There are approximately 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today, with hunger and malnutrition as the leading causes of death in the developing world. Yet, despite the overwhelming magnitude of this problem, global hunger can be solved. By addressing the factors behind widespread hunger – poor agricultural systems, poverty, environmental exploitation and economic crises – we can come closer to ending it. Below are just five practical ways to end global hunger.

1. Decrease the production of meat.
The intense rate at which many countries focus on producing meat has taken a serious toll on resources. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s valuable agricultural resources go towards feeding livestock. If the production of meat was reduced, those resources could go toward ending undernourishment instead.
2. Food for Life and the human responsibility. 
Food for Life is an organization committed to putting a stop to world hunger. Based on simple, yet powerful, principles of human spirit, humility and compassion, Food for Life has developed a number of programs that bring both food and education to malnourished countries.
3. Stop land grabbing. 
Wealthy countries without extensive landholdings have started seizing land in underdeveloped countries to use as allotments. This “land grabbing” prevents people living in the region from using that land to grow crops and sustain their communities, further perpetuating hunger and malnutrition in the area.
4. Small-scale farming. 
Family farmers play a vital role in the development of food sustainability. Small farmers are more likely to produce crops rich in nutrients as opposed to conventional agribusiness that grow mostly starchy crops. Organizations such as AGRA, which works towards a green revolution in Africa, focus heavily on small farmers, providing them with education, quality soils and the seeds necessary to build a prosperous farm.
5. Eliminate infant malnutrition. 
Infant malnutrition is rampant in underdeveloped countries that lack the resources and education necessary to nourish healthy children. Educating families and mothers living in these regions on proper feeding techniques and providing them with the right nutrients at every stage of the pregnancy will make a huge difference in alleviating infant malnutrition.
– Chante Owens

Sources: The Guardian, Food for Life, Living Green Magazine
Photo: Greenpeace

National Geographic Big Cat Initiative Lion Cheetah Snow Leopard Panther Poacher Endangered Species
Throughout Africa, the fate of the world’s dwindling big cat populations remains uncertain. A once prolific and wide-ranging group of animals, the big cat family–lions, cheetahs, leopards, and jaguars–used to range from the depths of Africa to regions as far as Israel, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, and even India. Just 2,000 years ago, there were over a million big cats in the world. Now, estimates show that there could be as few as 20,000 cats remaining, all of whom face grave danger.

The diminishing population of big cats in Africa has a variety of explanations, though all seem to circle around notions of modernity and urbanization. Perhaps the most tangible reason for big cat endangerment is the omnipotent danger of poachers, who ruthlessly search for big cats in order to sell their pelts and other body parts on the very lucrative international black market.

On a broader scale, the increase in urbanization–and the subsequent loss of forests and jungles–has greatly threatened the lives of the big cats. Without their natural habitats, the cats suffer from a loss of protection and heightened difficulty in finding their prey. Slash-and-burn techniques also contribute to habitat loss, as non-sustainable farming practices are perpetuated in order to gain a quick return on crops.

Sadly, the combination of these threats has created an environment that is fairly hostile to the once prolific big cat family. Population declines have thus been rapid, and the world remains on the brink of losing these graceful and significant animals.

Naturally, the big cat family encapsulates many of the majestic wonders of animal life. From the incredible celerity of a cheetah racing through the jungle to the absolutely powerful roar of the quintessential African lion, the astonishing diversity of the big cat family is undeniable. If populations of big cats ultimately disappear, however, the environment will suffer an enormous loss that it cannot recover.

In response to this incredible danger, National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative is actively attempting to stop the irreparable destruction being done to the big cat family, a population loss that would deleteriously diminish the world’s fragile biodiversity. To begin, the initiative has focused its goals on the cats most in danger today: lions. By 2015, the initiative hopes to have halted decreases in lion populations, and then, ultimately to restore populations to their original levels.

– Anna Purcell

Sources: Mother Nature Network
Photo: Flickr