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“There are 7 billion mouths to be fed. What will we give?”
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“There are 7 billion mouths to be fed. What will we give?”

Some observers say the world will struggle to support its ballooning population. However the world abounds with waste and hypocrisy, according to Ruth Howard, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Jamaica.

Seven billion. That’s the new buzz number. That’s how many people the United Nations Population Fund tells us are now on the planet Earth. 7 billion! That’s a lot. And they’re predicting a 2 billion+ growth by 2019.

Suddenly, and almost simultaneously, we’re hearing messages of ‘lack’ and ‘scarcity’. There aren’t enough resources on Earth to replenish 7 billion people.

We have to think differently. There’s more of us now. And we all share responsibility for our survival, which is largely dependent on the longevity of this planet.

It’s funny how fear can be injected into every milestone of our race. How will we survive – all 7 billion (and counting) of us? In some ways, it’s almost like saying Mother Earth gave birth to too many children … and now, she can barely manage to feed them.

I acknowledge the efforts the UNFPA has made to celebrate the 7 billion milestone. I love the fact that their efforts to record the stories of people from all over the world helps to create greater awareness of the diversity which abounds. It’s a splendid idea! I give it two thumbs up.

But this message of scarcity bothers me.

I’ve read so many reports which indicate that scarcity exists only in certain regions of the world. In 2006 the Guardian told us that an apparently very healthy 1% of our people are consuming and controlling a whopping 40% of the world’s wealth. So, really, this message of benevolence to 7 billion belies a whiff of hypocrisy.

We spend so much time in labs trying to create super-foods and super-medicines to feed and cure the impoverished when our own bins are filled to the brims with stinking, rotting foods – the excess we could not consume and had to discard.

Waste. While we waste what we have, others’ lives waste away. Since I was a little girl, my question has always been, if there’s even nearly enough to go around, how come so many still go without?

There’s 7 billion mouths to be fed.

What will we give to make sure none ends up dead?

What comforts are we willing to sacrifice?

To ensure that another stays alive?

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About me:

“I am a university a graduate with a first degree in media and communications and Spanish. I enjoy reading, writing poems, stories and songs, socialising, researching, and exploring the people and cultures of the world. I live by a simple motto: ‘You live, you learn, you grow’ – which also summarizes how I  approach each day.

“I try to learn as much as I can and to make as few mistakes as possible. I see room for growth and improvement in many areas in my country, and as I grow and learn, I hope to become the change I want to see in my nation, region and world.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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