Friday, July 4, 2008

Printed letter: Act now on global health

My printed letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the reauthorization of the PEPFAR global health bill...
Act now on global health
The Lantos-Hyde Act discussed in "Time running out on AIDS, TB and malaria bill" could be a tremendous story of bipartisan success if the Senate can get it moving again. While it's true that a handful of Republicans are maintaining the stalling arguments, success also depends upon Democratic Senate leadership to schedule a vote quickly.

If this bill does not pass before the August recess, it is likely not to be enacted this year. Such a case would be detrimental to successful programs protecting and saving the lives of millions.

Passage before the Group of Eight Summit on Monday would help President Bush make the case for other world leaders to increase commitments for treating and preventing disease. It is in the hands of Republicans and Democrats alike to demonstrate to the world that the U.S. can be a leader in global health.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Overfed and Undernourished" on Worldview today

From Worldview , a WBEZ Chicago Radio program, with Jerome! his guest was extremely well spoken! The talk ranged from food crisis, to local produce, the global food system in general, energy, democracy, extreme poverty, etc. An incredible interview!
Even though we're in the middle of a global food shortage, a billion people are overweight. We’ll spend most of the hour discussing this paradox in the world food system.

850 million people go hungry in the world. That number is expected to increase as food prices continue to rise. Staples such as rice and wheat have more than doubled in cost in the last year. High prices have led to riots in more than a dozen countries.

The Director General of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization calls the current food crisis “a risk for peace and stability around the world.” Despite the escalating food shortage, one billion people are overweight worldwide.

We’ll spend the rest of the hour today discussing this apparent contradiction in the world food system. Raj Patel is a former policy analyst for Food First. He is currently a visiting scholar at the U.C. Berkeley center for African Studies. He is the author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System.”

Overfed and Undernourished Link

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Price of Hunger

See this 7 min video from the American News Project about hunger in the US. Interviewed persons include a senior on assistance, a food pantry organizer, and features Bread for the World's Brian Duss and Congressman McGovern doing a their food stamp challenges. It is hosted on the site.

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Common Wealth" Book Discussion: Part 1

Hi! Welcome to the first installment of our book discussion about “Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet” by Jeffrey Sachs. I’ll kick it off by posting questions and reactions to Part One and everyone is welcome to respond in the comment section. Feel free to pose your own ?’s and comments. As long as it’s related to Sach’s book, we’re good. I would like to encourage a respectful dialogue, so please…no profanity and use people’s on-line names only (even if you know who they are!) The post will stay up indefinitely and will be here to respond to whenever you are ready. So here we go…
Although I liked the set up to the book and am happy the MDG’s were presented so early, most of my interest came up about 30 pages into it. There is one paragraph on p 31 that starts “The growing (economic) gap is dangerous in countless ways.” This paragraph is one of the reasons I love Sachs. He briefly and eloquently weaves together reasons why we should care about leaving developing nations behind including personal suffering, population growth rate, unstable political situations, and environmental reasons. I wish I could be so succinct. I love that paragraph.

The whole section from p 31-35 made me think about how our presidential candidates talk a lot about green jobs and green tech, but not about poverty. I guess people against federal spending for poverty alleviation in other countries might at least get behind federal spending for scientific discovery to help keep our nation on the cutting edge. Now, I can see why political candidates use the language of “keeping our nation on top” so much in this context. It is election-winning language that can draw in voters rooting for the global common good as well as voters interested in furthering US dominance.

A small thing that made me smile…in the example on p 38, the hypothetical rancher is female. Promote gender equality, indeed! (MDG #3) :)

I heartily believe that public policies promoting voluntary reduction of fertility rates (p 41) are highly desirable. I’m often at a loss wondering what those policies would be. Obviously, China’s One-Child policy isn’t something I’m crazy about so I’m always open to hearing other alternatives. Anyone have any?

I was surprised to read the section on p43 about having centuries left of “nonconventional fossil fuels” like tar sands and oil shale. I don’t remember hearing any of that before, nor this spin on environmental energy issues… “running out of natural resources is not the right way to describe the threat” Interesting.

The part about introducing fish farms to make ocean fisheries sustainable (p44) surprised me. Other authors had led me to believe that fish farming was polluting and bad. I don’t know what to think about that now.

I loved the section (p46) about the examples of global cooperation really working. I have highlighted this section to refer to for later writing about the importance of nations working together.

In my head, when I’ve been reading, I’ve been making a list of how I should live based on the info I’m reading about. I’m not doing all these things, but so far I make out that I should…
- have a small (as opposed to large) family or adopt
- live in the country, definitely not on the coast
- Be vegetarian or eat less meat
- Exercise
- Use solar or wind energy
New Year’s Resolutions for a Crowded Planet?