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meat_greed
There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, but due to a variety of factors, global hunger persists. In fact, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO,) the world produces enough food for everyone to intake 2,700 calories a day, much more than the recommended 2,000.

Nevertheless, nearly a billion people go to bed hungry. The reason behind this is multifaceted. Astounding amounts of food are wasted due to poor transportation and storage infrastructure. Even more goes in the trash uneaten. A great deal of grain crops are used for bio-fuels and animal feedlots rather than starving people. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact hunger is caused by inequality.

How are people to combat this inequality? Countries such as Brazil and Ghana have shown success through raising their minimum wage, giving cash to poor people, and investing in small-scale farms. World hunger comes down to the fact that many people simply cannot afford food, with over a billion people living on $1 a day.

The history of poverty begins with globalization and colonialism. When land is privatized and controlled by the few, the majority of people are forced into selling their work for food. Land ownership in the hands of the few is the main cause that spurred income gaps throughout the world.

Colonies exploited the resources and land of their colonies and kept them saddled in debt by claiming ownership in order to maintain this advantage for the long run. Today, less than 25 percent of people use more than 80 percent of the world’s resources. This is a direct result of the economic repression that so many populations are under and have been under for hundreds of years.

Greed led to colonial powers gaining monopolies and establishing claims on resources that were not theirs. Greed led them to effectively enslaving their colonies under shackles of labor and heavy debt for land and resources that originally belonged to the colonies. Although there are many great NGOs and advocacy agencies that have brilliant ideas for solutions to global hunger, few acknowledge colonialism as the original foe, and lack of land ownership as the original problem.

Perhaps people can examine this complex issue more clearly if they perceive it as a parable. In a sun-drenched country, men live peaceful lives on their own farms. One day, a greedy man takes over, burning all their farms and forcing them to work for him. This man builds one massive farm, and exploits their labor and pushes growth, seeking to eat up the rest of the smaller farms in the land. In the end, he is the one who gets all the profits, while the rest barely survive.

This is not a story anyone wants to hear, but it is one that has been in action for centuries. Let us acknowledge this past and seek ways to start a new story.

Jordan Schunk

Sources: Alternet, The Economist, The Guardian, Huffington Post

Seasonal Greed
Navigating the Seasonal Greed Jungle

One of the seven deadly sins, greed is something that our modern-day materialist society is deeply saturated with, especially so during this part of the year – the holiday season. This is the time for giving, but also the time when many cast their eyes toward that new television set or pompous coat they have been craving. It is too easy to become swept away with the hysteria of Christmas shopping and seasonal sales and forget the true essence of any such holiday: the family. Following are some of the many detrimental effects of greed, together with ways you can counter them and not get afflicted:

Evil circle of misery

Didn’t get what you expected for Christmas? Constantly feel unhappy with what you have and never get enough of new things? It would appear that you are stuck in a down-spiraling, materialistic loop. The void that you so desperately are attempting to fill will never go away if you just keep throwing in garbage. It is part of human nature, it is detrimental to your psychological well-being, and it has a rather simple solution: make someone else happy instead. To realize how much of an impact this could really have, do a good deed for someone directly; feed a homeless man, buy toys for puppies at the local shelter, bring a present for a child you know to have a rough life. The sheer joy of being gifted with something so simple will give you a different perspective on life and raise your mood, as well.

People consumed by greed often seek to control their loved ones, forgetting about the needs of everyone but themselves. Somehow money gains more importance than family ties, and before you know it, your relationships start to falter. What may have started out as an innocent quest for the best gifts for your loved ones suddenly turns into an issue of money. Perhaps you even start to blame your spouse for spending too much, forgetting that what sparked this is you, searching for a present for said spouse to begin with! This Christmas, explore the possibility of giving handcrafted and personal things over expensive stuff. Discuss it with your family and make it into an activity that you can all engage in. It doesn’t have to replaceother items from everyone’s wish lists, but when time comes, you will realize that the gifts you spent time making may mean so much more than everything else, combined.

Emptiness

Greedy people are, essentially, hollow inside. The longer one spends his life living with greed, the emptier one becomes. It can induce a complete lack of excitement, of love, of compassion – similar to a drug addiction; greed will push you into a bland state of idleness with no possibilities for spiritual satisfaction. Find something else to focus on to get out of this black hole: donate money to charity, invest in a global aid project. The wealthiest people are all philanthropists – not by chance, but by choice. You spend all your time grinding away at work, but for what? Aim your efforts to helping others; see it as an investment in leaving your footprint on the world if you have to, but do something. Heal the world, heal yourself.

– Natalia Isaeva 

Sources: Psychology Today, Washington State University, APA, Thom Hartmann
Photo: Josic