just that: a return not… (I don’t mind becoming [a small] part of the dirt and/or soil; maybe some part of me will be lucky enough to nourish –at least for an hour or two– something else [not human] that thrives long enough to dream of claiming this planet) …not to be followed by an awakening and a calling at some point from that location (even if disintergration has been completed –it seems unlikely to me that humanity is the culmination of evolution; after us, some other terrestrial life form will likely dominate. If this is the process of existence, we–humanity–have joined a process in progress; we didn’t initiate what is ongoing, seemingly unstoppable –despite some contrary evidence, such as clues of global warming (that seem to prevail this winter) economic collapse (that is spanning the world), and other devastations, –say a wayward asteroid or comet, something coming to earth to hurt or use in some way some of this planet’s population. Now was this earth made for us? I doubt it. So why is it here? Why is there a fossil record? I have more questions than answers.

Here I am

So good to sill be here despite problems in the world and a chance of cosmic treachery.

I am glad to still have a chance to contribute, perhaps also being a source of contributions of others, maybe even for that Thai baker –I think I’d make a decent serving of bread –maybe not the tastiest, but certainly: decent.

Cigar-shaped Clouds

Today I will write about the clouds and what they make me think of; I wish that I could see more of them, but they are obscured by trees and rooftops, and my view is not as entire as I would like for it to be.

What do I want from the clouds? It’s not really that I want anything, but it MUST mean something that there is a cigar-shaped cloud behind the closest house to mine. (–They are keeping their blinds closed –I actually wondered if they had moved away–) What can that cloud mean? That it will turn into some kind of spaceship, that will land soon in the backyard–and then what? Aliens will get out of it and I’ll need to hide? or nothing at all. I worry for nothing, which is probably more like the truth of what will happen. So far no aliens have landed, and that surprises me because I assume that they have as much interest in coming here as I have in getting to them, no matter where they are, no matter how many black holes I need to travel in order to arrive where they are right now.

It would be better if I worried that my head would explode, if I thought that my head would bulge and expand to fill this room. Part of the bulge in my head might be cigar-like. But no aliens are in my head, although I’ve seen and liked ET, close encounters of the third kind, Independence Day, and war of the worlds; movies I’ve enjoyed, and that I watch if I notice they are on; movies that I like to think about now, and that contain characters that interest me, characters that I might follow if I thought I could follow them remaining unnoticed and unseen. If I could be more like a character on Dr. Who–maybe the doctor himself, maybe if I had a sonic screwdriver, or if I could be more convinced that the kind of travel that the time lords are involved in were possible. Police booths that are more like cigars than anything out there. The stone angels don’t frighten me –as perhaps they should.

If I wait long enough, the clouds will move, with the rotation of the earth and all that, and the cigar-shape will be gone, replaced by something else, perhaps by something less inspiring, but replaced just the same. In the coming darkness, maybe the cigar will be replaced by only star formations; it may become no more than a form of chariot that can be used in part to access those stars (made more accessible with the help of a sonic screwdriver). I don’t know for sure what the sunrise will do, maybe nothing, maybe the sunrise will just cause the cigar to look different, to take on the lights of sunrise and then dissipate rather quietly (quickly too) in swirls of red and pink. Maybe lights rather similar to those in Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights” or perhaps, colored to match, if it was colored, the darkness in “Runagate, Runagate” by Robert Hayden.

Creation movie

Creation is on tv, just past the part where Darwin has been to church and can’t stay. Because he realizes that his beliefs have been shattered a bit, so he leaves much to the consternation of his wife whose beliefs have not wavered at all. We see him at home where his dwindling beliefs do less harm and he seems as full of life as ever. He has learned too much from the birds and plants around his home; it doesn’t really matter what he reads, especially the bible with its chapter on beginnings and creation –Genesis because he has his actual observations and the evidence of what he’s seen and heard is too profound to ignore. He takes over for his wife who wants badly to be an ordinary believer but she too finds some of what her husband has to say too powerful to ignore. He can’t rescue all of his words from the fire (but she has not burnt them, it is more of his feeing that she has than anything he’s done). She hands him a package properly bound that contain his manuscript, properly bound for the publisher who is glad to receive it –who would not want the first pages about evolution presented as a gift for all of humanity –even if that means the destruction of some of the outer garments of God.