Friday, April 23, 2010

Sustainability of Humans & World Hunger

Sinhagad Fortress, near Pune, India (Photo:RLW - click on picture)

All this talk about sustainability and alternative energy is rather moot if we cannot even feed the people we have on earth. Over one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, lack of potable water and extreme poverty globally. And these people have children who suffer along with them - the very definition of a living hell on earth.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private charitable foundation in the world and it targets these basic problems head on. In 2009 its endowment was worth roughly $33.5 Billion. Warren Buffett has committed to contribute the bulk of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which should add another $30 billion.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joined representatives of the governments of the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Korea at the U.S. Department of the Treasury today to launch a global trust fund to help the world’s poorest farmers grow more and earn more so they can lift themselves—and their countries—out of hunger and poverty.

Initial contributions to the fund total nearly $900 million, including a $30 million commitment from the foundation. Proposed by the G20 last year after the economic crisis and rising food prices pushed the number of hungry people to 1 billion, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program is a concrete step to translate $22 billion in food security pledges into action.

“Investing in small farmers is an incredibly effective way to combat hunger and extreme poverty—history has proved it many times,” said Gates, whose foundation has committed $1.5 billion to date to agricultural development. “The launch of this fund is an important step forward, but only a first step. Other countries meeting at the European, G8 and G20 summits in June, and at the U.N. Summit in September should join the four founding partners and make good on their pledges. If we all sustain focus until the job is done, hundreds of millions of people will lead better lives.”

This is worth tracking - worth helping - worthwhile...

Richard Wottrich

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